As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, and enjoy our Christmas feast, it’s worth remembering that the foods Jesus ate were especially healthy, in a timeless way. So this article at Fooducate was one I had to share today.
2000 years ago, in Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem, people lived an agrarian life. During the time of Jesus, food was not easy to come by. Malnutrition was a real and recurring threat. A dry winter meant less food for an entire year. Several years of drought would lead to mass migrations. Despite this, civilizations grew and prospered. Plants, animals, and people adapted. Some of the most exciting chapters in the annals of humanity were written in those days.
So what did Jesus and his peers live off in the ancient land of Israel?
1. Olive oil – Olive trees are very resilient and can survive years of poor water supply while reliably providing a harvest every fall. Some trees live to be hundreds of years old. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats (the good fats). It is also anti-inflammatory and tastes great on a salad. Back then, all olive oil was extra virgin and cold pressed.
2. Wine – Grapes grew in abundance in the foothills of Jerusalem. Fresh grapes have a very short season, which is why wine was invented! When consumed in moderation, red wine may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of good cholesterol and protecting against damage to blood vessels. This is due to antioxidants called resveratrols, present in every sip.
3. Fish – Jesus may have walked on the water, but underneath him the Sea of Galilee (actually, it’s a lake) was teeming with freshwater fish. Fishermen could rely on a relatively stable supply of fish, which are a great source of lean protein, and beneficial omega-3 fats.
4. Pomegranate – Pomegranate trees grow well in Mediterranean climates and produce what is arguably one of the sweetest fresh superfoods of the ancient world. They did not have blueberries or strawberries.
5. Figs – Fig trees tend to grow near water sources, and are hardy enough to withstand blazing summer heat and cold winter nights. The fruit can be eaten fresh or preserved by drying. Dried figs were traveler’s food. In either configuration, figs are rich in virtually every nutrient in the book, including fiber, calcium, vitamin A, and B vitamins. They can also with constipation.
Wishing you a Blessed and Merry Christmas and a Healthy 2015, from our family to yours.