Olive oil is an important component of the Mediterranean diet.

When it comes to healthy foods, one of them always feels like having your cake and eating it too. For decades, we’ve been told that the secret to staying healthy is to indulge in the delicious fresh Mediterranean cuisine. Adding more tomatoes, focaccia and olive oil to your dinner plate – and washing it down with a glass of Chianti – is claimed to be a great way to reduce your chances of having a heart attack or developing type 2 diabetes. .

The most surprising thing is that it’s not just a lot of nonsense. Evidence has been mounting for more than 50 years that the Mediterranean diet can actually improve your health in many ways. “We have long-term, large clinical trials that have severe clinical events as outcomes,” he says. Miguel Martinez Gonzalez at the University of Navarra in Pamplona, ​​Spain.

And many foods don’t get the UNESCO list. A decade ago, this body of the United Nations included the Mediterranean diet in its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

But despite all that praise, figuring out what it is about this diet that causes such benefits has been difficult. For starters, nutritionists can’t agree on what form it should take. And then there are factors like eating as a family, cooking at home and other non-dietary elements to consider. The good news is that, over the past decade, we’ve begun to understand which food components provide the greatest health benefits and why. This means we are closer than ever to offering the best advice…