5 Mediterranean foods for better health

Recipes to try:

Tomato tart with olive oil pastry

Smoked mackerel caesar salad

More like this

Smoked mackerel caesar salad with crispy onions and seedy croutons

Nuts

Monounsaturated fats are also found in almonds and brazils, while walnuts and cashews are good sources of another healthy fat, omega-6. Nuts are packed with a variety of minerals, from calcium to selenium, so eating a good mix is a great way to give yourself a nutrient boost.

Recipes to try:

Cavolo nero, pink grapefruit, avocado and walnut salad

Roast cod and romesco sauce with olive and almond dressing

Roast Cod Recipe with Romesco Sauce and Almond Dressing

Sardines

Named after the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, these oily fish are usually eaten fresh in the Med, whereas we Brits tend to eat them canned. The calcium content is actually higher in the tinned fish, but both forms are another source of those healthy fats, as well as B vitamins.

Recipes to try:

Warm roasted pepper, sardine and ciabatta salad

Grilled sardines with tomato salad

A white oval platter topped with slices of tomato and topped with grilled sardines

Beans

Cannellini, chickpeas, haricot and more are popular in Mediterranean cuisine. They’re a great vegetable-based source of protein and fibre, are low in calories and fat, and also contain B vitamins, iron, copper, magnesium and zinc.

Recipes to try:

Baked cod and butter beans

Warm hummus with pine nuts, raisins and olives

Hummus with flatbreads

Tomatoes

Whether the foundation of a sauce or a salad, tomatoes feature heavily in classic Mediterranean dishes. They contain a variety of antioxidants known as carotenoids, which are more easily absorbed by the body if you eat them with olive oil.

Recipes to try:

Pan y tomate

Baked feta with pomegranate and tomatoes

Baked Feta Cheese Recipe with Tomatoes

Emma Hartfield is health editor at olive and Good Food. She has 25 years of experience on health and food titles, including previous roles as health editor for Boots and producing magazines and video for Co-op, Morrisons and Waitrose. She believes eating healthy food should be easy, tasty and enjoyable for the whole family.

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