Here in Turkey, we enjoy a typical Mediterranean diet
First of all, let us explore what is a Typical Mediterranean Diet?
Well, the answer varies between countries such as Spain, Italy and Turkey and also regions within these countries. There are however ingredients common to each that enjoys a Mediterranean Diet:
Seasonal fresh vegetables
Seasonal fresh fruit
A wide variety of beans, pulses & whole grains
High amounts of fish & low amounts of red meat
High amounts of olive oil an unsaturated fat
A typical Mediterranean Diet has proven health benefits that include:
Reduce cancer levels – high levels of antioxidants, fibre and essential fatty acids are some of the reasons for this.
Reduce cholesterol levels – helping to keep your heart healthy.
Reduces your chances of diabetes – due to decreased sugar levels in food.
Extend your lifespan – studies show people who follow a typical Mediterranean diet tend to live longer, healthier lives.
In Turkey we live in the countryside close to the sea. Each small town has a local market once a week. At that market locally grown, fresh, seasonal, produce is sold. Fruit and vegetables such as tomatoes, oranges, lemons, pomegranates onions, olives, lettuces, carrots, spinach and peppers. It is easy to follow a Mediterranean Diet here in Turkey because:
- The fruit and vegetables are fresh & taste great. They are also cheap and plentiful.
- We don’t have easy access to a local shop for unhealthy snacks such as crisps, sweets and chocolate.
- We use Olive Oil in most cooking we do. It is plentiful here, we have our own olive trees.
- Red meat in Turkey is relatively expensive so we eat less of it.
- Fish is often sold at the local markets and so we buy more of it.
Turkish cuisine will also often include beans, pulses and grains in different popular dishes such as soups and casseroles. Recipes get passed down from generation to generation. Local restaurants or ‘Locantas’ serve popular dishes that contain these ingredients and are found all over Turkey, not just the Mediterranean region.
So, whilst we are lucky with the availability of fresh produce, it is still possible to enjoy a Mediterranean Diet in most of the western world.
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