The Mediterranean diet is a proven heart-healthy, overall good-for-you way to eat, with studies supporting plant-filled plates with healthy fats from olive oil, nuts and avocado, and limited animal protein. This diet has shown to help reduce inflammation, lower blood sugar and decrease the likelihood of cardiovascular disease. And, a go-to restaurant to find a menu full of Mediterranean options — including vegan, paleo and keto choices — is Aladdin’s in Oberlin.
“Our cuisine focuses on foods enhanced with herbs to offer a complex taste without using heavy sauces,” explains Sophie Cavanaugh, general manager.
Aladdin’s is featuring a menu highlighting its paleo and keto dishes for guests, Cavanaugh adds. “It’s easy to eat healthy at this restaurant because of the cultural foods we serve,” she says of the Lebanese fare. From a full smoothie menu and teas to savory wraps and greens dressed in marinades, there’s a health food for every palate. Here, Cavanaugh highlights three menu selections and explains the health benefits they offer.
“We have a trusted recipe that has won numerous awards, and this high-protein snack food made from chickpeas is a great, healthy staple,” Cavanaugh says. Aladdin’s creamy hummus made from pureed chickpeas, tahini and lemon juice is drizzled with heart-healthy extra virgin olive oil.
Body Benefits: Plant-based protein from chickpeas fuels the body with energy and prevents inflammation, plus chickpeas are high in fiber to promote healthy digestion. Olive oil and tahini, made from sesame seeds, also fight inflammation. Overall, hummus contains iron, folate, phosphorus and B vitamins.
The base of this dish is brown rice and steamed lentils, and it is topped with Lebanese Salata and crispy fried onions. Greens include chopped tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper, scallion and parsley tossed with an extra virgin olive oil marinate infused with herbs and lemon juice.
Body Benefits: Lentils, a legume, and brown rice are a powerful duo delivering dietary fiber that improves digestion and sustains blood sugar levels. They also help reduce cholesterol. Tomatoes in the Salata are rich in the antioxidant lycopene, which can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Cucumbers contain antioxidants, too, and they promote hydration. Salad greens, overall, are rich in vitamin C and E, folic acid, and alpha- and beta-carotene — all antioxidants.
Carrot Apple Smoothie
Carrots are blended with apple, celery, spinach and parsley into a delicious juice.
Body Benefits: This smoothie is rich in zinc and cobalt. Zinc helps regulate the immune system and plays a role in wound healing. It has been shown to decrease the risk of chronic disease, and it’s good for your mind as it promotes learning and memory function. As for cobalt, it helps the body absorb vitamin B12, and it helps repair myelin, which surrounds and protects nerve cells.