Falafel is a Middle Eastern dish made from ground chickpeas or fava beans that are formed into balls or patties and deep-fried. It is often served in a pita bread with vegetables and a tahini-based sauce.
One of the main health benefits of falafel is plant-based protein. Chickpeas (what we use to make our falafel) are high in protein and when they are ground and formed into balls, they make a filling and nutritious meal.
Additionally, falafel is low in saturated fat, as it is typically deep-fried in vegetable oil, and high in fiber. The combination of protein, fiber, and lack of saturated fat can make it a beneficial option for those looking to maintain or lose weight.
Falafel is also rich in various micronutrients, with minerals such as iron, phosphorus, and zinc. and vitamins like thiamine and folate.
It is worth noting that the fried coating of falafel will increase both the calorie content, and the saturated fat. Eating falafel as part of a balanced diet can help mitigate these effects.
OK, so what about this oil used to fry the falafel -- can one minimize the health risk of using deep fried oil by using a more oxidative stable and high smoke point oil? By all means, yes! And we do!
Oxidative stability refers to the ability of an oil to resist oxidation and the formation of harmful byproducts when exposed to high temperatures, light, and oxygen. High oxidative stability oils, such as high oleic sunflower oil and high oleic canola oil, are typically more stable than other types of oils and can have a longer shelf life.
When it comes to the health of falafel, the use of high oxidative stability oils can be beneficial in a few ways:
Lower levels of harmful compounds: During deep-frying, oils can break down and produce harmful compounds such as trans fats, hydroperoxides, and aldehydes. High oxidative stability oils are less likely to break down and produce these harmful compounds when exposed to high temperatures, which may help to reduce the health risks associated with deep-fried foods.
Lower levels of free fatty acids: Free fatty acids are a byproduct of oil breakdown, and when consumed in large amounts can affect the taste, aroma and color of the food. High oxidative stability oils are less likely to break down and produce these free fatty acids when exposed to high temperatures, which can help to maintain the quality and taste of the falafel.
Longer frying cycles: High oxidative stability oils can have a longer fry life compared to other oils, which means that they can be used for longer periods of time before they need to be replaced. This minimizes our environmental burden and increases the sustainable footprint of falafel.
That being said, it is still important to use oils in moderation and consume fried foods in moderation. It is also important to consider other factors such as the source of the oil and any other added ingredients when evaluating the overall health benefits of falafel. We use only high smoke point oil (smoke point refers to the temperature at which an oil begins to smoke and break down when heated). High smoke point oils, such as rapeseed, canola, and peanut oil, are able to withstand higher temperatures before they begin to smoke and break down.
Our falafel comes in various colors/flavors which are all inspired by not only the taste but also the health benefits of these ingredients.
Our green falafel contains high levels of parsley and cilantro. The health benefits are remarkable.
Parsley health benefits:
Parsley has a fresh and slightly peppery taste, and is a good source of several important nutrients.
Rich in vitamins and minerals: Parsley is particularly high in vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting and bone health. It's also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and folic acid. Additionally, parsley is also a good source of minerals such as iron and calcium.
Antioxidant properties: Parsley contains several compounds that have antioxidant properties, such as luteolin and quercetin. These compounds can help to protect the body's cells from damage caused by free radicals, which may help to reduce the risk of certain diseases.
Anti-inflammatory properties: Parsley has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties, due to the presence of compounds like apigenin and myristicin. This can be helpful for conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Heart health: The presence of folate and vitamin C in parsley may help to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering levels of homocysteine. Homocysteine is an amino acid that at high levels can damage blood vessels and contribute to heart disease.
Digestion: Parsley is also high in fiber, which can help promote regular bowel movements and maintain a healthy digestive system.
It is worth noting that parsley is generally considered safe to consume, but it may interact with certain medications. People taking blood thinning medications, such as warfarin, may need to avoid consuming large amounts of parsley as it is high in vitamin K.
Cilantro health benefits:
Cilantro, also known as coriander, is an herb that is commonly used in many cuisines around the world, particularly in Latin American, Asian, and Mediterranean dishes. It has a distinct and fresh flavor and aroma, and is a good source of several important nutrients.
Rich in vitamins and minerals: Cilantro is particularly high in vitamin K and vitamin A. It's also a good source of vitamin C and minerals such as potassium and manganese.
Antioxidant properties: Cilantro contains several compounds that have antioxidant properties, such as quercetin, kaempferol, and rhamnetin. These compounds can help to protect the body's cells from damage caused by free radicals, which may help to reduce the risk of certain diseases.
Anti-inflammatory properties: Cilantro has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce inflammation in the body. This can be beneficial for conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Lowering Cholesterol: Some studies have suggested that cilantro may help to lower cholesterol levels by reducing the absorption of cholesterol in the gut and increasing the excretion of bile acids.
Heavy Metal Detox: There is some evidence to suggest that cilantro can help to remove heavy metals from the body, by binding to toxic metals like lead and mercury and allowing them to be excreted.
Digestion: Cilantro also contains essential oils that may help improve digestion and reduce bloating and gas.
Like most herbs and spices, cilantro is generally considered safe to consume, but some people may be allergic to it, and people with a history of allergies should exercise caution when consuming it.
