Fa che il cibo sia la tua medicina e che la medicina sia il tuo cibo (Ippocrate)

Un po di storia...Perche' la dieta Mediterranea

L'americano Ancel Benjamin Keys (nato a Colorado Springs nel Colorado nel 1904 e morto il 20.11.2004 poco prima del suo 101° compleanno) è considerato il “padre” della dieta mediterranea. Egli per primo notò che le malattie cardiovascolari, molto diffuse negli Stati Uniti, avevano invece un'incidenza molto più bassa nei paesi che si affacciano sul Mar Mediterraneo e attribuì questo fatto al diverso tipo di alimentazione proprio delle popolazioni di questi paesi.

Negli anni 60 diede inizio ad uno studio epidemiologico molto ampio in sette nazioni di tre continenti (Giappone, Stati Uniti, Finlandia, Olanda, Grecia, Italia e Jugoslavia) su 14 campioni di soggetti di età compresa tra i 40 e i 59 anni, per un totale di 12.000 casi: il Seven Countries Study .

Lo studio evidenziò elevati livelli di colesterolemia ed elevata incidenza di malattie degenerative cardiovascolari nei paesi considerati a rischio elevato, quali la Finlandia e gli Stati Uniti, caratterizzati da una dieta ricca di grassi animali; per contro, nei paesi ad alimentazione povera di grassi animali i livelli medi di colesterolemia e l'incidenza di malattie cardiovascolari erano particolarmente bassi. Successivi studi hanno evidenziato un effetto protettivo di questa dieta anche nei confronti di alcuni tipi di tumore, in particolare il cancro del colon.

I risultati di questo studio, e di molti altri che sono stati fatti in seguito (tra i più recenti lo studio “ Adherence to a Mediterranean Diet and Survival in a Greek Population ”, fatto su 22000 adulti seguiti per oltre 4 anni e pubblicato sul New England Journal of Medicine del 26 giugno 2003), hanno diffuso nel mondo l'idea che la dieta mediterranea sia il tipo di alimentazione che consente di vivere meglio e più a lungo in salute.

La risposta degli esperti a livello mondiale sull'opportunità di proporre un “modello di alimentazione mediterraneo” è senza dubbio positiva per una serie di motivi, tra cui:

  • E' ormai provato che consumare molti grassi animali (specie se saturi) aumenta la frequenza delle malattie cardiovascolari
  • E' noto che una adeguata presenza nella dieta di fibre alimentari è importante per evitare alcune malattie  digestive e vascolari.
  • E' noto che eccedere nel consumo di zuccheri semplici può danneggiare la salute attraverso molti meccanismi.
  • E' noto che introdurre troppe calorie favorisce l'insorgenza delle "malattie da benessere”.
  • In tutti i Paesi in cui si consuma una dieta occidentale raffinata, la mortalità per "malattie da benessere" è più elevata.
  • Nei Paesi in cui si consuma una dieta di tipo mediterraneo, tale mortalità è molto più bassa.

La conclusione che gli studiosi hanno tratto da numerosi studi è stata la conferma del fatto che il modello alimentare mediterraneo esercita effetti favorevoli sulla salute e che in ogni caso consumare abitualmente giuste quantità di pane, pasta, pesce, prodotti vegetali ed olio d'oliva costituisce per chiunque una protezione nei confronti del rischio delle malattie cardiovascolari (che sono fra le prime cause di morte precoce nel mondo) e delle altre malattie degenerative, tipiche delle moderne società industrializzate.


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