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3 Things You Should Know About Mediterranean Cuisine

There are quite a number of benefits to eating Mediterranean food. Compared to many diets around the world, Mediterranean cuisine has been identified as one of the most healthful. 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. The life expectancy in the region was in fact quite high many years before fast foods began to make their way into the region. People fell sick less often, despite their drinking and smoking habits. Let’s have a look a few of the distinctive characteristics of Mediterranean cuisine:

Mediterranean diets are largely plant-based
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Mediterranean food is healthy mainly because it’s plant-based. The larger part of the meal is often composed of fresh vegetables, whole grains and legumes. One could argue that this culture has been sustainable mainly because the favorable climate for agriculture. Though the vegetables used could vary across the countries, the most common are eggplant, broccoli, mushrooms, artichokes, squash, cucumber and okra. These vegetables may be used in fresh salads, or prepared by baking, grilling, or roasting.
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Seafood and meats

Fresh seafood is also regularly included in Mediterranean cuisine. Together with legumes, seafood is usually the main protein source. Meat is consumed sparingly, especially in the upper regions of the Mediterranean. 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. Instead, you only need to reduce the proportions of meat, as the generous servings of fish and legumes are both tasty and rich in protein.

Spices and olive oil

Olive oil is the dominant oil used for cooking, and olives themselves are widely used to add a rich flavor to the food. Oil oil is so much healthier compared to the refined vegetables used to prepare today’s fast foods. All kinds of spices are used to enhance flavor, including parsley, thyme, garlic, coriander, oregano, basil, mint, saffron, cumin, cloves and cinnamon.

Finally, it is worth noting that the people of the Mediterranean region believe in mealtimes being happy times. Every meal is treated as a social event where people get together and 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.

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