You may have heard about the notorious sprees of Greeks when they have an occasion to celebrate, or even when there isn’t one. Music and dancing are a must at every feast in Greece since it makes the cheerful atmosphere even more festive.
But have you heard that traditional Greek cuisine is the healthiest for the heart? Researches have shown that the rural population of Crete and Greece has one of the lowest rates of obesity and diseases related to irregular diet. Also, in these regions, life expectancy is longest. So, along with the Olympic Games, architectural monuments, and ancient philosophers, Greece has given to the world a healthy cuisine.
Olive oil is something that Greeks use as a substitute to sunseed oil or butter. It can be referred to as the healthy kind of fats since it can lower the ‘bad’ cholesterol and reduce the risk of occurrence of heart disease. The widespread in the Greek cuisine whole grains can also prevent your heart from premature illness.
They provide nutrients and fiber, help you digest and contribute to feeling satiety after eating. Leafy greens are the other typical ingredient in Greek dishes. They contain lutein which is good for the arteries, preventing them from clogging.
The high in fiber legumes (special kinds of lentils, peas, and beans) are also present in Greek meals. Seafood, which is something that people in Greece eat a lot, is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and they are good for the proper blood circulation. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is not something unusual for Greece. Both of them help one’s digestive health as well as prevent cardiovascular conditions.
List of Commonly Used Ingredients:
– garlic, cinnamon, bay leaves, oregano;
– high in fiber lentils, beans and peas;
– oranges, melons, grapes, pears, plums, figs;
– purslane, fennel, cumin, mustard, spinach, dandelions;
– pasta and bread rich in carbohydrate;
– olive oil;
The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet (also goes by the name Cretan diet) includes the typical for the Greek cuisine ingredients like fish, olive oil, nuts, vegetables, legumes, leafy greens, and fruits. The meals made from these components are low in saturated fats and nutrient-rich.
Eating healthy Greek meals will improve one’s immune function and overall physical wellness providing compounds to fight cancer and to lower the risk of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Such a diet is very efficient if one wants to lose weight and stay healthy. Greek food rarely consists of red meat, which is a good thing since the latter is high in cholesterol and saturated fat that can lead to cardiovascular diseases.
Consume in Moderation
Know that eating too much food that consists of healthy fats is not that good either. One’s caloric intake can be considerably increased which can lead to arterial and weight management problems. What you can do is consume everything in moderation. Not too much of this or that, but a little bit of everything without going over the board.
It’s all in the appropriate amount of a variety of foods without overdoing it with a particular type of food. You may eat seven to ten servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Natural herbs and actual lemon juice instead of the sauces you buy from the store that contain preservatives would be a great seasoning for the meals you prepare.
Fish like tuna or salmon is recommended to be consumed twice a week.
Being in Greece on vacation, why not combine it with a healthy food experience? You may start with a puree of crushed garlic, walnuts, almonds, and olive oil called ‘skordalia’ and continue with some of the many other dishes that will affect positively on your well-being.