Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as one Mediterranean diet: This geographic region includes several nations with varied cultures, traditions, incomes and dietary habits, resulting in a wide variation of dietary patterns. The present volume focuses on the latest research data from basic science and clinical intervention studies that indicate that a balanced ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids and a high antioxidant intake from fruits and vegetables, along with olive oil, contribute to a lower rate of heart disease and increased longevity. These benefits are especially pronounced in the population of Crete, indicating that this diet is particularly healthy. Moreover, descriptions of the diets of Greece, Italy, Spain and the Maghreb are given for the first time, pointing to their differences as well as to their common dietary patterns; these are followed by chapters on the nutritional and metabolic contributions of antioxidants, wine, olive oil and fatty acids. Results from the Lyon Heart Study lead to the conclusion that plasma and cell membrane phospholipid omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acid ratios are among the main biological effects of the experimental modified diet of Crete tested in this trial. Results also show that a pattern based on a modified diet of Crete decreases the death rate of both coronary heart disease and cancer. Physicians, nutritionists, cardiologists, cancer specialists, food scientists, agriculturists, dietitians as well as the informed public will find this volume of particular interest.