Food & Diet

How To Buy Ingredients Like The Paradoxical French

When we set out to buy ingredients for our family’s meals many of us these days tend to be significantly more conscious of the things which are good for us, and those which are not. Cutting out certain ingredients and replacing them with others is obviously a great way forward, and it is often the ingredients which we buy which have a huge effect on our family’s health.

However, if you do buy ingredients and not just ready meals, then the chances are that you’re already off to a great start. But one of the ‘facts’ which you may well have kept in mind when buying your ingredients may well be wrong.

When you choose meals and ingredients for recipes you will often look out for ‘saturated fat’, and avoid it. After all, medical evidence has clearly proved the fact that saturated fat is closely linked to heart disease. So cutting out your saturated fats will lead to a healthier heart, which has to be good news, right?

The problem though is the French. Let me explain. The French are well known for having a diet rich in saturated fats, including a significant amount of butter (they seem to cook everything in it!), massively more cheese (well, we all knew that!) as well as other dairy products. Yet at the same time the number of incidents of coronary disease in France is much lower than most other countries, including both the US and the UK. So what’s going on?

The fact is that nobody is entirely sure, as there doesn’t seem to be any one factor which could account for the paradox. But there are several smaller factors which are almost certainly contributing significantly towards this healthier diet. So here are a couple of ideas you can bear in mind when you’re planning to buy ingredients for your brood.

First of all, red wine seems a good idea. Only in moderation of course, and certainly not for the children, but it is believed that a component of red wine called resveratrol could contribute towards longevity, cancer prevention and even reducing the effects of aging.

Secondly, buy fresh fish. Having fish three times a week has such a positive effect that it virtually counters those puddings!

Thirdly, forget avoiding the full fat and no fat products. Most of these have a massively higher concentration of sugar. Full fat products usually have little or no added sugar, and are therefore likely to be healthier.

Finally, think about your portion sizes. This is a really important point, because the French tend to have more courses, but smaller portions, and this seems to be a very important factor in explaining why the French are significantly healthier as a nation, despite their penchant for cheese and wine!