If you have never visited Israel before, then you may be wondering what the diet may be like. However, with just a quick walk through any of Israel’s markets, you will very quickly grasp an understanding of what the diet in this region can consist of. For example, in most cases, you will see a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that are available for sale. You may not have known this, but Israel doesn’t import its produce for consumption since it relies on its domestic farming and agricultural industries. However, with deserts taking up more than half of its land area, Israel’s geography is not naturally conducive for agriculture. In addition, its climate and lack of rainfall annually and water resources also contribute in making it not favorable for farming. Despite these very tough agricultural conditions in Israel, Israel is still a major exporter of fresh produce and is also considered to a leader in the agricultural technologies and software industries. Agriculture represents around two and a half percent of Israel’s GDP and around three and a half percent of its exports.
Israel is a Mediterranean country, which naturally means that it implements the core principles of the worldwide acclaimed Mediterranean diet, which is often called the healthiest diet in the world by several experts. Of course, Israeli food is a little bit different from other Mediterranean countries, but they still share several characteristics. The Mediterranean diet consists primarily of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, legumes, and olive oil. Products such as eggs, dairy, and meat, are also consumed but not as much in comparison with other Western countries. All of these food products are also produced domestically in Israel. For example, Israel grows a wide variety of different agricultural products such as flowers (ex. roses and the wax flower), fruits and vegetables (ex. citrus fruits), fishing, livestock, and crops. The majority of saltwater fishing takes place in the Mediterranean Sea, while most of the freshwater fishing takes place on Lake Kinneret.
The Mediterranean diet is considered to be a very healthy diet because of the high antioxidant count that is found in its food. This diet is also high in two types of healthy fat: omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fat. Green vegetables and berries can also help protect individuals against neurodegeneration, which is a crucial characteristic of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to be vital to the brain and cognitive ability. Diets deficient in DHA, a type of omega-3, are associated with learning and memory deficits. In older adults, a DHA deficit can make the brain smaller, which has been found to be a sign of accelerated aging. Of course, kosher products are a very big hit in Israel, and so has the kosher food delivery industry. Israel’s well-rounded diet does not really consist of processed foods, which have been found repeatedly to have terrible effects on people’s health and well-being if consumed excessively and over an extended period of time. Organic produce has also been found to be steadily on the rise in Israel and is accounting for roughly thirteen percent of Israel’s agricultural exports. Organic food has had very strong growth internationally over the past decade as people are becoming more and more conscious of what they eat and how they eat.
All in all, Israel’s diet is very healthy, especially in comparison with other nations in the Western world. No, it may not be perfect, but it certainly has its strengths and is something many people from around the world can learn from.