RESEARCH has long shown that a Mediterranean diet filled with fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish and vegetable oils provides superior health benefits to the typical Western diet.
Recent studies by a team of researchers at Almeria University have even linked gazpacho and salmorejo, Andalucian tapa staples, to helping prevent the development of colorectal cancer.
The refreshing summer soup is just one of several tapas whose ingredients are thought to help combat certain kinds of the disease. Here are some more ideas to round out the perfect tapas order for your next Friday night dinner.
It turns out that the key component of Spain’s popular tinto de verano, aside from providing a refreshing reprieve from the summer sun, is also an effective way to deter disease. Studies indicate that resveratrol, the chemical compound naturally occurring in grapes and red wine, may help strengthen our body’s ability to stave off cancer. Though best enjoyed in moderation, it doesn’t hurt to loosen up every once in a while as decreased stress also betters the chances of prevention.
A common pre-tapas snack to whet the appetite, olives provide an excellent source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents that help to prevent cancer, especially breast cancer. The perfect accompaniment to bread and tapas, olive oil is also easily found in most Spanish foods, making this healthy food a no-brainer addition to your diet.
Anchovies not only bring a little bit of the Spanish coastline to any tapas dish, but this fatty fish has also been linked with a lower risk of certain strains of cancer. Packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, iron, and protein, they’re a source of lean protein that come with countless health benefits.
Tomatoes contain an important antioxidant, known as lycopene, that is well-known as a cancer prevention agent. Lycopene is said to be vital in fighting off prostate and lung cancer, and, luckily for us, happens to be a part of one of the most classic tapa dishes.
Oranges have long been regarded as one of the best fruits for health. Used as a spread for cheese, in Sevillan orange marmalade, and in fresh fruit drinks, oranges and orange products can help to reduce the risk of childhood leukemia and other forms of cancer while helping you cool off after a long day.
Tender and crispy all at once, the grilled octopus is a can’t-miss in any tapas bar. This octopod delicacy is drenched in good omega-3 polyunsaturated fats, which are key in promoting a healthy heart. This low-calorie, high-protein cephalopod also boasts an incredible amount of B-vitamins–all pluses in the fight to prevent cancer.
The backbone to the famous Mediterranan diet, chickpeas contain an important mineral that helps the liver eject cancerous properties from the body. Chickpeas are also high in fiber, making them useful in preventing colorectal cancers. In addition, their high content of Vitamin C serves as an antioxidant, again assisting the body in warding off certain cancers.