Six Healthy Foods from Spain You Will Love

Jonathan Harris | January 2004

Spain is famous for simple, healthy ingredients – they even put olive oil in their cookies for heaven’s sake! Here are six healthy Spanish foods that are so tasty you will forget that they are good for you.

1. Little Fishes

Small fish like sardines and anchovies are so tasty and so good for you! With plenty of beneficial oils and little danger of toxins, little fish are a wonder food. In Spain anchovies are either packed in olive oil and vinegar (and called boquerones, or white anchovies) or salted and called anchoas. Boquerones are very mild and much less salty. Sardines are typically canned within hours of harvest and are tiny and delicate (unlike some of the monsters you can find at the grocery store!)

2. Treasured Veggies

Spain values quality over quantity when it comes to jarring and canning – and their vegetable preserves are amazing. Picked at the peak of ripeness and cleaned and packed by hand, all of the flavor and nutrients are captured for you to enjoy later on a sandwich or salad. Wood fire roasted piquillo peppers or super-tender baby artichoke hearts from Navarra are both favorites.

3. Nuts for Almonds

Marcona almonds in particular! This superfood is packed with beneficial fats and vitamins that help lower blood sugar levels, reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. Our marcona almonds boast more beneficial nutrients than common almonds, plus they taste amazingly rich and delicious! Skip the M&Ms and grab a handful of marconas.

4. Healthy Ham…No, Really!

Now for Spain’s miracle comestible, a ham that is luxuriously delicious and also healthy! Jamón Ibérico de Bellota comes from happy 100% free range Ibérico pigs that feast on herbs, grasses and sweet antioxidant rich acorns. After curing for over two years, the fat of Ibérico de Bellota ham contains over 55% oleic acid, which is clinically proven to battle bad cholesterol in your body. Only extra virgin olive oil has a higher oleic acid content. So savor each bite of this magnificent ham, knowing you are doing your body a favor. 

5. Apitherapy...Super Honey

These pure honeys from Valencia are aromatic and sweet, but also fortified with supremely healthy boosters like bee pollen, royal jelly and propolis. Boost your immune system, soothe your sore throat and start your day with a delicious sweetness.

6. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Small Batch Only Please)

OK, this may seem like an obvious one – extra virgin olive oil is so good for you that some people in Spain drink a dose every day as a preventative medicine! But not all oils are created equal. Remember the three most important features – purity, freshness and quality. If it costs less than $10 a bottle it is probably low quality and may be a blend of extra virgin olive oil and (gasp!) cheap industrial oil. Great olive oil should have a fresh, bright aroma and a bit of spicy zing – those are the healthy oleic acids saying ‘hola’! Finally, buy from a local shop that sells small batch oils, not a brand distributed by a giant grocery chain (not to pick on just one brand, but you will not find a farmer named Bertoli lovingly tending his olive trees).

Related Articles