Ah yes, the famed Mediterranean diet. Why do so many people sing this diet praises?
Well, picture this: bright vegetables from the local markets; a mix of fresh herbs like rosemary, basil, and wild marjoram; the blending flavours of pure olive oil, saffron, garlic, olives, and figs with some oven-fresh pita… all coming together in one tasty experience.
The beautiful beaches of the Mediterranean are known for their bright sunshine, blue waters, antique-looking buildings, and lively atmosphere — the legacy of a 2000-year old civilization brought together in a melange of modern bustle and excitement. But there’s more to soak up in the Mediterranean than just the sights.
The Mediterranean diet has been firmly established as one of the healthiest in the world, linked to lowered blood pressure, a reduced risk of type-2 diabetes, maintaining a healthy body weight, and promoting a longer lifespan. The diet includes a lot of vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grain bread and brown rice.
One of the most important parts of this diet is the use of healthy fats. Olive oil, for example, is a monounsaturated fat used daily and in significant amounts across the countries in the Mediterranean region, drizzled generously over salads, into hummus, across pasta, and much more. Healthy polyunsaturated fats are found in the regular use of nuts, seeds, and the oily fish found just as regularly in Mediterranean cuisine.
But the Mediterranean diet isn’t just about plants and seeds!
It also offers a healthy assortment of meat dishes that happen to be packed with delicious flavour and an amazing nutritional profile. Unsurprisingly, lamb is the preferred choice of animal protein in the Mediterranean region. Over the years, they’ve found that lamb elevates the eating experience, adding a flavour enhancement to otherwise plant-based meals and salads.
Lamb has fewer calories and less saturated fat than beef. It’s also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids — the same healthy fats typically found in cold-water fish, proven to reduce inflammation, encourage brain health, prevent heart disease, and even provide protection from cancer.
Lamb is also rich in a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid called oleic acid that reduces blood pressure, prevents ulcerative colitis, alleviates the symptoms of type-2 diabetes and protects cell membranes from free radicals. Oleic acid is also known to help increase the burning of fat and for accelerating the rates of complete fat oxidation in muscle cells.
In addition, lamb is an excellent source of vitamin B12, selenium, vitamin B3, zinc, phosphorus, iron, and CLA. CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid, has been associated with a great number of health benefits, including boosts to the immune system, healthy bone mass, reduced inflammation, healthy bone mass, weight loss, and improved blood sugar regulation.
According to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report, “adherence to a Mediterranean-style dietary pattern would make a significant contribution to increasing food sustainability, as well as increasing the health benefits that are well-documented for this type of diet.”
Following this diet is not only good for you and your body, but it’s projected to help the world itself.
Eaten fire roasted and seasoned with flavourful spices, piled up on a skewer, or served up in a hearty stew — there’s no way you won’t fall in love with the Mediterranean favourite once you’ve had a taste.
In fact, here’s a Greek-style Osso Bucco recipe you can try tonight!
There’s another good reason lamb is one of the go-to meats in the beautiful, white walled kitchens along the Mediterranean Sea: lamb is absolutely delicious!
If you live in Canada and want to give the esteemed Mediterranean diet a shot, opt for some fresh, Canadian lamb. At SunGold Specialty Meats, we operate a federally inspected, HACCP certified, Halal certified, full-service meat processing plant in Innisfail, Alberta. As a world-class meat provider, we specialize in processing lamb and goat, and work hard to provide high-quality products for niche-oriented domestic and international markets.