10 Mediterranean Recipes to Promote Graceful Aging
Yes, the fountain of youth just might be gushing olive oil. A recent study published in the medical journal "BMJ" showed that the Mediterranean diet (lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains, olive oil, and fish; very little dairy, meat, and saturated fats; and a regular glass of wine with meals) boasts anti-aging benefits on top of its often lauded heart-healthy appeal. Here, we've compiled a day's worth of Mediterranean-friendly recipes from "Clean Slate," our newest book for healthy, delicious whole-foods meals.
Start the day with figs, honey, and yogurt, long considered some of the Mediterranean region's most luscious exports. Use dried figs in the off-season, and try adding antioxidant-rich pistachios and a dash of blood-sugar-balancing cinnamon for extra benefits.
Savory lovers can breakfast on steamed salmon -- a wonderful source of omega-3 fatty acids that has plenty of anti-inflammatory properties. Avocado is high in compounds and fiber that can support liver detoxification, aid digestion, and improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels. (And yes, this also makes a great lunch.)
An almond-date smoothie makes an energizing snack or light breakfast. High in vitamin E and healthy fats, almonds also help facilitate healthy digestion to reduce stress on the body.
Ready for lunch? Whole grains such as farro and bulgur make a tasty backdrop for tabbouleh -- and they're packed with insoluble fiber, which aids the digestive process. If you have gluten sensitivities, sub a gluten-free grain such as quinoa instead.
This succulent salad, which pairs roasted peppers and carrots with detoxifying citrus and heart-healthy hazelnuts, is nutritious without an ounce of green. Take roasted peppers on a savory flavor trip with anchovy-marinated white beans -- if omega-3s aren't enough to compel you, the umami factor should be.
Instead of hummus, try a minted pea dip that will make your chickpeas green with envy. Mint contains volatile oils that relax the stomach muscles to relieve any post-lunch indigestion.
Any dried fruit and nut can be used to make these sesame-studded energy balls. Get the most bang for your Mediterranean bite with a combination of apricots, Medjool dates, almonds, and walnuts -- one of the only sources of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 that reduces inflammation.
And for dinner? You know and love spaghetti -- but what about pasta con le sarde, a heart-healthy Sicilian classic? We've added fennel and celery, both natural diuretics that help remove toxic substances from the body.
Skip the spanakopita and try this vegetarian tart, which sets spicy sauteed spinach against an olive-oil cracker crust. Olive oil has strong concentrations of polyphenols, which have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Finally, feed your Nutella tooth with dark chocolate-hazelnut bark. With or without the orange zest, you'll get plenty of vitamin E, folate, and antioxidants to spare.
Which Mediterranean-inspired recipes will you try?