march 2020

Mediterranean diet and health status: Active ingredients and pharmacological mechanisms

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. LINKED ARTICLES: This article is part of a themed section on The Pharmacology of Nutraceuticals. To view the other articles in this section visit

Additional Info

  • Authors

    Schwingshackl L.; Morze J.; Hoffmann G.
  • Issue

    Br J Pharmacol . 2020 Mar;177(6):1241-1257
  • Published Date

    march 2020