Seafood - An Integral Part of the Healthy Mediterranean Diet
In the 90s, the Mediterranean diet first captured the American public's attention. We wondered why people in Mediterranean countries had lower cancer rates and healthier lifestyles than we did. Researchers found, though not indisputably, that there was a link between this olive oil-heavy diet of seafood and health. The Mediterranean diet has been found to contribute to lower rates of: multiple cancers, heart disease, type-2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's, among others.
In actuality, the diet we consider "Mediterranean" refers not to the whole geographical area, rather to coastal Greece, Crete and southern Italy of the 1960s. While those areas still eat in a similar fashion, our concept of the diet is based on what the poorer people of that particular era ate. The diet consisted of heavy amounts of olive oil, fruits, vegetables, fish, legumes, nuts and whole grains. It also contained moderate amounts of cheese, yogurt, poultry and wine.
The best way to see if the Mediterranean diet will work for you is to give a dish a try. One thing is for sure: It will beat the heck out of another night of take-out or fast food. Obviously, getting enough fruits and vegetables is always important. However, give this recipe a try so that you can experience the correlation between olive oil, seafood and health.
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion (or 2 small), thinly sliced
4 tbsp. dry white wine
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups diced tomatoes (canned is easiest)
8 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. orange zest (fresh)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 lb. thick-cut Mahi-Mahi fillets
Place the olive oil in a non-stick pan on medium-high heat. Lightly brown the sliced onion(s), which should take about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and white wine. Allow to simmer for 30 seconds. Add olives, oregano, tomatoes and orange zest. Add ¼ tsp. of salt and pepper (specified amount or to taste).
Season the Mahi-Mahi with the remaining ¼ tsp. of salt and pepper. Place the fish in a regular-sized baking dish. Coat the fish with the mixture from the pan. Bake for about 10 to 20 minutes, until the fish is just cooked through. Be careful not to overcook.
As you can see, it's not hard to eat healthy. You don't even have to adhere to the Mediterranean diet, but it wouldn't hurt to have a Mediterranean-style meal every now and then. Take advantage of the great flavors and the relationship between seafood and health.