5 celebrities who have benefited from the Mediterranean diet
From a comedian to a former swimsuit model, these celebrities have found power in fresh fish, lean meats, nuts, fruits and vegetables.
As researchers love to point out, the Mediterranean diet is one of the best healthy eating plans an individual can embrace to start feeling and looking better. Beyond the short-term gains, we also know this cacophony of protein-and fiber-rich fish, nuts, fruits, vegetables and olive oil is good for our brains, sweet music to our hearts, and a powerful weapon in cancer prevention. Oh yeah – and it's one of the few diets that will actually save you money at the grocery store.
But enough science! What do real people who've shifted to the Mediterranean diet feel about its benefits? Check out these five celebrities who have stocked up fresh greens and olive oil, dropped the weight, and are feeling better than ever.
Celebrity chef Rachael Ray credits the Mediterranean diet with helping her maintain a healthy lifestyle. (Photo: Aaron Davidson/Getty Images)
Celebrity chef Rachael Ray has made the Mediterranean diet a big part of her long-term eating plan and never misses a moment to espouse its virtues. In 2009, Ray dropped two pants sizes and shed 2 inches from her waist after combining her diet with regular exercise.
"We eat a largely Mediterranean diet, so lots of canned fish, lots of canned tomatoes, lots of canned peas, lots of fish,” Ray told OK! magazine. “We love sardines and anchovies, which are also healthy for you, which is great. Pasta, of course. You’ve gotta love it.”
Brooke Burke says the Mediterranean diet gives her the 'good fuel' she craves to balance family, work and play. (Photo: John Sciulli/Getty Images)
With one of the most enviable bodies in Hollywood, Brooke Burke knows a thing or two about eating right. The 44-year-old former "Dancing with the Stars" host admits, however, that it took her a long time to figure out the perfect eating regimen that fits her active lifestyle.
"I've tried just about every crazy diet you can imagine," Burke told Shape magazine. "But now I've learned what really works for my body." Along with her husband and four kids, the former swimsuit model says she follows a Mediterranean diet with lean meats, fish, vegetables and lots of olive oil.
"I never miss breakfast," she added to People. "I believe in good fuel and putting the right things in our body and drinking a lot of water and getting enough sleep. It all starts with nutrition."
Want to indulge in a healthy meal that would make Brooke Burke feel right at home? Check out a recipe for flavor-infused olive oil, delicious garlicky chicken with broccoli, and (for those who also believe breakfast is the most important meal of the day) vegetable-stuffed pancakes.
John Goodman embraced exercise and a Mediterranean meal plan to help him lose almost 100 pounds over a year and a half. (Photo: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)
At 63, John Goodman already had the film career of a lifetime. Not only has the actor worked with Hollywood heavyweights like American director Robert Zemeckis and Israeli producer Arnon Milchan, but he's also had starring roles in critically acclaimed films like "The Big Lebowski," "Trumbo" and "Inside Llewyn Davis."
His current moment in the spotlight, however, has nothing to do with his acting and everything to do with his health. Since making a lifestyle shift last year that included exercise and a Mediterranean-style eating plan, Goodman has reportedly dropped almost 100 pounds.
"I took it slow. I just wanted to change my lifestyle," he said in a recent interview. "You look in the mirror everyday and go, 'I gotta deal with this the rest of the day, I gotta deal with this schmuck?'"
Looking to make a lifestyle shift of your own? Check out these healthy Mediterranean dishes to kickstart your new regimen; including chickpea rice salad, quinoa tabbouleh with mint tahini, and the crowd-pleasing falafel waffle.
Penélope Cruz says a Mediterranean diet helps her stay healthy, though she does have a weak spot. (Photo: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
Asked how she reached her target weight only four months after the birth of her son Leo in 2011, Spanish actress Penélope Cruz credited the diet she grew up with.
“Spain is my country and Madrid is my city and I love living there,” Cruz told The Daily Mirror. “My family and friends are all there so that’s my place. I love Spanish food. My diet is the Mediterranean diet, which is good food. I eat well, but I try to eat healthy.”
Cruz, 41, admits that when she gets a craving for something unhealthy, it's usually a burger. "I do it, like, once a week or once every two weeks," she told Parade. "It’s my little treat for myself."
If you're craving a burger, check out this tasty and healthy recipe for chicken burgers in a lemony tomato sauce. And for those who wouldn't mind a taste of Spain, heat things up with this spicy chickpea and spinach stew featuring hot Spanish paprika.
Soap star Susan Lucci says she keeps her youthful glow by embracing a Mediterranean diet filled with fresh fish, fruits and vegetables. (Photo: Larry French/Getty Images)
An icon in the world of American television, Susan Lucci transitioned to a Mediterranean diet in 2010 after her husband was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat. While the shift was a dramatic one from the Austrian diet of "butter, jam, hot dogs, sausage and cheese" she says her husband was used to, he's since learned to love it.
"It’s a different way of eating, but a healthier way of eating," Lucci told Fox News.
According to Lucci's personal trainer, Christine Fee, the 69-year-old Lucci keeps up her youthful appearance by embracing a Mediterranean diet that includes fresh fruit and vegetables. Speaking with ABC Soaps, Lucci added that she's also keen to eat "fresh fish and green vegetables like kale salad – which my husband is never going to eat… but I do!”
In honor of Lucci's love for one of our favorite, full-flavored greens, here are some recipes for kale fruit salad, steamed kale with ginger-infused carrots, and a mouth-watering winter vegetable manicotti.
Looking for more Mediterranean diet dishes? Check out our recipe page.
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