Top 5 Healthy Mezze in Lebanese Restaurants!
Contributor: Nadiya Ibrahim
Lebanese Mezze is a collection of dishes that are not only tasty but also excellent choices for those looking for healthy food options. The handful of wholly vegetarian dishes prepared from locally produced fresh ingredients with minimal processing and cooking, sparkled with carefully selected local herbs, spices and other condiments make it hard for any other cuisine to have a healthier appeal. Topping the dishes with a magical ingredient, olive oil, can do wonders in lowering cholesterol, controlling blood sugar levels and boosting overall heart health. The relatively limited consumption of red meat and starch, the high consumption of fiber rich foods and the extensive use of lemon juice all make the Lebanese Mezze a highly appreciated cuisine by food lovers.
We propose to you a list of the top 5 Lebanese Mezze dishes in terms of health benefits:
Parsley, the main ingredient in Tabbouleh, is a very rich source of vitamin K essential for bone health, and of fibers which are good for the overall cardiovascular health. Parsley aids in digestion and is extremely high in antioxidants which can prevent some types of cancer and protect the heart health. Lemon juice, generously added to this dish, boosts the immunity by providing vitamin C; and olive oil, with all its health benefits, is also an ingredient of this amazing dish!
#4: Greens (such as in rocca / arugula salad, dandelion and chard etc.)
Greens are a source of incredible amounts of vitamin K, fibers and anti-oxidants. Vitamin K is critical in preventing certain age-related conditions. Greens can lower cholesterol, preserve vision health and are also sources of B vitamins such as vitamin B5 good for cardiovascular health. The Lebanese Rocca salad is usually served with walnuts and pomegranate seeds both are a great source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids and anti-oxidants consecutively. Dandelion is seasoned with lemon juice, olive oil and garlic; and chard leaves are usually stuffed with rice and vegetables.
Chickpeas are high in protein and starch. Chickpeas are folate rich which makes them especially good for pregnant women. They are a vegetarian source of iron and are also rich in fiber. Tahini, a second ingredient in hummus mutabbal, is made from sesame seeds rich in protein and omega-6 fatty acids good for the heart health. Tahini is also a good source of copper, methionine, calcium and manganese.
#2: Beans (Balila, Fasolia Mutabbaleh etc.)
Beans are used in an array of Lebanese dishes. They can aid in weight loss because they give a feeling of satiety over long periods, and they may decrease the risk of heart diseases, colorectal cancer and diabetes due to their richness in antioxidants and fibers. Beans are good sources of protein and B vitamins. They are also a good vegetarian source of iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc.
#1: Grilled fish
Fish, high in protein and low in fat, is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids which help maintain heart health. Fish are also rich in iodine, vitamin D and various other vitamins and minerals such as Zinc and phosphorus. Enjoy a grilled fish with a dash of lemon juice or with tahini sauce!