BASES

THE BASES OF THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET

With greater or lesser relevance, the history of olive oil records some marks that have significantly influenced the participation of the product in agriculture and in peoples diets. These historical marks include the beginning of the regular cultivation of olive trees, extraction of olive oil by mechanical means, dissemination of this knowledge throughout the Mediterranean basin, the ascension of the Roman Empire and logistics of distribution, the advent of Christianity and the diffusion of the use of olive oil, the fall of the Roman Empire, feudalism with all its limiting sequels, the Industrial Revolution, the end of the World Wars, and, finally, that which, in modern times, must be the most significant fact, and has made olive oil an indispensable item on the table of those that seek a healthy life: the Mediterranean Diet.

Even before the Mediterranean Diet became scientifically proven, the eating habits practised in the Mediterranean basin over the centuries were already laden with attributes that made it the most recommended for human beings. And this was not due to the will of its peoples, but owing to the regions geographical conditions, average temperatures, precipitation and, above all, the small strips of land as compared with those of countries in the New World. It is understood that in Europe, even in time immemorial, there was not the same abundance of land suitable for animal husbandry as in the Americas. Food from agricultural sources were always predominant in the European subsistence diet.

On the other hand, in the words of Arancha Plaza Valtueña, in his book, La Dieta Mediterránea y su Cocina, No doors can be put on the Mediterranean, because its a sea, albeit one among lands, one cannot even fram the Mediterranean, as it is the union of the Greek world with the Roman world, the brotherhood of the orient and the west, the mixing of Christian and Moslem... This means that the food that permeated the Mediterranean is the result of their own cultivation, that could never be reproduced, only imported. A diet that was formed over centuries through the encounter of different ways of life. A diet bearing knowledge of the centuries.

The history of olive oil told on this site already offers indications of the type of food that was possible in the countries that comprise the Mediterranean basin. Unlike the countries where industrialized food and food rich in saturated fatty acids are most abundant, in the Mediterranean basin, even in the first half of the XX century, there predominated natural foods, foods without chemical processes food more difficult to find in the countries of the so-called First World or those industrialized, like the USA, Canada, UK, etc.