Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2017 Jan 31;8(5):8947-8979.
doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.13553.

Impact of Mediterranean Diet on Metabolic Syndrome, Cancer and Longevity

Free PMC article

Impact of Mediterranean Diet on Metabolic Syndrome, Cancer and Longevity

Nicola Di Daniele et al. Oncotarget. .
Free PMC article


Obesity symbolizes a major public health problem. Overweight and obesity are associated to the occurrence of the metabolic syndrome and to adipose tissue dysfunction. The adipose tissue is metabolically active and an endocrine organ, whose dysregulation causes a low-grade inflammatory state and ectopic fat depositions. The Mediterranean Diet represents a possible therapy for metabolic syndrome, preventing adiposopathy or "sick fat" formation.The Mediterranean Diet exerts protective effects in elderly subjects with and without baseline of chronic diseases. Recent studies have demonstrated a relationship between cancer and obesity. In the US, diet represents amount 30-35% of death causes related to cancer. Currently, the cancer is the second cause of death after cardiovascular diseases worldwide. Furthermore, populations living in the Mediterranean area have a decreased incidence of cancer compared with populations living in Northern Europe or the US, likely due to healthier dietary habits. The bioactive food components have a potential preventive action on cancer. The aims of this review are to evaluate the impact of Mediterranean Diet on onset, progression and regression of metabolic syndrome, cancer and on longevity.

Keywords: Mediterranean diet; antioxidant; cancer; obesity; public health.

Conflict of interest statement


These authors declare no conflicts of interests.


Figure 1
Figure 1. Representation of Mediterranean Diet by Paestum Temple Modified By De Lorenzo A, Fidanza F [89]
As shown in the figure, at the base of the Mediterranean style there is a healthy lifestyle, energy intake equal to the expenditure, extra virgin olive oil and wine. Within the eating habits must be more present: cereals, legumes, fish, fresh fruits, dried fruits and vegetables. While animal foods and simple sugars should be limited use. Moderation should be the focal point of the Mediterranean model.
Figure 2
Figure 2. Polyphenols from Mediterranean Diet
Polyphenols protect and reduce inflammation by different pathways (through mechanisms of down-regulation, balance and up-regulation) preventing obesity, cancer and age-related diseases, in which inflammation has an important pathological role [240].

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 37 articles

See all "Cited by" articles


    1. Noto D, Cefalù AB, Barbagallo CM, Ganci A, Cavera G, Fayer F, Palesano O, Spina R, Valenti V, Altieri GI, Caldarella R, Giammanco A, Termini R, et al. Baseline metabolic disturbances and the twenty-five years risk of incident cancer in a Mediterranean population. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2016;26:1020–5. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2016.07.003. - DOI - PubMed
    1. D’Alessandro A, De Pergola G, Silvestris F. Mediterranean Diet and cancer risk: an open issue. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2016;67:593–605. doi: 10.1080/09637486.2016.1191444. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Xavier Medina F. Mediterranean diet, culture and heritage: challenges for a new conception. Public Health Nutr. 2009;12:1618–20. doi: 10.1017/S1368980009990450. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Curti MLR, Jacob P, Borges MC, Rogero MM, Ferreira SRG. Studies of Gene Variants Related to Inflammation, Oxidative Stress, Dyslipidemia, and Obesity: Implications for a Nutrigenetic Approach. Journal of Obesity. 2011;2011:1–31. doi: 10.1155/2011/497401. - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. Okosun IS, Chandra KMD, Boev A, Boltri JM, Choi ST, Parish DC, Dever GEA. Abdominal adiposity in U.S. adults: prevalence and trends, 1960–2000. Preventive Medicine. 2004;39:197–206. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2004.01.023. - DOI - PubMed