While there are many variants of this ‘diet’, one of the most popular is the Italian version which is relatively low in total fat intake, with a moderate to large intake of fruits, vegetables, cereals – and of course olive oil. In fact, no Italian kitchen is ever without quality olive oil. It is used daily to season dishes, salads and vegetables—and there is always a bottle on the table for extra flavouring or drizzling over crusty bread.

Recent studies from Europe and the US* have found that the Mediterranean Diet has a beneficial effect on health and longevity: people tend to live longer overall, while death from illnesses such as heart disease and cancer is reduced by 33%.

(* Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Athens Medical School studied the diets of over 22,000 adults in Greece aged 20 to 86 over a four-year period.)