Modern vision of the Mediterranean diet


Mediterranean diet
Anticancer effects
Antidiabetic effects
Antimicrobial effects
Modification of hormone release


The Mediterranean diet is the most well-known and researched dietary pattern worldwide. It is characterized by the consumption of a wide variety of foods, such as extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), legumes, cereals, nuts, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, fish, and wine. Many of these foods provide several phytonutrients, among which polyphenols and vitamins play an important role. Data from several studies have strongly established that nutrition is a key factor in promoting a healthy lifestyle and preventing many chronic diseases. In particular, a large number of studies have established the protective effects of the Mediterranean diet against several chronic diseases, among which are diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, aging disorders, and against overall mortality. Animal and human translational studies have revealed the biological mechanisms regulating the beneficial effects of the traditional Mediterranean diet. Indeed, several studies demonstrated that this nutritional pattern has lipid-lowering, anticancer, antimicrobial, and anti-oxidative effects. Moreover, the Mediterranean diet is considered environmentally sustainable. In this review, we describe the composition of the Mediterranean diet, assess its beneficial effects, and analyze their epigenomic, genomic, metagenomic, and transcriptomic aspects. In the future it will be important to continue exploring the molecular mechanisms through which the Mediterranean diet exerts its protective effects and to standardize its components and serving sizes to understand more precisely its effects on human health.


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