Middle Eastern food isn’t just delicious; its aroma is appetite inducing, it looks amazing (it Instagrams really well) and it’s good for your health. Because the cuisine contains a lot of vegetables, lean meats and healthy fats, it is fast becoming a go-to for those concerned with eating healthy.
The next time you’re enjoying a wrap, pat yourself on the back for reaping these health benefits of Middle Eastern food as well.
Olive oil has numerous benefits
Olive oil is a mainstay in Middle Eastern food. It is used in making hummus, a variety of salads, tabbouleh, fattoush and so much more. Olive oil has antioxidants that lower the risk of varied diseases, it helps to lower LDL, ‘bad’ cholesterol in the body and it has anti-inflammatory properties. While oil is usually linked to weight gain, studies show that a diet rich in olive oil had no adverse effects on weight. Extra points if it is extra virgin.
The idea that we should be eating more fresh and less processed food isn’t new. It is better for our health and its better for the environment. Fresh food, especially if it is grown and cleaned responsibly, is free from harmful preservatives and ingredients required to keep food from going bad. It tastes better too.
That crunch you taste when you bite into a Shawarma comes down to the fact that the vegetables are fresh. A good restaurant will make spreads like hummus fresh as well so that you get more nutrients out of your meal.
High in seeds/nuts
One of the health benefits of Middle Eastern food rises out of its high nut and seed content. You will find that your meal contains nuts like almonds, chickpeas, peanuts, sesame or walnuts. There are a lot of studies that support the need to eat at least a handful of nuts daily.
Nuts have monosaturated fats that are good for heart health. They are high in fibre which, amongst other things, helps to maintain a feeling of satiety for longer. This makes consuming them a benefit for those counting calories.
It has something for everyone
The Middle Eastern diet is wide; from mutton to beef, vegetables and flat breads, it can be enjoyed by people with different dietary restrictions. There is something to find for vegans, vegetarians and meat lovers on a Middle Eastern menu.
As a plus, this versatility extends to the food’s ability to pair well with other cuisines and give rise to whole new dishes. Consider the Shawarma poutine.
Lean meat is used
Another of the health benefits of Middle Eastern food is the use of lean meats. They are high in protein but low in fat content. Chances are that the meat you see in your shawarma is lean. If you order chicken, you’ll notice that the skin is removed.
If you want a tasty meal that is great for your body too-and who doesn’t want that-think of Middle Eastern food. The health benefits of Middle Eastern food can in a single meal be; healthier fats, nuts and seeds that can offer a sustained release of energy, fresh vegetables and proteins.