Glossary of the Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet is a substantial food model, which maintains good health and improves quality of life; it also plays a role in the prevention of chronic degenerative diseases. "The Mediterranean diet mainly consists of plant-based foods: there are different types of pasta, in season vegetables, dressed with olive oil, often some cheese, all completed with fruit and a moderate consumption of wine" (Ancel Keys, 1995).
The guidelines for a healthy and correct Italian diet (revision of 2003), which have the task of directing individuals toward a nutritional goal, suggest that the consumption of fruit and vegetables guarantees an intake of nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Simultaneously helping to reduce the energetic density of the diet by the high percentage of water and the satiating action of dietary fiber. There is a wide choice of fruit and vegetables available in every season, and it is favorable that they are always present in abundance at the table, starting from breakfast to snacks outside of regular meals. The eating habits of the Mediterranean people have become progressively enriched with foods high in protein, saturated fat and sugars, exceeding the necessary supply of nutrients.
In order to guide people toward healthier eating habits, the Ministry of Health has appointed a group of experts the task of developing a dietary model as a point of reference coherent with today’s lifestyle and with the Italian food traditions. The weekly Italian lifestyle pyramid was created based on the definition of Quantity Wellness (QW), referring to both food and physical activity. From this model the daily food pyramid was composed, indicating the portions that should be consumed from each food group, so that our food intake is varied and balanced. Therefore, the QW of food and movement, if properly adapted to the needs of the individual, can lead to a balance between food intake and energy output; preventing weight issues such as obesity that predisposes the body to a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension and cancer.