For the third year in a row, the Mediterranean diet has been named the best diet overall in the U.S. News & World Report annual rankings.
In 2018, the Mediterranean diet shared top honors with the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. Both focus on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The ketogenic diet, one of the most popular, again fared well in the annual survey, but only in the fast weight loss category. Overall, it was not rated highly.

12 Reasons to Love the Mediterranean Diet

1. Surprise! No Calorie Counting

You won’t need a calculator for this meal plan. Instead of adding up numbers, you swap out bad fats for heart-healthy ones. Go for olive oil instead of butter. Try fish or poultry rather than red meat. Enjoy fresh fruit and skip sugary, fancy desserts.
Eat your fill of flavorful veggies and beans. Nuts are good, but stick to a handful a day. You can have whole-grain bread and wine, but in moderate amounts.

2. The Food Is Really Fresh

You won’t need to roam the frozen food aisle or hit a fast-food drive-thru. The focus is on seasonal food that’s made in simple, mouth-watering ways. Build a yummy salad from spinach, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Add classic Greek ingredients like black olives and feta cheese with a Quick Light Greek Salad recipe. You can also whip up a colorful, veggie-filled batch of Grilled Tomato Gazpacho.

3. You Can Have Bread

Look for a loaf made with whole grains. It’s got more protein and minerals and is generally healthier than the white flour kind. Try whole-grain pita bread dipped in olive oil, hummus, or tahini (a protein-rich paste made from ground sesame seeds).

4. Fat Isn’t Forbidden

You just need to look for the good kind. You’ll find it in nuts, olives, and olive oil. These fats (not the saturated and trans fat hidden in processed foods) add flavor and help fight diseases from diabetes to cancer. Basic Basil Pesto is a tasty way to get some into your diet.

5. The Menu Is Huge

It’s more than just Greek and Italian cuisine. Look for recipes from Spain, Turkey, Morocco, and other countries. Choose foods that stick to the basics: light on red meat and whole-fat dairy, with lots of fresh fruits and veggies, olive oil, and whole grains. This Moroccan recipe with chickpeas, okra, and spices fits the healthy Mediterranean profile.

6. The Spices Are Delicious

Bay leaves, cilantro, coriander, rosemary, garlic, pepper, and cinnamon add so much flavor you won’t need to reach for the salt shaker. Some have health benefits, too. Coriander and rosemary, for example, have disease-fighting antioxidants and nutrients. This recipe for Greek-Style Mushrooms uses cilantro and coriander and has a lemony kick.

7. It’s Easy to Make

Greek meals are often small, easy to assemble plates called mezzes. For your own serve-it-cold casual meal, you could put out plates of cheese, olives, and nuts. Also check out these recipes for Basil Quinoa With Red Bell Pepper and Eight Layered Greek Dip. Both have heart-friendly ingredients including olive oil, beans, whole grains, and spices.

8. You Can Have Wine

A glass with meals is common in many Mediterranean countries, where dining is often leisurely and social. Some studies suggest that for some people, up to one glass a day for women and two for men may be good for your heart. Red wine may be healthier than white. Check with your doctor to see if it’s a good idea for you.

9. You Won’t Be Hungry

You’ll get a chance to eat rich-tasting foods like roasted sweet potatoes, hummus, and even this Lima Bean Spread. You digest them slowly so that you feel full longer. Hunger’s not a problem when you can munch on nuts, olives, or bites of low-fat cheese when a craving strikes. Feta and halloumi are lower in fat than cheddar but still rich and tasty.

10. You Can Lose Weight

You’d think it would take a miracle to drop some pounds if you eat nuts, cheese, and oils. But those Mediterranean basics (and the slower eating style) let you feel full and satisfied. And that helps you stick to a diet. Regular exercise is also an important part of the lifestyle.

11. Your Heart Will Thank You

Almost everything in this diet is good for your heart. Olive oil and nuts help lower “bad” cholesterol. Fruits, veggies, and beans help keep arteries clear. Fish helps lower triglycerides and blood pressure. Even a daily glass of wine may be good for your heart! If you’ve never fallen in love with fish, try Grilled Whole Trout With Lemon-Tarragon Bean Salad.

12. You’ll Stay Sharper Longer

The same goodness that protects your heart is also good for your brain. You’re not eating bad fats and processed foods, which can cause inflammation. Instead, antioxidant-rich foods make this eating style a brain-friendly choice.

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Creamy banana cinnamon porridge with caramelized bananas and peanut butter

Ingredients * 100 g rolled oats got the from dm bio * 80 ml of water * 300 ml oat milk * 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon * 1 ripe banana * ½ banana sliced * 1 teaspoon coconut oil Instructions * Put the oatmeal in a pan and fry briefly. * Add water and milk and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir. * Mash 1 banana with the fork. * Stir cinnamon and banana under the porridge and let it bubble for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly. * Depending on the desired consistency, add milk. The consistency should be nice and creamy. * Heat the coconut oil in a pan and add banana slices and caramelise from both sides. * Pour porridge into a small bowl and garnish with banana slices, berries, apples and nut butter. * If you like, you can add maple syrup. Ready!

Source: @klaraslife

Blueberry pancakes with coconut yogurt and raspberries

Ingredients * 40 g spelt flour * 1 tsp baking powder * 1 tbsp baking soda * 1 tbsp vinegar * 1 tsp ground cinnamon * 150 ml Soy Milk or oat milk * 150 g plain Greek yogurt or soy yogurt * 30 ml maple syrup or agave syrup * 1 tbsp melted coconut oil * 125 g fresh or frozen blueberries Instructions * In a large bowl, toss the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together until combined. Set aside. * In another bowl, whisk the yogurt, milk and maple syrup until combined. Whisk in the oil. * Mix baking soda with vinegar. * Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently whisk to combine the ingredients. The batter is thick. * Gently, fold in the blueberries, especially if you are using frozen blueberries. * Heat a skillet over medium heat. * Drop about 1-2 tbsp of batter on the skillet. Cook until the edges look dry and bubbles begin to form on the sides, about 1 minute. Flip and cook on the other side until cooked through. * Serve pancakes immediately with toppings of choice.

Source: @klaraslife

CREAMY TOMATO SOUP WITH CRISPY CHICKPEA TOPPING

Ingredients * 1 onion chopped * 1 garlic clove chopped * 1 large carrot diced * 1/2 chili * 2 cans of tomatoes a 400 ml * 1 tablespoon tomato paste * 500 ml vegetable stock plus more * 1 Bay leaf * 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika powder * Salt pepper * Basil oil: * 1 handful of basil * salt * 80 ml of olive oil * 150 g of chickpeas * ect. * Almond flakes roasted * Soy cream half whipped Instructions * Fry the onion and garlic in olive oil. * Add the carrots and chilli and fry for 5 minutes. * Add the tomato paste and fry for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. * Stir in tomatoes, vegetable stock, bay leaf and paprika and simmer for 30 minutes. * Mix basil with salt and oil. * Mix the chickpeas with a little oil, salt and smoked paprika and bake for 15-20 minutes at 180 degree C. * Remove the bay leaf and finely puree the soup in the mixer or with the hand blender. * Session and add some broth if necessary. * Arrange in small bowls and decorate with basil oil, roasted chickpeas, almonds and soy cream.

Source: @klaraslife

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