5 tips for healthy eating with Greek products
The Greek diet is regarded as one of the healthiest in the world; the high consumption of olive oil, fruit and vegetables, the moderate intake of fresh fish and healthy dairy (such as feta and Greek yoghurt) is proven to be beneficial for the body in many ways. So let’s take five easy steps inspired by the Greek cuisine, in order to eat healthier.
1. Olive oil
Use more of it! I cringe when I see people literally spraying their salad with a few drops, as if olive oil is a ‘naughty’ ingredient. Scientific studies prove how beneficial olive oil is with its high level of monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. It lowers heart disease risk, reduces cholesterol and has anti-inflammatory properties. If there is only one oil that deserves to be permanently in your pantry, that is a good Greek extra virgin olive oil.
2. Less meat
People hesitate to cut down on their meat consumption, because they don’t know what to replace it with. High intake of meat is linked to cholesterol, heart disease, free radicals, cancer, shorter lifespan and other health risks. So why eat so much of it, when you can take your protein from ingredients such as: feta (nutritionists apparently classify feta in the ‘meat and alternatives’ food group exactly because of the amount of protein it contains), olives, mushrooms and pulses such as beans and lentils.
3. More fish
Fish is another excellent source of protein to replace meat with. Even snacking on a bit of cod roe (delicious bottarga, or tarama) enriches your diet with vitamins: C, A, E, D and vitamins of the B complex. Let’s not forget that fish is the best way to get Omega Oils in your system.
4. A dash of herbs
Herbs not only make the food more appetizing, but they also add so many health benefits in it. They are packed with vitamins, fibre and are often used as remedies to treat minor health problems. Oregano, for example, is an antibacterial herb, full of vitamins and omega 3’s. Greek oregano grows wild (when cultivated it loses some of its aroma and develops a different taste) and helps with stomach problems and menstrual cramps.
5. A bit of red wine
Red wine is full of anti-cancerous antioxidants that help the digestive system; it also increases the ‘good’ cholesterol and lowers the risks of a heart disease. Greece has thousands of rare, ancient grapes that haven’t gained the international recognition they deserve. For the wine-lovers, I recommend searching for wine that comes from either Santorini, Halkidiki or Peloponnese; all three regions produce very complex and unique wines.
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