Is Lebanese Food Healthy? | The Benefits of a Lebanese Diet
It’s a common question, is Lebanese Food Healthy? Traditional Lebanese food is well known for being delicious; however, it is also a fantastic choice for those looking for a healthy food option. Here we take a brief look at a few of the many reasons why Lebanese cuisine is among the world’s healthiest, so if you care about your health prepare to meet your new favourite food.
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The health benefits of staple Lebanese ingredients such as chick peas have been well known since ancient times, and classics dishes such as hommus and falafel showcase their healthy qualities to the fullest.
Lebanese cuisine has always utilised fresh local ingredients, ensuring that you get the maximum nutritional benefits from every bite. Using fruits, vegetables and herbs from the local area also minimises the impact on the environment as there are no resource intensive transportation efforts required.
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Spices not sauces
The mouth-watering taste of all those delicious Lebanese dishes comes from carefully selected herbs and spices rather than heavy sauces. This ensures that each dish has the maximum amount of flavour but the minimum amount of saturated fats.
The use of olive oil
Instead of cooking with butter, cream or other dairy products, Lebanese food relies heavily on olive oil, which can do wonders to lower cholesterol, control blood sugar levels and boost overall heart health. While olive oil is still relatively high in fat content, its mono-unsaturated fatty acids make it extremely good for you.
Low in starch
Unlike most western cultural diets, Lebanese food uses very few starchy ingredients. You are far more likely to find a small serving of rice or lentils as opposed to huge helpings of potatoes, noodles or highly processed white bread.
Lots of lamb
In Lebanon the meat of choice has always been lamb, which is considered a lot healthier an option than red meat. Grass-fed lamb is high in protein, niacin, selenium, vitamin B12, zinc and phosphorous, as well as a fantastic source of essential fatty acids.
A focus on vegetarian options
The herbs used in Lebanese cooking are not only fresh; they are also extremely good for you. Mint freshens your breath, aids your digestion and has been found to assist everything from weight loss to preventing headaches, while parsley is high in vitamins K, C and A as well as folate, iron and copper.
Ancient and magical spices
Fresh za’atar is one of Lebanon’s most widely used spices and it has been linked to all manner of health benefits. From being touted as a cure for leprosy in Biblical times to its cancer fighting properties and the widely held belief that it helps to boost your brain power, za’atar is a super food to say the least.
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Two words – chick peas!
The health benefits of chick peas have been well known since ancient times and Lebanese staples such as hommus and falafel showcase their healthy qualities to the fullest. Apart from being high in protein, chick peas are full of calcium, magnesium, phosphate, iron and vitamin K, which together help to strengthen your bones, lower blood pressure, fight cancer, reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol.
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