A new study published this week by the New England Journal of Medicine showed that people at risk for heart disease can significantly lower the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke if they stick to a Mediterranean diet.
The diet has other health benefits as well, and is believed to contribute to longevity.
The Mediterranean is not a fad, but simply a healthier way of eating, emphasizing a combination of fresh vegetables, fruits, olive oil, and fish. It's also low on salt, red meat, and butter — essentially everything the American diet is known for.
Not sure how to embrace the Mediterranean diet? We've rounded up seven delicious and healthy dishes to get you started (click the photos to see the recipes).
Hummus With Spices: Hummus is insanely easy to make, All you need is garbanzo beans and tasty extras like cayenne pepper, sea salt, lemon juice, and garlic. Really kick it up a notch by blending roasted red peppers with the garbanzo beans.
Mediterranean Greek Salad: A classic staple of the Mediterranean diet is the Greek salad with sliced cucumbers, Feta cheese, black olives, Roma tomatoes, red onions, green beans, and more. It's also a favorite since you can essentially add however much or little of an ingredient you wish.
Mediterranean Paella: Paella is a Valencian flavored rice dish that you can make with any type of meat and veggie combination you want. Try a seafood version with fish, onions, garlic, artichoke hearts, peas, lemons, mussels, parsley, and olive oil.
Mediterranean Couscous Salad: Quick-cooking couscous is a good-for-you meal that's made with steamed durum wheat granules. It becomes extremely flavorful when paired with Roma tomatoes, kalamata olives, onions, lemon juice, and Feta cheese. Serve chilled.
Mediterranean-Style Grilled Salmon: Grilling salmon is a healthier option than deep frying or breading. Top the filet with a mixture of basil, parsley, garlic, and lemon juice and then place herb-side down on the grill. The result is a tasty (and healthy!) fish entrée.
Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar: This tart dessert is quintessential Mediterranean. Add strawberries (or any other type of berry) to a bowl and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and a little bit of sugar.
"Brutti Ma Buoni" Cookies: On the Mediterranean diet, sweets are OK in moderation. These delicious Italian hazelnut cookies, made without butter, literally translate to "Ugly But Good." They look plain, but they're actually deliciously nutty with hazelnuts, sugar, egg whites, and vanilla extract.
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