Foods of the Mediterranean diet: tomato, olives, chili pepper, wheat flour and wheat germ


Mediterranean diet
Wheat germ
Chili pepper


Mediterranean people, which follows a diet rich in minimally-processed plant-based foods, are believed to live longer and healthier lives than many other populations in the Western world. Epidemiological and clinical data suggest that the Mediterranean diet has beneficial effects for several chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity, cancer and diabetes. Although the mechanisms of action of the Mediterranean diet are not completely clear, the synergistic effects of a number of its components and their bioactive phytochemicals exert antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-cancer effects. The Mediterranean diet includes daily consumption of whole cereals, fruit, vegetables and legumes in moderate proportions, weekly consumption of white meat in low to moderate proportions and occasionally sweets and chocolates in small amounts. Since olive oil is the main lipids source, it has special significance for health. Healthy fruit and vegetables, rich in phytochemicals, are a major proportion of this diet and contribute to the overall nutritional value and bioactivity of its components. Here we review the nutritional and health benefits of wheat germ, tomatoes, olives and chili pepper, items at the base of Mediterranean diet food pyramid that provides beneficial molecules, such as polyphenols, vitamins and flavonoids, and exert anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-oxidative actions.


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