Mediterranean diet and environment: A reciprocal symbiotic relationship
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Department of Food Science and Nutrition, School of the Environment, University of the Aegean, Myrina, Greece
Department of the Environment, School of the Environment, University of the Aegean, Mitilini, Greece
Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece
Publication date: 2022-05-27
Corresponding author
Georgios Antasouras
Department of Food Science and Nutrition, School of the Environment, University of the Aegean, GR-81400, Lemnos, Myrina, Greece
Public Health Toxicol 2022;2(Supplement Supplement 1):A116
The planet's health goes through our plates, and this is because our food choices affect our health and the environment. The indicator that can provide us with that information which causes the environmental impact is called ecological footprint, and it consists of the carbon and water footprint from the way from which food is produced, processed, distributed, and consumed, determining the environmental impact that can be caused. Mediterranean diet has been considered a sustainable diet related with low environmental impact and great health benefits.

A systematic search was conducted, where a variety of articles published in English were scrutinized, including data concerning ecological footprint, Mediterranean diet, and sustainable diet. The databases used were PubMed, Scopus, and Google Scholar.

Meat is the food with the most significant ecological impact (mainly red), whereas fruits and vegetables have a limited effect. In general, the lower the consumption of food of animal origin, the lower the environmental pollution. Thus, adopting the Mediterranean diet model could reduce global carbon dioxide emissions, contributing to the stabilization of the climate, reducing the loss of wildlife, and decreasing land use for cultivation, while simultaneously provide health and longevity for humans. In a reciprocal way, protecting biodiversity and minimizing environmental pollution could ensure the access of human population to Mediterranean diet natural resources.

Mediterranean diet could be considered an ideal sustainable diet model since foods of plant origin represent the most significant percentage of this diet. However, the further raise in human population in the Mediterranean countries will increase the pressure on the gradually limited and scarce Mediterranean natural resources, reinforcing the emergent need for novel public policies and measures to be promoted, in order for the biodiversity of these areas to be ensured.

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