Excerpt from Health.com:
There’s a good reason docs love the Mediterranean diet: Traditional Greek foods like dark leafy veggies, fresh fruit, high-fiber beans, lentils, grains, olive oil, and omega-3-rich fish deliver lots of immune-boosting and cancer-fighting ingredients that cut your risks of heart disease, diabetes, and other diet-related ailments. In fact, eating a traditional Mediterranean-style diet is associated with a 25 percent reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer, according to Harvard University research. And people lose more weight and feel more satisfied on this type of diet, which is rich in healthy fats, than on a traditional low-fat diet, another Harvard study suggests.
This cuisine also ranks high because of how it’s eaten, notes Dr. Miller, one of our judges. “The Greeks often share small plates of food called meze,” she says, having just a bite of meat along with low-cal, healthy Greek staples like fresh seafood, slowly digested carbs (beans, eggplant, or whole-grain breads), and small portions of olives and nuts.
If you’re eating out, order grilled fish and spinach or other greens sautéed with olive oil and garlic. “This dish gives you the anti-inflammatory combo of olive oil and greens with the blood-pressure-lowering effects of garlic,” Dr. Miller says.
Danger zone: Unless you make it yourself and go light on the butter, the classic spinach pie (spanakopita) can be as calorie- and fat-laden as a bacon cheeseburger.