Does the Mediterranean diet also need to encompass the cultural elements of food gathering, food preparation and food consumption? This UNESCO video was created following the inclusion of the Mediterranean diet in the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2013.
A quick search on medline using the terms “Mediterranean diet and culture” retrieved 258 results. In this study, researchers found that adherence to the Mediterranean diet was decreasing in the population and that smoking was associated with a lower adherence. The question of cultural aspects of the diet in relation to cognition is also raised in this paper.
Nevertheless other studies use a more abstract construct of the Mediterranean diet in terms of the specific foods that are consumed. Although there are likely to be benefits from the cultural context of the Mediterranean diet (e.g. social participation), the research does support the benefits of the specific food components.
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