Why Caribbean food should be part of a heart-healthy diet

23 Aug
Jerk spices packaged in jars

Image via Wikipedia

Enjoying the flavors of the Caribbean doesn’t require a trip to the islands, but it may be one of the smartest health choices you can make.  Caribbean recipes feature many items that are known to have nutritional and health benefits, and there is no shortage of flavors in this food!

Thanks to internet retailers, buying Caribbean groceries online makes it easy to recreate the delicious cultural mix that makes island food so delicious.

Some people may have heard of the DASH diet (dietary approaches to stop hypertension), which is full of beans, fish, vegetables, and fruit.  Fish is well known for it’s ability to protect against heart disease by providing a natural source of omega-3 fatty acids.  Many Caribbean recipes such as escovitch, fritters and soup feature fish, which is abundant in island nations.  Beans are another food with important health benefits- varieties such as gungo, kidney and blackeye have been shown to reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and even lower blood sugar in diabetics.  Caribbean recipes are also well known for the rich, spicy flavors that people love, but did you know that spicy food can actually improve your metabolism and suppress your appetite?  Do a quick search for Caribbean food online and you will see that many dishes are spicy and feature fish, vegetables, and fruit that all offer numerous health benefits.

When shopping for Caribbean  groceries, you will see that there are many places that offer fruits and vegetables in various forms that are made for use in Caribbean recipes.  West Indian groceries are full of health benefits- for example, a single guava fruit is lower in calories than an apple but is packed with vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.  Another fruit that you will run across when shopping for Caribbean groceries online is the mango.

Popular in a number of Caribbean recipes, mangoes provide vitamin A, iron, and calcium.

The history of Caribbean recipes is as diverse as the culture of these islands.  The original tribes that inhabited the islands, the Arawaks and Carib, ate diets rich in locally caught fish, native fruits, and vegetables.  When European travelers and slaves from West Africa reached the islands, they brought with them wheat, onions, garlic, beef, okra, callaloo, and mangoes, among other foods.  When you read about Caribbean food online, you will see that it is made with strong influences from all of these cultures.  The good thing for those hoping to try a Caribbean diet is that many West Indian groceries can now be purchased online from stores such as Tee’s Caribbean recipe kits.

When you buy Caribbean groceries online, spices and sauces are the most important things to look for.  You will want to look for curry powder, pimento, ginger, cinnamon, annatto, jerk sauce and flavorsome marinades.  You will also want to read about Caribbean cooking techniques, which are a mixture of cultural influences just like the food.

So now you know how healthy Caribbean food is, what tasty dishes will you be cooking in your kitchen???

Editor Rohan – West Indian groceries online


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