Time Magazine, "Italians who followed the Mediterranean Diet were 30 % to 40% less likely to suffer heart disease than those who ate unhealthy diets."
To extrapolate, you don't have to live in Italy to eat like an Italian. You don't even have to visit there, as the original Mediterranean way of eating studied by Dr. Ancel Keys in 1957, has morphed into a diet like ours, unhealthy.
In 1957, when Dr. Keys studied the population of Nicotera, Italy, their poverty made them survive longer. As farmers, they exercised in and ate from their fields. Whole wheat bread, slow cooked beans, fresh vegetables, dried fruit and nuts, and olive oil were staples. According to "Time," globalization and higher incomes have created new eating habits and altered food production in Italy. Small subsistence farms have been replaced by chain stores. As a result, Italian children between the ages of 8 and 9, have one of the highest obesity levels in Europe today.
Although there is no easy way back, nutritionists have discovered that the Mediterranean Diet is even more healthy that Dr. Keys realized. Laura Di Renzo, a nutritionist from the Vergata University in Rome, states the Mediterranean Diet is "more effective than a low fat diet at minimizing heart attacks and strokes and better than a reduced carbohydrate diet at cutting the risk of diabetes. It also helps combat colon, prostate and breast cancer and aids in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's."
These reasons should be sufficient to get you to stock your refrigerator with Mediterranean basics, enjoy fresh food, and live longer.