Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Healthy Diet Considered for World Heritage List

What do the Taj Mahal, The Great wall of China, and the Old City of Jerusalem and the pyramids have in common with the Mediterranean diet? Not a heck of a lot on the surface (unless you count the 'pyramid' part). That is, except for the fact that one of the healthiest known patterns of eating i.e. the Mediterranean diet; may be up for consideration to be added to the list of World heritage along with many other cultural icons.

Actually, to be more clear, the list doesn't only contain things you can see and places to go (known as tangibles), it also contains important traditions that have existed for centuries, such as basket weaving, dancing and so on (called intangibles), and this is actually the part of the list where the Mediterranean diet may soon be found. If that should surprise you, think about it - the diet isn't 'new' and it's not a diet in the sense of weight loss; it's a healthy pattern of eating including fresh, natural, health promoting ingredients that, when eaten together regularly, have been shown to reduce the risk of just about every chronic disease we know of.

Since food is such a key cultural component all over the world, and what we eat can make or break our health, it makes sense that such a groundbreaking and health-promoting cultural staple should make the list. But if it does, what exactly is next? Therein lies the problem. But those who are hoping to see the Mediteranean diet added to the World Heritage list argue that it's more than just food, more than just a diet - it's about the way you eat, the importance of the ingredients to society and the economy, the passing on of traditions and the pleasure of actually eating the food. I think we can all agree with that point! I guess we'll just have to wait and see if it makes the cut.