Portland is great town for foodies, with a full array of delicious restaurants. And with so many choices come a variety of cuisines to choose from. So what are the healthiest cuisines?
According to CNN.com enjoying global cuisines in their purest state you get meals that are light, nutritious, and incredibly yummy; experts say these are the healthiest cuisines.
- Greek– There’s a good reason docs love the Mediterranean diet: Traditional Greek foods like dark leafy veggies, fresh fruit, high-fiber beans, lentils, grains, olive oil, and omega-3-rich fish deliver lots of immune-boosting and cancer-fighting ingredients that cut your risks of heart disease, diabetes, and other diet-related ailments.
- California Fresh– California Fresh is all about enjoying seasonal, local foods that are simply prepared — and that’s a healthy style you can adopt no matter where you live. Eating plenty of disease-fighting, naturally low-cal, nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables from a local farmers’ market or farm is good for your body.
- Vietnamese– Fresh herbs, lots of vegetables and seafood, and cooking techniques that use water or broth instead of oils — these are some of the standout qualities of Vietnamese food. Traditional Vietnamese flavorings (including cilantro, mint, Thai basil, star anise, and red chili) have long been used as alternative remedies for all sorts of ailments, and cilantro and anise have actually been shown to aid digestion and fight disease-causing inflammation.
- Japanese– A diet rich in cancer-fighting fruits and vegetables, but they also prepare them in the healthiest way possible, with a light steam or a quick stir-fry. They also practice Hara Hachi Bu, which means “eat until you are eight parts (or 80 percent) full. Japanese staples that are amazing for your health include antioxidant-rich yams and green tea; cruciferous, calcium-rich veggies like bok choy; iodine-rich seaweed (good for your thyroid); omega-3-rich seafood; shiitake mushrooms (a source of iron, potassium, zinc, copper, and folate); and whole-soy foods.
- Indian– These distinctive flavors do more than perk up your favorite curry: They may actually protect against some cancers. And turmeric and ginger help fight Alzheimer’s, according to recent studies. Turmeric, a main ingredient in curry, may have anti-inflammatory and healing properties; its benefits are now being studied at the University of California at Los Angeles. Other good-news ingredients in Indian cuisine include yogurt and lentils, a fiber-and-RS all-star that has significant amounts of folate and magnesium, and may help stabilize blood sugar.
- Italian– The Italian tradition of enjoying a leisurely meal is good for digestion. But what really makes this cuisine a winner is its star ingredients: tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, oregano, parsley, and basil. One of the best ways to get cancer-fighting lycopene is in cooked tomato products: a half-cup of tomato sauce has more than 20 milligrams. Plus, garlic and traditional Italian herbs provide vitamins A and C. And olive oil helps lower cholesterol, fight heart disease, and burn belly fat.
- Spanish– The Spanish eat tons of fresh seafood, vegetables, and olive oil — all rock stars when it comes to your weight and well-being. Superhealthy dishes to order: gazpacho (full of cancer-fighting lycopene and antioxidants) and paella (rich in fresh seafood, rice, and veggies).
- Mexican– Forget those high-fat, calorie-stuffed options at many popular Mexican restaurants: Authentic Mexican cuisine can be heart-healthy and even slimming. In fact, a Mexican diet of beans, soups, and tomato-based sauces helped lower women’s risk of breast cancer, a study from the University of Utah found. And the cuisine’s emphasis on slowly digested foods like beans and fresh ground corn may provide protection from type 2 diabetes.
- South American– With 12 countries within its borders, South America has a very diverse culinary repertoire. But the continent’s traditional diet of fresh fruits and vegetables (including legumes) along with high-protein grains like quinoa. In fact, a typical South American meal of rice and beans creates a perfect protein, Largeman-Roth says. While some parts of South America are famous for their huge steaks, a healthier option (unless you share the steak with friends) is ceviche. This mélange of fresh seafood boasts a variety of healthful spices and ingredients, from cilantro and chile peppers to tomatoes and onions.
- Thai– Made with shrimp, coriander, lemongrass, ginger, and other herbs and spices used in Thai cooking, Tom Yung Gung soup was found to possess properties 100 times more effective than other antioxidants in inhibiting cancerous-tumor growth. Researchers at Thailand’s Kasetsart University and Japan’s Kyoto and Kinki Universities became interested in the soup’s immune-boosting qualities after noticing that the incidence of digestive tract and other cancers was lower in Thailand than in other countries. Many common Thai spices have feel-great benefits, our judges point out. Ginger aids in digestion, turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, and lemongrass has long been used in Asian medicine to help treat colds and ease tummy troubles.
Even with the eating some of the healthiest cuisines, be sure to make smart decisions about what you order. Steer clear of fatty meats and fried foods, as well as dishes that contain too much butter and cream or are covered in cheese. Also, steer clear of dishes made with coconut milk as it is high in saturated fat, and choose whole grains such as brown rice.