Our yellow falafel contains high levels of sesame seeds. The sesame seed is also what tahini is made of and has many health benefits. It is a crop that is grown mainly for the oil in its seeds, which is why it is considered an oilseed. It is native to tropical areas in Asia, Africa, and South America.
Sesame seeds are rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They’re also packed with copper, which helps make red blood cells and also supports your immune system function. Sesame seeds are an excellent source of manganese and calcium, both of which help your bones grow healthy and strong. Calcium also plays a role in nerve signal transmission, muscle movement, blood vessel function, and hormone release. Other vitamins and minerals found in sesame seeds include phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, molybdenum, selenium and vitamin B1.
Sesame seeds health benefits:
Lower Your Cholesterol - Sesame seeds contain lignans and phytosterols, which are plant compounds that can help lower cholesterol. Phytosterols are also believed to enhance your immune response and decrease your risk of certain cancers (e.g., prostate cancer)
Blood pressure – phytosterols are also known to prevent high blood pressure.
Fight Infections - The sesamin and sesamolin in sesame seeds are known for their antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Antioxidants are important to your health because they protect your body against various diseases by slowing down damage to cells. The antibacterial activity of sesame seeds is proven to fight against staph infections and strep throat as well as common skin fungi, such as athlete’s foot.
Sesame seeds oil is also good for oral health due to its antibacterial properties against plaque causing microbes. It can also aid in enhanced effectiveness of type 2 diabetes medication due to aiding in hyperglycemia reduction.
The sesamol in sesame seeds has the following properties:
● Anti-mutagenic (stops the mutation of cells)
● Anti-hepatotoxic (prevents liver damage)
● Anti-inflammatory (fights inflammation)
● Chemopreventive (prevents disease and infection)
Each of these properties plays a role in cancer prevention and therapy. Sesamol may also have the ability to regulate apoptosis (cell death), which means that it contains the potential to target cells at various stages of the cell cycle. However, more research is needed to confirm this particular use of sesame seeds.
Like any other food there are also things to watch out for people at risk. Eating high amounts of fiber may result in bowel obstructions in people who have a large stricture, or narrowing of the bowel. For people with this issue, sesame seeds may also cause ischemia—when your body doesn’t get enough blood—or perforation (a small hole or tear).
Our purple falafel contains high levels of beet for color and health benefits.
Beet health benefits:
Beets, also known as red beets or beetroot, are a root vegetable that is known for its deep red purple color and earthy, slightly sweet flavor. They are a good source of several important nutrients and have several potential health benefits.
Rich in vitamins and minerals: Beets are particularly high in folate, which is important for the development of red blood cells and the proper functioning of the nervous system. They are also a good source of manganese, potassium, and vitamin C.
Low in calories: Beets are low in calories and high in fiber, which makes them a great option for weight management and maintaining a healthy diet.
Heart health: Beets are rich in nitrates, which can be converted into nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide is a chemical that helps to relax and widen blood vessels, which can help to lower blood pressure and improve circulation. This may help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Anti-inflammatory properties: Beets contain betalain, which is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound. This may help to reduce inflammation in the body, which can be beneficial for conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Improve digestion: Beets contain prebiotics, which are non-digestible carbohydrates that act as food for beneficial bacteria in the gut. This can help to improve digestion and boost the immune system.
Athletic performance: The nitrates in beets may also help to improve athletic performance, by increasing the efficiency of the mitochondria, the powerhouses of cells, during exercise and enhancing blood flow to muscles during physical activity.
It's worth noting that people with a history of kidney stones should avoid excessive beet intake, as they are high in oxalates which can contribute to the formation of kidney stones.
Our red falafel contains high levels of bell pepper and it is also the spicy falafel version. The spiciness derives from chili pepper.
Bell peppers health benefits:
Bell peppers, also known as sweet peppers or capsicum, are a popular vegetable that come in a variety of colors, including green, red, yellow, and orange. They are known for their sweet and mild flavor, and are a good source of several important nutrients.
Rich in vitamins and minerals: Bell peppers are particularly high in vitamin C, which is an important antioxidant that helps to boost the immune system. They are also a good source of vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B6, and vitamin K. Additionally, bell peppers are also a good source of minerals such as potassium, manganese and folate.
Low in calories: Bell peppers are low in calories and high in fiber, making them a great option for weight management and maintaining a healthy diet.
Antioxidant properties: Bell peppers contain high levels of antioxidants, particularly vitamin C and carotenoids. These compounds can help to protect the body's cells from damage caused by free radicals, which may help to reduce the risk of certain diseases.
Anti-inflammatory properties: Bell peppers have anti-inflammatory properties that may help to reduce inflammation in the body, which can be beneficial for conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Eye health: Bell peppers are also rich in Vitamin A and flavonoids like lutein and zeaxanthin, which can help protect eyesight and prevent age-related eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
Digestion: Bell peppers are high in fiber, which can help to promote regular bowel movements and maintain a healthy digestive system.
Overall, bell peppers are a healthy and versatile vegetable that can be eaten raw, cooked or roasted. They are safe for most people to consume, but people with a history of nightshade sensitivity should talk to their doctor before consuming them.
This was lots to digest (no pun intended😊) but hopefully you are more convinced now about the various health benefits listed. Not only are we committed to the delicious part, but also to your health and wellness. Stay tuned to our next blog on the topic. Come and enjoy our falafel [Order].