The Ever-Evolving Ethnic Aisle
The benefits of ethnic foods go beyond health and nutrition. Ethnic foods offer a look into diversities and expand appreciation towards other cultures. Let your taste buds travel with these ethnic flavors!
Ever notice yourself passing by all those unfamiliar foods in aisles three and four? Filled with various spices, seasonings, and tastes, there are tremendous benefits of ethnic foods. So next time you find yourself at the grocery store, stop and explore the ever evolving ethnic aisle.
Breaking Down the Ethnic Aisle
When you walk down the store aisle, you may notice the benefits of ethnic foods goes beyond health and nutrition. Ethnic foods offer a look into diversities and expand appreciation towards other cultures. Travel to these ethnic flavors just by stepping into your nearest grocery store!
Spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, ravioli, and Italian bread... If you read that and thought, "No way that can fit into my diet!" ...Think again. Although pastas often have a bad reputation when it comes to health and weight loss, enjoying an Italian meal does not have to feel like a setback. Italian dinners are generally consumed at a leisurely pace, which can help improve digestion. Tomatoes, olive oil, and fresh herbs including oregano, parsley, and basil provide the dish with flavor and nutrients. If at all possible, try to avoid gooey cheeses atop of pizza and in lasagna. Stick to serving sizes if indulging in such dishes.
Like Italian foods, Americans are quite familiar with Mexican food items. Although Mexican foods (generally found at Mexican restaurants) are often filled with fat and sodium, the use of fresh ingredients creates nutritious Mexican meals. Ditch the fryer and aim for lean beef and chicken, vibrant peppers and onions, and low sodium or homemade salsa.
Traditional Greek food is highly abundant in nutrients and similar to the Mediterranean diet. Greek food is filled with fresh produce, lean meats and fish, beans, and healthy oils. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and olive oil provide anti-inflammatory effects. The fiber content from produce and beans along with omega-3's also promotes heart health.
Japanese foods go beyond a sushi roll found in the already prepared section. Explore some of the ingredients Japanese cuisine has to offer - seaweed, miso, edamame, tofu, bok choy, and shiitake mushrooms. Japanese dishes offer tremendous amounts of protein from lean meats or plant-based, soybean products.
Curries and other Indian foods are not only filled with bold flavors, but numerous health benefits. Turmeric, a main ingredient in curry, has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce infection and inflammation. When choosing curries, try to stray away from curries prepared with heavy cream and butter. Choose lentils, leafy greens, and lean meats over deep-fried chicken dishes.
Shimmy away from fried rangoons, spring and vegetable rolls, and breaded chicken and shrimp and embrace the rich flavors of Thai soups and rice dishes. The spicy foods of Thai culture are extremely helpful to health, rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may combat chronic disease.
How to Shop Healthy
Choosing nutritious ethnic foods is similar to picking foods in other aisles. When choosing foods, it is generally recommended to stray away from foods with unfamiliar ingredients. But when it comes to ethnic foods, several of the ingredients may seem unrecognizable. Instead of missing out on unique foods, utilize the nutrition facts label. Look for items low in added sugar and saturated and trans fats. Enjoy the foods and flavors this world has to offer!