C. Caruso, A. Marchese, C. Rizzo, S. Vasto

Since several years, increasing evidence suggests that the Mediterranean diet has a beneficial influences on several age-related diseases as metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease, hence showing protective effect on health and longevity. The effect of Mediterranean diet on human health has been reported in many population based studies and randomized trials, providing evidence for the positive effect on longevity of a dietary pattern rich in some nutritional food group. The Mediterranean diet is, indeed, characterized by a high intake of vegetables, legumes, fruits, and cereals (mostly unrefined); high intake of fish; a low intake of dairy products, mostly cheese and yogurt; a very low intake of red meat; a modest intake of ethanol, mostly as red wine and, finally, by a low intake of saturated lipids but a high intake of unsaturated lipids, particularly olive oil. Actually, Mediterranean Diet refers to dietary patterns found in olive growing regions of the Mediterranean Countries. Olive oil may be considered a functional food that contains high quantity of the MUFA oleic acid that is a compound of biological membranes and that can substitute gradually poli-insatured fatty acid. Biological membranes, rich in MUFA, have a good fluidity and a better resistance to oxidative damage (lipidic peroxidation). Extra virgin olive oil contain also alfa-tocoferol, fenolic derivative and coenzime-Q that have antioxidant function, preventing the formation of reactive oxygen species. We have showed that in Sicily there are three places, around the Sicani mountains, namely Giuliana, Bisacquino and Chiusa Sclafani where there are more centenarians with respect to the average that, in Italy, is 1.6 out 10.000 individuals. Giuliana, Bisacquino and Chiusa Sclafani are placed above sea level on the slopes of the Omo Morto Hill, on the south-western edge of the Sicani Mountains. This territory lies between the Valley of the river Belice and that of the river Sosio, and it belongs to the Special Nature Reserve of Palazzo Adriano and the Valley of the Sosio and to the Nature Areas with Special Protection of the “Sant’AdrianoWood”, “Monte Triona and MonteColomba”. In these places we have found more than 15 people which age range is 100-107 years old on the total of 8000 inhabitants. Centenarians living in these places are doing very well without any sign of age related diseases. In addition lipidic, glycemic and insulinemic profile are similar to young control and far better than that of old controls. In addition, testing these people with a mini nutritional assessment (MNE) and a frequent food questionnaire tools we collected interesting group of food regularly eaten. So, close adherence to Mediterranean diet seems to play a key role in age-related disease prevention and in attaining longevity.

Keywords (Optional): 
Mediterranean diet
Olive oil