In Hollywood, fad diets come and go at an alarming rate. But the Mediterranean diet has stood the test of time, keeping your favorite celebrities healthy and happy for decades. The meal plan, inspired by cuisine from countries around the Mediterranean Sea, promotes eating an array of healthy fats, fruits, veggies, and whole grains. (And olive oil, because you can’t have Mediterranean cuisine without putting olive oil on everything.)
But good-tasting food is just the beginning. Some of the diet’s health-promoting properties are why celebs like Brooke Burke swear by it. Dying to know more? Here’s why Hollywood celebrities find the Mediterranean diet irresistible.
The Mediterranean diet includes amazing food, but is healthy
Remember back in 2011 when actress Penelope Cruz became stunningly svelte mere months after having a baby? She credited the Mediterranean diet with getting her into amazing shape. “My diet is the Mediterranean diet, which is good food,” Cruz told the Daily Mirror. “I eat well but I try to eat healthily.”
The wide variety of foods in the diet’s pyramid allow for a variety of meals that are both delicious and nutritious. And tasty Spanish dishes like gazpacho and seafood paella fit into the diet’s parameters. It’s no wonder Cruz is such a big fan.
The diet can add years to your life — seriously
One of the biggest upsides to taking on the Mediterranean diet is its ability to add years onto your life. Just ask Susan Lucci — someone who knows a thing or two about longevity. She was inspired to start the diet after her husband was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat.
The healthy mix of delicious foods is very heart healthy. According to Mayo Clinic, the meal plan “has been associated with a lower level of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol — the ‘bad’ cholesterol that’s more likely to build up deposits in your arteries.” Additionally, the healthy eating regimen has been linked to reducing the instances of cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.
It’s great workout fuel
Surely you’ve heard that eating healthy is a huge part of maintaining a fit lifestyle. So it’s no wonder that some of the fittest people in Hollywood incorporate the Mediterranean diet into their daily eating habits. Take Brooke Burke, for example, who is one of the diet’s most vocal supporters.
“I can honestly say that I’ve never been healthier or fitter in my life,” the former Dancing With the Stars host tells Shape. Burke even admits that she is able to eat five small meals a day. “And I never skip breakfast, even if it’s just a protein shake.” While we are on the subject …
Even the breakfast options are delicious
Breakfast is perhaps the most heavily-debated meal, particularly because so many people try to skip it. Since the Mediterranean diet is so health-focused, it is part of the “pro breakfast” crowd. Celebrity chef and Mediterranean diet follower Rachael Ray often shares breakfast options from the meal plan. A delicious highlight is the spicy tomato and poached eggs dish featured in her magazine, Rachael Ray Every Day.
What about the on-the-go celebs that don’t have time for a large breakfast, you ask? There are also light breakfast options too, like these dishes from Livestrong.com.
And there’s wine!
There are few things more synonymous with Mediterranean cuisine than wine. And one of the things that makes the Mediterranean diet so appealing is that it encourages having a bit of fermented grape juice every day. (Perfect for sipping at those fancy Hollywood parties, right?) T
he antioxidants in red wine are good for the heart, but the key here is drinking in moderation. Mayo Clinic explains that, to stay within the boundaries of the diet, you can’t drink more than 10 ounces of wine daily if you are 65 years old or younger. (For individuals over 65, no more than five ounces of wine is allowed daily.)
The Mediterranean diet is for everyone
When you think of popular diets among Hollywood’s elite, you probably think of all the young actors trying to stay slim. But this healthy eating regimen is so varied and effective, it appeals to actors from all different corners of Tinseltown.
Take Roseanne alum John Goodman, who started the diet as part of a full lifestyle change. Goodman, recognized for his large stature, lost 100 pounds when he mixed the diet with some basic exercise like walking on the treadmill. Clearly, you don’t have to slave away at the gym when you put this healthy eating regimen to the test.
The options make it easy to occasionally treat yourself
Okay, maybe McDonald’s is a little overboard. But let’s say you are craving a greasy burger. It’s perfectly acceptable to grab a turkey burger or chicken sandwich instead. And with the plethora of delicious spices hailing from Mediterranean cuisine, you can replace the high salt content of a burger with something much more healthy and flavorful.
Check out this scrumptious recipe from Health.com which will surely inspire you to make your own Mediterranean-friendly meal.