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3 Things You Should Know About Mediterranean Cuisine There are many benefits to Mediterranean eating. Compared to other cuisines around the world, Mediterranean cuisine has been identified as one of the healthiest. Mediterranean cuisine, to begin with, is the label used to refer to the culinary culture of the people living around the Mediterranean Sea. This includes North Africa, Southern Europe (Spain, France, Italy), and the Eastern Mediterranean (Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Syria, Cyprus). Many research studies have established a link between Mediterranean eating and better health and longevity. In fact, many years before the influx of fast foods, the life expectancy in this region was very high. People fell sick less often, despite their drinking and smoking habits. Here’s a look at a few of the defining characteristics of Mediterranean cuisine. Diets in the Mediterranean are largely plant-based
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The number one reason Mediterranean diets are healthy is because they’re largely plant-based. The larger proportion of every meals often comprises whole grains, fresh vegetables, and legumes. One could argue that this culture has been sustainable mainly because the favorable climate for agriculture. While there may be variations across the countries, the most commonly used are eggplant, tomatoes, broccoli, okra, mushrooms, squash, artichokes and cucumbers. These vegetable may be prepared by roasting, grilling, baking, or served in fresh salads.
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Seafood and meats Fresh seafood is also regularly included in Mediterranean cuisine. Seafood is often the primary source of protein, alongside legumes. Meat is consumed sparingly, particularly in the upper Mediterranean region. The people of the region are aware of the tastiness of meat, but are careful not to consume too much of it for health reasons. This should not mean that you won’t find meat in a Mediterranean restaurant if you want to try Mediterranean cuisine, or that you have to give up on meat completely. What is means instead is lowering the proportion of meat as the generous seafood and/or legumes serving should be tasty and provide adequate protein. Olive oil and spices Olive oil is the most commonly used oil for cooking, and olives as well are often used to add a rich flavor to food. Oil oil is so much healthier compared to the refined vegetables used to prepare today’s fast foods. Spices of all kinds are used for improving the flavor of food, including oregano, basil, parsley, thyme, coriander, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, saffron and mint. Finally, it is worth noting that the people of the Mediterranean region believe in mealtimes being happy times. Mealtimes are seen as social events, where people gather together to have a good time. As there’s great emphasis on enjoying the food, people will make enough time to savor the food, with meals lasting up to three hours.