The Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) is considered one of the healthiest dietary patterns. Current scientific evidence supports that this dietary pattern is associated with lower prevalence and incidence of a number of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and age-related cognitive decline as well as reduced overall mortality. The Mediterranean diet includes a wide variety of foods that are eaten in moderation and enjoyed in a positive social environment. It is characterized by a high intake of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, fish and seafood, white meats, olive oil, herbs, and spices paired with moderate consumption of fermented dairy products and wine and low intake of red meat, butter, and sugar. The generic term “Mediterranean diet” was coined in the Seven Countries Study led by Ancel Keys in the 1950s. Yet, in spite of its name, this dietary pattern and its benefits are not confined exclusively to the Mediterranean Basin. Among other world regions, Central Chile exhibits climate, agriculture, and culinary traditions similar to various Mediterranean countries. It is therefore essential to increase awareness about the Mediterranean-like richness of both produce and culinary culture beyond the Mediterranean Basin. Active promotion of this dietary pattern may offer health benefits and improve the quality of life in many populations worldwide.
Part of the book: Mediterranean Identities