When you vacation in Barcelona, you’ll no doubt be visiting attractions like Placa Reial, Montjuic and Las Ramblas to soak in the city’s rich culture. That being said, one of the best ways to get to know a city is by sampling the food it has to offer—and Barcelona has no shortage of scrumptious dishes to try out.
Here’s the catch though: trying new food can expand not only your palate but your waistline as well. Fortunately, Spain is known for having one of the healthiest cuisines in the world, and a prime example of this is its much-beloved tapas. What makes them healthy? This article from WebMD.com gives an explanation:
“Smaller plates have evolved in different cultures through the years for many reasons,” says Timothy S. Harlan, MD, who is the well-known “Dr. Gourmet” chef and author of several cookbooks, including It’s Heartly Fare. “The most well-known of these dishes might be tapas, which are said to have originated as a slice of complementary ham placed atop a wine glass by bar owners…
“There are a myriad of recipes that use fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and anchovies. While these are higher in fat, they do contain high amounts of the good omega-3 fats, which have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.”
Nuts and olives containing healthy fats also predominate in Spanish cuisine, he notes. Likewise, olive oil is the primary fat used for cooking and marinating.
“The benefits of monounsaturated fats have been well established in a healthy diet,” he says.
Aside from using healthful ingredients, tapas come in bite-sized portions too—a technique that will help you avoid putting on the pounds. Research has proven that eating smaller, more frequent meals has many benefits to offer. For one, it gives your stomach ample time to digest food, which in turn gives you the energy you need to explore all of Barcelona’s attractions. It helps regulate insulin as well, one of the hormones that convert food into energy and stores it for future use. Lastly, it can increase your metabolism, helping you stay active for longer.
It’s also comforting to know that many Barcelona tapas restaurants strive to make their offerings healthier. Ziryab, for example, infuses traditional recipes with a Middle Eastern flair to create tasty, but guilt-free, tapas like pan con tomato and patatas brava.
As you can see, eating tapas in Barcelona is not only a great way to mingle with the locals and appreciate the area’s cuisine, it makes for healthy eating as well. As such, you can focus your attention on planning your next destination, instead of counting calories.
(Source: Little Dishes, Big Health Benefits, WebMD.com)