Valencian Paella: The Noble Representative of the Mediterranean Diet (Part 2)

January 2, 2012

in Nutrition

In our previous article titled “Valencian Paella: The Noble Representative of the Mediterranean Diet. (Part 1)” we have been reviewing some accepted key features of the Mediterranean diet, and how they match with the ingredients used in authentic Valencia paella.

1. Moderate amounts of olive oil - consumed with fresh vegetables and on salads.
2. Small portions of lean meat with no visible fat.
3. High consumption of legumesvegetables and fruits.
4. High intake of antioxidants.
5. High consumption of breads, pasta, rice, and potatoes.
6. Get regular exercise.

Let’s continue with #4.

4. Antioxidants:

Antioxidants are substances that reduce, neutralize, and prevent the damage done to the body by free radicals.

Our normal metabolic processes generate free radicals every day due to our exposure to the environment, and they can result in damage to the cells of our body. Damages like the deterioration of bone, joints and connective tissue, the wearing out of organs, the decline of the immune system, the irritating advance of the visible signs of aging, and even, to some extent, the aging process itself.

Vegetables, legumes, cereals and olive oil are rich in antioxidants and all of them are present in our favorite recipe. Yes, you guessed it… paella.

5. Rice

The fundamental base ingredient in paella is rice.

The normal quantity used in a recipe per person served is 100 grams uncooked, which represents 170 Kcal.

Rice is a food type that is naturally very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Folic acid, Manganese and other minerals such as Phosphorus, Potassium, Iron and Calcium.

The following rice nutrition data gives an idea about the basic nutritional value of rice:

For 1/4 Cup of Raw White Rice:

Calories (kcal): 169

Carbohydrates(g): 36.98

Fat (g): 0.31

Fiber(g): 0.60

Protein (g): 3.30

(Source: USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference)

Nutritional Benefits of Rice.

Excellent source of carbohydrates.

Rice is a great source of complex carbohydrates, which is an important source of the fuel our bodies need.

Good energy source.

Carbohydrates break down to glucose, most of which is used for energy for exercise and as essential fuel for the brain.

Low fat, Low salt, No cholesterol.

Rice is healthy because of what it does not contain. Rice has no fat, no cholesterol and is sodium free. Rice is an excellent food to include in a balanced diet.

A good source of vitamins and minerals such as Thiamine, Niacin, Iron, Riboflavin, vitamin D, and Calcium.

Low sugar.

Gluten free.

Rice contains no gluten, making rice the essential choice for people with gluten free dietary requirements.

No additives and preservatives.

Rice contains no additives or preservatives, making it an excellent inclusion in a healthy and balanced diet.

Contains resistant starch.

Rice also contains resistant starch, which is undigested starch that reaches the bowel. This encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria, keeping the bowel healthy.

Non-allergenic.

Cancer prevention and diet.

Whole grains (such as brown rice) contain high amounts of insoluble fiber-the fiber some scientists believe may help protect against a variety of cancers.

Low Sodium

Rice is a low-sodium food for those with hypertension.

It is a good source of protein containing eight essential amino acids.

Source: Rice-trade.com Site

6. Exercise

Exercise is part of a healthy life and it should complement any healthy diet. After exercise, what can be healthier than sharing an outdoor gathering with our friends cooking this healthy and delightful recipe?

As Eve Adamson (co-author of Mediterranean Women Stay Slim) says,

When Americans think of a ‘diet’, they tend to think deprivation. That means no carbs, no fat, no sugar, no meat — diets are all about forbidding particular foods. The Mediterranean diet is different. Instead of focusing on what you can’t have, it focuses on what you can have — the very best, freshest, healthiest foods.

Our authentic Valencia paella meets all these benefits.

Isn’t it worth a try?

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