The Mediterranean diet (MeD) is much more than a simple diet. It promotes social interaction, as the communal meals lay the foundations for social customs and festivities shared by a given community, which in turn has given space to a remarkable corpus of knowledge, songs, aphorisms, tales and legends. The diet is based on respect for its territory and biodiversity, and guarantees the conservation and development of traditional trades and professions associated with fishing and agriculture in Mediterranean communities. The MeD is, as suggested by the etymology of the word (from Greek diaita), a way of life, a modus vivendi, a relational and cultural element that reinforces the sense of belonging and sharing between communities that live in the Mediterranean basin..
With these motivations, in November 2010, the MeD was recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. It is a heritage to be protected and promoted as a strategic asset for the sustainable development of cross-border territory.
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes:
- Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
- Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
- Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
- Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
- Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
- Enjoying meals with family and friends
- Drinking red wine in moderation
- Getting plenty of exercise