Through the years, Mediterranean food has been popular and millions of people had been following the diet regimen for decades. Achieving good health is more likely with the Mediterranean cuisine mainly because it promotes eating healthy plant foods like grains and cereals, fruits and vegetables, legumes, olives, and nuts. Note: Eating meat frequently is not a characteristic of the Mediterranean region. While we’re on the subject of meat, eating chicken in moderation is accepted.
The health benefits we can gain from eating chicken are substantial. The strengthening of our body’s immune system is due to the essential vitamins and nutrients chicken can provide. If you want to lose weight, chicken is a reasonably good substitute for eating pork and beef. Chicken is a high quality, protein rich, lean meat that can be used in our everyday diet. The protein it provides plays an important role in the growth and development of our body.
Chicken is rich in several B Group vitamins. Like vitamins B1, B12, B3, and Vitamin B6. Vitamin B1 or thiamine is responsible for releasing of energy from food like chicken and it can also assist metabolizing carbohydrate. The niacin or Vitamin B3 on the other hand is what our body needs to repair our DNA structure. Those who have a high cholesterol level can benefit with the Vitamin B3 in chicken, as it can help lower the cholesterol level in the body and in boosting energy levels. Vitamin B3 or niacin found in chicken is said to help protect our body against some forms of cancer.
While Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine found in chicken is needed by our body system to help produce enzymes which are needed to boost our immune system, it also directs our metabolic reactions. Vitamin B6 plays a part in the methylation process. It leads to the formation of active molecules important for our body’s well being. If one’s body is deprived of Vitamin B6, tendency is, his or her blood vessels could end up suffering as a result. Vitamin B12 is another essential vitamin that is needed by our body to fight anemia and helps our body produce red blood cells.
Phosphorous is found in chicken. This is one of the minerals our body needs. It also helps in keeping our bones and teeth healthy and it helps make our kidneys, liver, and our central nervous system function well. Another mineral that is found in chicken is the trace mineral selenium which is an important component needed in most major metabolic pathways including our immune system and our anti-oxidant defense system.
Protein found in chicken helps our skin to be healthy and radiant in appearance. Vitamin A found in chicken helps promote good eyesight. The chicken liver is also a rich source of Vitamin A, in the form of retinol and beta-carotene that gives us lycopene.
That said, most of the above B Group nutrients are available in vegetables. So choosing a meal with chicken is more a preference rather than a necessity.
Chicken is a versatile meat product as you can cook it with many cooking methods. For the Mediterranean diet, it is best you cook the chicken by grilling it, steaming it, or pan searing it.
These cooking methods are the fastest and easiest way in cooking chicken and in which most of the nutrients are preserved. By these cooking methods, you are ensured that you have a very nutritious and yes, a scrumptious meal.
**Deep-frying is out of the question.
Note: The skin of chicken is high in cholesterol and should be removed. Avoid battery chickens and seek out grain fed, free range chickens as a preference.
Chicken should also be served with fresh garden produce or your favourite vegetables. Lastly, eat your chicken meal with a glass of dry white wine for a satisfying accompaniment. Observe the recommended serving of chicken in your weekly diet if you are on the Mediterranean diet plan.
I hope this was useful.