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Br J Pharmacol. 2019 Jun 26. doi: 10.1111/bph.14778. [Epub ahead of print]

Mediterranean diet and health status: Active ingredients and pharmacological mechanisms.

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Institute for Evidence in Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Medical Centre, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.
Department of Human Nutrition, Faculty of Food Sciences, University of Warmia and Mazury, Olsztyn, Poland.
Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.


The Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) is one of the most widely described and evaluated dietary patterns in scientific literature. It is characterized by high intakes of vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, grains, fish, seafood, extra virgin olive oil, and a moderate intake of red wine. A large body of observational and experimental evidence suggests that higher adherence to the MedDiet is associated with lower risk of mortality, cardiovascular disease, metabolic disease, and cancer. Current mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of the MedDiet include reduction of blood lipids, inflammatory and oxidative stress markers, improvement of insulin sensitivity, enhancement of endothelial function, and antithrombotic function. Most likely, these effects are attributable to bioactive ingredients such as polyphenols, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, or fibre. This review will focus on both established and less established mechanisms of action of biochemical compounds contained in a MedDiet.


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