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Human health benefits supplied by Mediterranean marine biodiversity
This paper summarizes the overall benefits supplied by Mediterranean marine biodiversity to human health and highlights the anthropogenic and environmental causes that are threatening these benefits. First, the Mediterranean Sea is a valuable source of seafood, which is an important component of the so-called " Mediterranean diet" This type of diet has several health benefits, including cardio and cancer protective effects, which are attributed to the high intake of seafood-derived n-3 (omega-3) fatty acids. Second, the Mediterranean marine organisms, particularly the benthic ones, have furnished a large variety of bioactive metabolites, some of which are being developed into new drugs to threat major human diseases such as cancer. Third, the Mediterranean coastal areas provide environments for practising maritime leisure activities that provide physical and psychological benefits to users. Despite all this, fishing, tourism, contamination and sea warming are deteriorating this rich marine ecosystem, which needs to be protected to assure human welfare. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
Marine drugs; Maritime recreation; Seafood quality
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