Untouched lands, where Nature dictates Time
The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean Diet represent a totality of competency, knowledge, practices and traditions which range from the land to the table, including farming, picking, fishing, preservation, transformation, preparation and in particular, the consumption of food. In e Essentially, it represent a lifestyle.
The diet does not call for the exclusion of any type of food, it merely limits the frequency with which each should be consumed.
Consuming daily at least three portions of exclusively seasonal fruit and vegetables.
Daily consumption of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, wholegrain bread, pasta and cereals (the flours commercialized nowadays are too refined compared to the products used in the post war period), legumes and dried fruit and nuts.
Calcium-rich products, one portion daily.
Fish, white meat and eggs, a few time a week.
Rarely: red meat, butter, sweets/cakes etc
A moderate consumption of wine is permitted, preferably red, only during meals.
Meals should be taken, contrary to what our chaotic lifestyles would dictate, in a convivial setting.
Regular physical activity must necessarily be integrated. Choose the activity most suited to you, as long as it reproduces the lifestyle conditions that the traditional, rural Cilentan inhabitants were used to.
In a nutshell, the elements of the Mediterranean Diet, a UNESCO World Heritage.
ORIGINS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET
Ancel Keys, the founder of the Mediterranean Diet, was born in 1904 in Colorado Spings, USA. He was a biologist, physiologist and nutritionist at the University of Minnesota.
Despatched together with the American troops during WWII, he was assigned by the US government to a wide-spectrum nutritional programme (he was the inventor of the K-ration). Keys was captivated by the discovery of the low incidence of cardiovascular pathologies and gastrointestinal diseases in the Cilentan area and on the island of Crete.
Keys remained in Pioppi for about 40 years and died in 2004 at 101 yeas old. He was the living proof of the diet he invented.
His home “Villa Minnelea” has today become a museum dedicated to the Mediterranean Diet. His home's name, taken from the first part of Minnesota and the name Elea (the archeological site of an Ancient Greek colony, situated in today's Ascea, a few kilometres from Pioppi), is evidence of his deep attachment to his homeland and to Cilento.
STUDIES ON THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET
From Key's discovery onwards, many studies have followed to demonstrate the effectiveness of the Mediterranean Diet.
In-depth studies carried by the Greek couple Antonia and Dimitri Trichopoulos resulted in the formulation of the Theory of the Mediterranean Diet as an antidote to cardiovascular diseases and the ideation of the “food pyramid” of the Mediterranean Diet.
Subsequently, at the beginning of the '90s the research project EPIC ( European prospective investigation in to Cancer and Nutrition) takes off, with the scope of discovering which are the foods which protect from and which foods instead lead to cancer. The study, which involves 500 000 people in all of Europe, demonstrates a close correlation between a low consumption of fibre and the occurrence of colon-rectal cancer, and also a protective role of regular consumption of fruit and vegetables with respect to breast cancer. -
It also showed that the closer the Mediterranean Diet was followed, the lower the mortality rate was.
In the book written by Marialaura Bonaccio and Giovanni de Gaetano “La Dieta Mediterranea ai tempi della crisi” - edited by Il pensiero scientifico – beyond an accurate analysis of the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet and the impact of the economic crisis on nutrition, there is also a detailed account of the outcomes of the main studies carried out on the Mediterranean Diet, documented by a detailed bibliography.
Recently, the results of the research carried out by the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention – IRCCS (Istituto Neurologico Mediterraneo) through « Lo studio Moli – Sani» demonstrating the degree of the beneficial influence of the Mediterranean Diet on cardiovascular diseases and various other causes of fatal diseases, without neglecting the benefits that this diet brings to our psychological and physical well-being.
The study was carried out on about 25 000 inhabitants of the Molise Region, catalogued according to their adherence to the diet. The results confirm Keys' intuition and can be found in the book “Dieta Mediterranea – Mediterranean Diet ” and at the following link:
In the Cilentan area and particularly in Gioi, Cardile and Campora, several studies have been carried out by the University of Naples on the human genome which involved the entire population, aimed at understanding the reasons behind the elevated longevity in the area.
It is feasible to affirm the relationship between “lifestyle” and the “slow passing of time ” which are characteristic of the Cilentan area.