Mediterranean Diet Pyramid
The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid is a nutrition guide that was developed by Oldways, the Harvard School of Public Health, and the World Health Organization in 1993. It refers to the traditional Mediterranean Diet pattern of eating, suggesting the types and frequency of foods that should be enjoyed every day.
The diet is closely tied traditionally to areas of olive oil cultivation in the Mediterranean region. The pyramid, structured in light of current nutrition research and representing a healthy, traditional Mediterranean diet, is based on the dietary traditions of Crete, Greece and southern Italy circa 1960 at a time when the rates of chronic disease were among the lowest in the world, and adult life expectancy was among the highest, even though medical services were limited. These findings were established in large part by scientist Ancel Keys.
The pyramid is divided into daily, weekly, and monthly frequencies, but does not recommend serving sizes.
Extensive nutrition science research has concluded that the Mediterranean diet consumption pattern promotes good health and longevity. Studies linking the Mediterranean diet and decreased risk of illnesses such as lung disease and Alzheimer's disease, as well as protection against allergies and asthma have been published. Further information about these can be seen in the references below.
- “Understanding the Mediterranean diet. Could this be the new ‘gold standard’ for heart disease prevention?” B.M. Curtis, J.H. O’Keefe. Postgrad Med. 202 Aug; 112(2):35-8, 41-5.
- “Protective effect of fruits, vegetables and the Mediterranean diet on asthma and allergies among children in Crete.” Chatzi, L., Apostolaki, G., Bibakis, I., et al. Thorax DOI 10.1136/thx.2006.069419 (2007).
- “Mediterranean Diet, Alzheimer Disease, and Vascular Mediation.” Scarmeas, N., Stern, Y., et al. Archives of Neurology 63 (2006).