by Mira Smith
Are you looking for some new dishes to try without gaining weight or experiencing any unwanted negative side-effects of unhealthy eating? Well, you might want to check out what Lebanese cuisine has to offer. Besides being super delicious and versatile, it also has many beneficial effects on human health, so make sure to add some Lebanese taste to your cooking. Still not convinced? Here are some interesting facts to get you hooked on Lebanese food.
It contains a lot of healthy fats
You might think that a lot of fat in your diet is automatically a bad thing, but it’s not. Olive oil is the heart and soul of Lebanese cuisine, yet it’s such a healthy fat for your heart, skin and hair. Butter and margarine are used very rarely in Middle Eastern cooking while most foods are sautéd or coated in extra virgin olive oil. Many iconic Lebanese dishes like baba gannouj, kibbeh and hummus can’t even be imagined without some olive oil. Other healthy fats you can get from eating nuts, especially pistachios, pine nuts and almonds, and seeds (sesame is especially popular).
It’s filled with fresh vegetables and fruits
Lebanese cuisine is known for stuffed vegetables, like many other Mediterranean cuisines. There are delicious stuffed grape leaves, cabbage leaves and koosa (summer squash) on the menu throughout the country. But, the stars of many Lebanese meals are the salads. They are usually very fresh, flavorful and very crunchy. Places like Barzaari perfected their salads and sides, so now you can enjoy fresh Mother in Law salad with cabbage and freekeh salad with almonds and feta cheese. All the ingredients are incredibly fresh and handled with care so that they still contain all the healthy goodies and flavors! And many Lebanese people can’t go a day without enjoying some fresh fruit, especially citrus. Lemon is especially popular because it’s often used in salad dressings, meat marinades and desserts.
It contains a lot of whole grains
Whole grains means fiber and fiber is amazing for your metabolism. From bulgur pilafs to freekeh salads, Lebanese people are magicians with grains. You’ll forget all about over-processed bread we westerners usually eat that do nothing for our bodies except make us gain weight.
It’s flavored with plenty of spices and herbs
Cooking with fresh ingredients like veggies and lean meats is not easy. If you want to have a delicious meal full of flavor, you need to know plenty about spices and herbs. Forget all about pumping your dishes with fat and salt in order for it to taste great—just think mint, parsley, cilantro, cinnamon, za’atar, sumac and many others. All the taste of delicious Lebanese dishes comes from not only carefully-selected ingredients but also from herbs and spices that perfectly complement them. While many western cuisines prefer to insert flavor with heavy sauces, Middle Easterners choose much healthier spices instead of saturated fats and sugars. This makes Lebanese cuisine much healthier for your digestive system and great for your immunity.
It uses lean meat and fish
Lebanese cuisine is not all about grains and veggies. While not consumed as often, meat, especially lamb and fish, is beloved among Lebanese people. Since the meat is very lean, it contains a lot of protein yet is low in harmful fats. Fish is also very present in Lebanese cooking. If you haven’t tried their snapper with tahini or their white fish crusted in pistachios you haven’t really lived.
So, if you’re ready to experiment with your food choices but don’t want to jeopardize your healthy and clean lifestyle, make sure to find a good Lebanese restaurant and go through their menu. You’ll find so many amazing new meals that will blow you away with their taste and nutritive content that will do miracles for your metabolism.