Given its geographic location, it’s little surprise Israeli food is strongly linked to the so-called Mediterranean diet. Long recommended for its purported nutritional and health benefits, this eating plan is based on foods and recipes endemic to countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. It’s an eating pattern to which Israeli culinary customs largely conform.
Although the Mediterranean diet varies slightly according to national, local and ethnic preferences, its key components are constant. Abounding in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, beans, nuts, along with the use of olive oil (instead of butter or margarine), herbs and spices (instead of salt), it favors fish and poultry over red meat, and moderate consumption of dairy products and red wine. Rich in salads, it includes a low intake of eggs, processed meat and sweets.
Due to research indicating various health benefits derived from a Mediterranean diet, it has become highly popular in North America and Europe over the past 20 years. It’s associated with reduced levels of inflammation, which contributes to heart attacks, strokes and Alzheimer’s disease. It also supposedly helps weight loss, improves control of blood glucose levels and reduces the risk of depression. Some experts say the extensive use of olive oil in the diet is its main driver of better health, including lowering the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and neuro-degeneration.
A recently-published study linked the Mediterranean diet to a lower risk of gallbladder surgery.
Since meeting Galya, I’ve eaten a much more Mediterranean-style diet based on her wonderful Israeli cooking for the past 32+ years. It has contributed immensely to me feeling healthier and learning to better appreciate the value of good, nutritional food.
In 2015, an extensive international study of eating habits in 187 countries found that Israelis have one of the healthiest diets in the world. Results of the research published in The Lancet Global Health Journal ranked the Israeli diet ninth overall in the world.