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Eating a Healthy Kosher Diet

Eating kosher has many health benefits, which is good news for residents of a Jewish nursing home or Jewish geriatric care center. An increasing number of people (of all religions) are seeking healthy alternatives to standard fare and are choosing to follow the ancient kosher dietary laws because it’s good for their body, reports the NY Times.

The health benefits of eating kosher stem from three main ideals:

  1. Controls on how much food to eat.
  2. The way food is prepared.
  3. What foods are included and excluded.

1) How Much to Eat

Kosher laws put limits on how much an individual should eat. Many Americans eat far too many calories, much of it laden with sugar, salt and fat — otherwise known as the Big 3. By cutting back on quantity, a person eats less of the Big 3 and reduces the number of calories consumed.

2) How Food Is Prepared

In a kosher menu, meat and dairy aren’t to be mixed at a meal. Right away, this eliminates pizza, cheeseburgers, and lasagna. These gooey, fat-laden foods account for some of the high cholesterol that doctors continually warn their patients about. By dictating no meat with dairy, the laws automatically limit the amount of fast food that a follower can consume. This reduces the Big 3, plus excess calories.

In addition, when meat and dairy are eaten together–as in a cheeseburger or lasagna–the body has a hard time breaking them down. They stay in your system longer, increasing cholesterol levels and other associated problems. Kosher meats need to have the blood removed by either draining or broiling. Rather than frying meat, cooking it by broiling is a much healthier alternative.

Kosher food is inspected and monitored in order to be certified as kosher. For example, the laws say that a person must not eat insects. Therefore, before being packaged, grains and vegetables are carefully checked for bugs. This level of protection is not available with non-kosher foods.

3) Types of Food Excluded and Included

Kosher dietary laws restrict a number of foods. For example, pork shouldn’t be eaten. This new white meat is indeed much more lean than it was years ago, but it still has far more allergens than other meats. Rodent-type meats are restricted, so rabbit is not allowed. This can be helpful if the rabbit was wild and picked up toxins on the way to the stewpot.

Shellfish can be very healthy, but it, too, is restricted, but again, this can save you from problems if the fish is from a beach. For example, red tide produces poisons in clams and oysters. By avoiding them, you don’t have to worry about the source. On the other hand, fish with scales, such as salmon and tuna, can be eaten.

Protein sources that include cattle, deer, bison, sheep, chicken, turkey, geese and ducks are all kosher food sources, as are all unprocessed fruits and vegetables. Of course, there’s more to a kosher diet, but the overall point is that the health benefits of following a kosher diet are numerous. While a kosher menu is strictly followed by Orthodox Jews, people of all faiths and beliefs follow the diet because of its many health benefits.

Do you have a favorite kosher snack food that is healthy yet tastes great? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

Need more tips on eating healthy? Visit our lifestyles/dining experience page and see other options on good, healthy eating.

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