Observations and years of experience showed that the diet of the peoples of the southern Mediterranean had beneficial effects in protecting against many diseases.
This observation was subsequently confirmed by epidemiological studies.
In fact, the first scientific study (known as the “Study of 7 Countries”) of the diet of the peoples of the southern Mediterranean conducted by Professor Ancel Keys in 1960 established the relationship between cardiovascular diseases and fatty substances in food, highlighted the protective effect of the Mediterranean Diet (MD) and thus explained the lower number of cardiovascular diseases of the peoples of southern Europe who followed this diet, than that of northern Europe and America.
The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest dietary patterns worldwide. The Mediterranean diet pattern is mainly characterized by a high consumption of whole grains and bread, fruits, vegetables and legumes, a moderate consumption of milk, dairy products and poultry, a moderate consumption of alcohol, in the form of red wine, and the daily use of olive oil as the main added fat in the food.
Some of the benefits of olive oil in our daily diet are:
- Improves glucose metabolism, thereby reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Reduces systolic and diastolic blood pressure and prevents heart diseases.
- Reduces cholesterol, keeping HDL (good cholesterol) at a good level, which prevents the damage that can be caused by LDL (bad cholesterol) which is responsible for blood clots, strokes and heart disease.
- Contributes to better digestion and the proper functioning of the metabolism, prevents gall bladder stones, protects the gastric mucous membrane, and has a laxative effect.
- Has positive effects on the correct formation of bones and the skeleton as well as on general development.
- Combats the harmful effects of free radicals associated with age-related tissue decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Contains a large amount of antioxidants.
- Fights depression. The Mediterranean diet, specifically olive oil, has been linked to a reduction in depression.
- Moisturizes skin and hair. Olive oil has emollient and moisturizing properties, which is why it is a key ingredient in many skin care products
- Helps to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Olive oil can help reduce joint pain and swelling.
- Helps prevent stroke. Several large studies show that people who consume olive oil have a much lower risk of stroke, which is one of the leading causes of death in developed countries.