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Top recipes of 2023

December 19, 2023 | UCI Health
Grandma, mom and granddaughter laughing in the kitchen while chopping bell peppers.

Live Well readers have spoken!

This year's most popular recipes addressed prevalent health conditions and included the world’s most popular eating plan — the Mediterranean diet — which fortunately is recommended for many diseases and disorders.

Nutrient-rich food really is the best medicine for preventing disease and giving your body what it craves for optimal health!

Dive a little deeper into healthful eating with our readers' favorites among the fresh and delicious recipes crafted this year by Jessica VanRoo, executive chef of the Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute, part of UCI Health.

No. 1: Flavorful foods to fight inflammation

Chronic inflammation — lasting for weeks, months or years — can trigger many health problems, fueling diseases like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, heart conditions, hypertension, fatty liver disease and some cancers. Some foods increase inflammation — think red and processed meats, fried foods, refined carbohydrates and sugar-laden drinks. Learn about the wide variety of foods and spices known to fight it as you prepare these appetizing recipes.

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Mediterranean Chicken and Chickpea bowl served with a variety of veggies and topped with yogurt sauce.

No. 2: Recipes to soothe acid reflux

Most people have experienced heartburn — also known as acid reflux — at some point in their lives. More than 60 million Americans suffer from it at least once a month. What we eat can have a profound effect on how much acid the stomach produces. Discover the types of food and ingredients known to calm acid reflux and improve digestive health. Try these meals and see if you're able to say goodbye to those antacid tablets.

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Lemongrass ginger poached shrimp salad is displayed on a white plate with blue placemat.

No. 3: Mediterranean-inspired meals

Rated the best overall diet for six years straight by U.S. News & World Report, the Mediterranean diet is rich in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, lean protein, seafood and heart-healthy fats proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, including stroke and heart conditions. The diet also is linked to the prevention of type 2 diabetes and studies show it may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and reduce the risk of dementia. Jumpstart your journey to increased energy and health with these flavorful dishes.

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One pan turmeric chicken shown in cast iron skillet and on a plate in the background.

No. 4: Nourishing the ADHD brain

Certain foods are thought to aggravate symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Studies out of Holland demonstrated that an elimination diet — removing sugar, gluten, dairy, eggs, processed meats and food dyes — improved symptoms in 70% of children with ADHD. Equally important is ensuring that the replacement diet is well-rounded and full of essential nutrients known to improve memory, mood, behavior and cognition. These meals offer them in abundance to help achieve a calmer, more productive day.

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An assembled tofu gyro is displayed with an open whole wheat wrap on a table outside.

No. 5: Heart-healthy comfort food

Heart disease remains the No. 1 killer of U.S. men and women and people across most racial and ethnic groups. Major risk factors for heart disease are high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and smoking. But other medical conditions and lifestyle choices also put people at greater risk, including diabetes, being overweight and a diet low in nutritional value. These heart-healthy dishes provide steady energy to help keep you on track with your nutrition, exercise and weight-loss goals.

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This vegetarian ramen recipe is made with bok choy, bean sprouts and mushrooms in a Japanese broth called dashi. style=

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