Prevention: Edited by Andrew PipeThe Mediterranean diet revisited: evidence of its effectiveness growsSofi, Francescoa,b,c Author Information aDepartment of Medical and Surgical Critical Care, Thrombosis Centre, University of Florence, Italy bRegional Agency for Nutrition, Azienda Ospedaliero – Universitaria Careggi, Italy cDon Carlo Gnocchi Foundation, Onlus IRCCS, Impruneta, Florence, Italy Correspondence to Francesco Sofi, MD, PhD, Department of Medical and Surgical Critical Care, Thrombosis Centre, University of Florence, Viale Morgagni 85, Florence 50134, Italy Tel: +39 055 7949420; fax: +39 055 7949418; e-mail: [email protected] Current Opinion in Cardiology: September 2009 - Volume 24 - Issue 5 - p 442-446 doi: 10.1097/HCO.0b013e32832f056e Buy Metrics Abstract Purpose of review The optimal dietary strategy for the prevention of chronic degenerative diseases remains a challenging and a highly relevant preventive health issue. In recent years, there have been ongoing investigations of the effectiveness of the Mediterranean diet in preventing the development of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases. Initial research suggested that the consumption of diets high in vegetable oil, fish, and complex grains and carbohydrates conferred a benefit in reducing the prevalence of cardiovascular disease. The purpose of this review is to examine the evidence in support of the effectiveness of the Mediterranean diet in reducing the prevalence of cardiovascular and chronic disease and their associated risk factors. Recent findings Recent studies intended to evaluate the Mediterranean diet in the primary or secondary prevention of cardiovascular and other chronic degenerative diseases have been focused on examining the impact of a whole dietary approach rather than on isolating single nutrients; it is recognized that analyses of single nutrients ignore the important and complex interactions between components of a diet and, more importantly, because people do not eat isolated nutrients. Therefore, dietary scores estimating the adherence to a Mediterranean diet within a population have been developed. Consumption of a Mediterranean diet has been found to be associated with a reduction of overall mortality and a reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease. Summary The Mediterranean diet has been consistently shown to be associated with favourable health outcomes and a better quality of life. The findings suggest that significant health gains can be expected in a general population whose diet reflects the nutritional principles reflected in a Mediterranean diet. © 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.