One diet that appears to be representative of a way of eating that provides significant protection against silent inflammation is the traditional “Mediterranean diet.” This term has a specific meaning, it does not mean to simply eat more Italian food. The Mediterranean diet reflects food patterns in the early 1960s typical of Crete, parts of the rest of Greece , and southern Italy . The traditional Mediterranean diet has shown tremendous benefit in fighting heart disease and cancer, as well as diabetes. It has the following characteristics:

  • It centers on an abundance of plant food, including fruit, vegetables, breads, pasta, potatoes, beans, nuts, and seeds.
  • Foods are minimally processed and there is a focus on seasonally fresh and locally grown foods.
  • Fresh fruit is the typical daily dessert, with sweets containing concentrated sugars or honey consumed a few times per week at the most.
  • Dairy products, principally cheese and yogurt, are consumed daily in low moderate amounts and in low fat varieties.
  • Fish is a consumed on a regular basis.
  • Poultry and eggs are consumed in moderate amounts, about 1-to-4 times weekly, or not at all.
  • Red meat is consumed in small, infrequent amounts.
  • Olive oil is the principal source of fat, in its raw, non-processed form.
  • Wine is consumed in low to moderate amounts, normally with meals, 1 glass per day.