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The Nutrition of Falafel

Falafel, the traditional and historical dish that is a main staple in the Middle East, is a patty or a ball which is made of fava beans and/or chickpeas that have been ground. You will recognize falafel by the way in which it is served, which is in a pita or even a flat bread called lafa. The pieces of falafel are usually topped off with salad, some hot sauce and pickled vegetables. They are then drizzled with a bit of tahini-based sauce for extra flavor. Traditionally, falafels are either eaten by themselves as a snack, or they may also be eaten as a part of a mezze. Because of its ingredients, falafel is a healthy type of food.


Good Source of Protein

Falafel is generally high in protein, especially when it is made using chickpeas as an ingredient. Protein is a welcome ingredient for your body because it provides amino acids that your body may not be able to biosynthesize on its own. These amino acids are further sources of nitrogen, which is another material nutrient that your body needs. If you are trying to build up your muscles, you may want to include more falafel in your diet, because protein consists of essential building blocks in the development of muscle. Protein also comes in handy to prevent something called muscular waste, when your body's cellular processes that don't get enough protein and are forced to take some from the muscles for their own purposes.

Low in Fat

It should be no surprise that the falafel is low in fat, especially saturated fat. This type of fat that has been linked with breast cancer, prostate cancer and even small intestine cancer. While eating a falafel will fill your body with a very small amount of fat (about 5 grams of fat per 1 falafel patty) it will not fill up your body with any amount of saturated fat, since the saturated fat content in falafel is zero. If you consider that most of a falafel's ingredients are essentially vegetables and greens, then this is to be expected. If you want to watch your waistline and eat a type of food that will not require you to burn off any calories from fat, grab a falafel.

High in Dietary Fiber

Falafal comes with 18 grams of dietary fiber in just one patty, and this is helpful for people who want to eat something that helps their digestive system. Not only is your falafel going to be tasty, but it also promotes good bowel movements due to all the bulk its fiber helps to create. Fiber in your diet is important to lower your chances of getting constipation, as well as cancers of the colon. With its promotion of fluid bowel movements, your system will be cleaned out more, thereby also eliminating harmful carcinogens that tend to stay in your colon as a result of lingering waste.

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Emily DeLacey MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian and currently working in Jamaica as a HIV/ AIDS Prevention Specialist. She attended Central Washington University for her Bachelor's Degree in Science and Dietetics and continued on after her internship to Kent State University for her Master's Degree in Science and Nutrition, with a focus on public health and advocacy. She served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi 2012-2014 working as a Community Health Advisor in a rural village, immersing in the joys of life without electricity or running water. She has been to 20+ countries and 47 of the 50 states in the US. Traveling, adventuring and experiencing new cultures has made her a passionate advocate for the equality of nutrition and wellness for all people.

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