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Open Access Traditional Lebanese recipes based on wild plants: An answer to diet simplification?

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Background. The challenge posed by the nutrition transition occurring throughout the world is enormous: rates of chronic disease, particularly overweight and obesity and cardiovascular disease, have reached alarming levels—often occurring in parallel with high levels of micronutrient deficiencies. Lebanon is no exception. And yet this Mediterranean country enjoys a rich biodiversity, with thousands of endemic species and an equally rich culinary history, largely based on its local biodiversity, including wild edible plants.

Objectives. To record traditional Lebanese recipes based on wild edible plants and to investigate their potential to contribute to a more diversified diet.

Methods. A series of nine focus group meetings was conducted with key informants knowledgeable in wild edible plant identification, harvesting, and use.

Results. Common recipes based on wild edible plants were collected and standardized from rural communities where collection of wild edible plants is common. Nutrient analysis and food-composition analysis were performed, including comparisons with processed dishes that are increasingly common in the Lebanese diet, revealing that the wild edible plant-based dishes offered a healthier alternative.

Conclusions. Since traditional recipes often use items from several food groups in one dish, they can be a good model for diet diversification. The promotion of the collection and use of wild edible plants and their derived products can lead to improved nutrition.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106

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