If you've ever enjoyed an authentic Moroccan meal, you know it's a feast for the senses and the taste buds, but just how healthy is Moroccan food? Pretty healthy, according to Moroccan World News, which points out that Moroccan foods are prepared using fresh ingredients and whole grains, and many Moroccan dishes use both fruits and vegetables in order to achieve the sweet-savoury balance that is a defining characteristic of the cuisine. Much of its flavours comes from fresh herbs and spices, rather than a reliance on unhealthy cooking methods such as deep-frying. A look at some of the most commonly used ingredients in Moroccan cooking further illustrate its healthful qualities:

Chickpeas

A highly digestible, fiber-filled legume that are also bursting with nutrients and rich in protein, folate (a B vitamin) and minerals such as iron, phosphorus and zinc. These nutrition power-houses are used in tagines, spreads for bread, and a variety of Moroccan soups and stews.

Turmeric and Ginger

A frequently used spice in Moroccan dishes, turmeric is a spice derived from the rhizomes of the turmeric plant, which is a member of the ginger family. Turmeric extracts, which are known to contain anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties, are being researched for their potential effects on diseases such as cancer, and heart disease, among others.

Ginger is another rhizome with medicinal properties that is frequently used in Moroccan cooking. Ginger supplies dietary manganese and adds a warm flavour to tagines and other Moroccan dishes.

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Healthy Oils

In Moroccan kitchens, cooks use only the healthiest oils including extra-virgin olive oil, and culinary Argan oil (the oil Morocco is famous for). These go into raw and cooked salads, as well as with kous kous and tagines, which are slow-cooked in the Moroccan pot of the same name.

Whole Grains

Kous kous is one of the most universally popular Moroccan foods which is frequently served topped with a nutrient rich "seven-vegetable" sauces. Leavened, whole-grain rolls and breads accompany every meal.

Vegetables

No Moroccan meal is complete without fresh vegetables, which are often presented in a vegetable medley salad that's served before most meals. Vegetables are also used in abundance in stews and most meat dishes. Add the chickpeas and you've got meals chock full of fiber and protein.

Dried Fruits

Moroccan cooks use dried fruits such as dates, raisins, apricots and others to sweeten desserts, but they're also used in savoury dishes for a sweet and savoury taste combination.

So, with its combination of whole grains, fresh and dried fruits, vegetables, protein-rich chickpeas, and its customary sweetening with fruit rather than sugar, Moroccan cuisine is one of the healthiest on the planet!

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