Gaining popularity as the healthiest cuisine worldwide the Mediterranean food is an amalgamation of tastes meet wellbeing in the best way. The Mediterranean platter is filled with the finest of vegetables and fruits from the food pyramid. Focusing on the maximised intake of fresh produces such as herbs and leafy greens to dry fruits, essential olive oils to beans and legumes the diet comprises of ingredients that can be easily sourced and prepared at home. Olives, Wheat and Grape which is known as the holy trinity of the Mediterranean cuisine are all excellent sources of varied nutrients. The recent innovations in cookery have busted the myths around Olive oil, its varieties and popular Mediterranean ingredients like pasta and bread.
With the telecast of foreign cookery shows and opening of several food chains, India has also shown keen interest in the Mediterranean cuisine. Figures also show the active response of the Indian consumer towards the consumption of Mediterranean food products such as variety of Olive oils, Pastas, Nuts and Table Olives. The inclination towards H&W food products is also a result of today’ s consumer’s will to stay fit and maintain a diet that shuns anything that is unhealthy. With the easy availability of the Mediterranean food in super markets and stores one can now prepare authentic Mediterranean food at home.
Since the diet primarily focuses on plant based and healthy fat intake it can be easily made at home and savoured without compromising on the health factor. Authentic Mediterranean is surely a step towards maintaining a well balanced health regimen as studies have shown that regular consumption of Olive oil wards off cardiovascular diseases and encourages longevity of the life span. The dry fruits and legumes together are responsible for a healthy brain. Benefits of preparing authentic Mediterranean cuisine at home with the products available are plenty as:
Mediterranean cuisine is plant based
Almost all the foods in a Mediterranean diet are procured from plants. Be it the whole grains, fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, beans, nuts, seeds, and olive oil are all foods that are included every day. Also three is a lot of emphasize on including seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables.
Uses herbs and spices to season foods
Mediterranean cuisine focuses on the powerful use of many flavourful herbs and spices to season foods. Regular usage of herbs and spices allows one to cut back on added salt, sugar, and fat when cooking. It not only helps cutting down on the extras but also enhances the taste factor.
Olive oil: The staple fat
The cuisine largely centres on the usage of different verities of Olive oil, (Virgin, Pure, and Extra Light) and Olives. Unhealthy fats such as Butter, margarine, and other solid fats are very rarely used in cooking. Thus helps in improving one’s health. Olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated fats, which are a type of healthy fat that can help lower cholesterol levels when you use them instead of saturated fats. Solid fats are high in saturated and trans fats, which damage your arteries and can increase your cholesterol levels. These days the markets have a plethora of Olives and Olive oils to choose from. A quick pasta salad with combination of Olive oils and herbs and boiled potatoes cut in chunks can be whipped up quickly and enjoyed as a lunch time snack.
Everyday staples: Beans, nuts, legumes, and whole grains
Dishes having Beans and whole grains which are healthy forms of carbohydrate can be cooked at home. These legumes can be worked into your diabetes meal plan in appropriate portion sizes. Nuts are also a source of healthy unsaturated fats that are an important part of a Mediterranean meal plan. The use of almonds and pistachios in any meal will give it an extra crunch also increasing on the nutrient factor of any dish. Instead of deep fried snacks, healthy and quick alternatives like a bean and olive salad can be prepared. The dish can be prepared my throwing in some beans, with a dressing made by Extra Virgin olive oil, a dash of lemon juice, pepper and salt with handful of chopped pitted olives. Snacks like these are not only easy to make but they are fully rich in nutrients.
Proteins: Lean Meats and fish
The main source of animal protein in the, Mediterranean diet is the intake of fish. Fishes like salmon, halibut, herring, sardines, mackerel, and trout contain omega-3 fatty acids, which promote heart and brain health. Chicken, low-fat dairy, eggs, and cheese are included in smaller portions daily or a few times per week.
A Good Choice for People with diabetes and other disease
Many studies have shown that a Mediterranean inspired diet is responsible for lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The diet which includes everything in proportion like vegetables, poultry and grains can only be a promoter of good health. All the ingredients are readily available in the markets and online stores and authentic Mediterranean cuisine can be enjoyed by the family anytime they want.