iHERITAGE Portugal celebrates and promotes the world-renowned Mediterranean Diet as an Intangible Cultural Heritage


Another year, another medal! For the sixth year in a row, the Mediterranean diet earned the title of best overall diet, according to 2023 ratings announced by U.S. News & World Report.

Meals from the sunny Mediterranean also ranked first in the categories of diet best diet for healthy eating and best plant-based diet, the report said.

This eating pattern that emulates how people in the Mediterranean region have traditionally eaten, focus on foods like olive oil, fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts, legumes, and whole grains.

The Mediterranean diet landing the top spot once more doesn’t come as a surprise. For years, this diet has been commonly recommended with numerous studies concluding it can reduce the risk for diabetes, high cholesterol, dementia, memory loss, depression and breast cancer. 

The Portuguese iHERITAGE team from the University of Algarve (UAlg) is currently navigating through the cultural elements of Tavira (whose cultural heritage element is the Mediterranean Diet), which focus on the production and consumption of olive oil in the municipality – the recipes, flavours, history and places that mark the journey of a natural ingredient, present on every table!

Social interactions during meals and exercise are basic cornerstones of the Mediterranean style of eating. Lifestyle changes that are part of the diet include eating with friends and family, socialising over meals, mindfully eating favourite foods, as well as mindful movement and exercise.

Following this framework and as part of the @IheritageH project, the main goal for the Portuguese team is to promote and enhance the Mediterranean UNESCO cultural heritage through innovative experiences by creating cross-border living labs for research and innovation.

Represented by the University of Algarve, the focus of the Portuguese team is to promote the Mediterranean Diet and its importance for the cultural identity of the Mediterranean. 

The iHERITAGE ICT Mediterranean platform for UNESCO world heritage is a strategic project funded by the EU through the ENI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme.