Seafood, white meat, lean meat, healthy diet, poultry, molluscs, less frequent consumption
Shellfish, also called the fruit of the sea, are invertebrate aquatic animals, edible and with an exoskeleton. There are crustaceans (they have a carcass) and mollusks, with or without shell.
Shrimps, prawns, octopus, cuttlefishes, squids, clam chowder, oysters and mussels are the most eaten in the whole of Europe and they are easy to buy in the markets. You can buy them fresh or refrigerated but also cooked, frozen and canned, ready to eat dishes to be heated or just give them the last touch in the kitchen.
However, our Mediterranean diet also offers us the opportunity to eat white meat, which is low in fat and makes it very healthy for our organism. They are called “white meat” because of the low level of hemoglobin in the blood.
White meat comprises rabbit meat, domestic poultry, not wild poultry, and lean pork. Short age mammals like milk-fed veal, suckling pigs and lambs can be considered within this category since they have only eaten mother´s milk. In Spain, the dish made from suckling lamb that is, using meat from unweaned lambs, is called “lechazo”.
Farm poultry, from the family of the gallinaceous poultry, are many and varied. They offer us a wide pallet of culinary possibilities. They can be roasted, fried, sauté, grilled and boiled in soups or stews.
The most representative species are hens, poularde, chicken, ostrich and turkey.
Lean pork is considered white meat due to its low fat, particularly so the loin and tenderloin.
Despite its high level of hemoglobin, we can also consider within this category beef stifle, rump or beef tenderloin.
According to the Mediterranean Diet Foundation, it is recommended to eat shellfish and white meat twice or three times per week because they provide us with the essential nutrients for a balanced diet.
Eating shellfish and white meat in a moderate way strengthens our immunological system and there are many benefits consuming them. They are a fundamental source of high-quality proteins, and they provide many other nutrients.
Shellfish is the main source of iodine, and it prevents diseases like hyperthyroidism.
Clams, chowder, and mussels have a high content of iron, which prevents or reduces anemia. Furthermore, shellfish contains tryptophan, which helps to keep your spirit high.
White meat is rich in unsaturated lipids that helps digestion.
Both shellfish and white meat provide us with nutrients like vitamins, which are substances that our body needs to grow and develop. Vitamin B3 helps our digestive system to work, our skin, and our nerves. B12, which is easily found in shellfish like mussels, fights tiredness and fatigue and at the same time, eliminates toxic waste of our organism. B6 activates our nervous system and produces antibodies that fight infections and boosts muscular performance. It also provides us with potassium, needed for the contraction of our muscles, and zinc, an antioxidant.
Oysters, scallops (coquilles de Saint Louis) and mussels from France.
Octopus and clams from Italy.
Grey shrimps (Purus) from Flanders. Oysters from Oostende (oostendaise). Mussels from the North Sea are popular all over Belgium.
Rhine style mussels in Germany.
Greece is famous for its squids.
The edible crab from Ireland or the oysters from Hillsborough, Clarenbridge or Galway, also in Ireland.
Hen of Bresse. Lyon. France.
The black turkey from Gers, Occitania, France. The male is better for stews and the female, with a more subtle taste, for roasting. They are free bred animals.
Mont Royal pigeon, which comes from de Tarn department, Toulouse, France.
Old grey Spanish rabbit. Galicia, Asturias, Aragon and Castile and Leon.
Duroc pig, from the USA, present all over Europe.
Pig from Alentejo, Portugal.
Although certain species shellfish species like the lobster, clawed lobster, Dublin Bay prawn or barnacles are quite expensive, there is a huge variety of these products so that they are available to the broad public. It is advisable to respect seasonality of each species and close season.
Its origin must be controlled since certain bivalve mollusks could contains toxins that must be filtered.
There are also people intolerant to certain allergens contained in shellfish and that affect the immune system.
Eating too much White meat can cause cholesterol, above all low intensity lipoproteins so that a moderate consumption of rations of about 150 net grams is advisable
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