What is now promoted all over the world as a lifelong standard for health and wellbeing is nothing more than the norm to the residents of the Aegean islands, who have access to the finest and freshest foods the country has to offer, as well as the wisdom to put them to good use.
Greek Island nutrition provides the basis for the Mediterranean diet
1 . Olive oil
What better way to start the list than with the most commonly consumed food in Greece? Olive oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids and polyphenols that are known to shield the body from an array of risks. Olive oil consumption has been linked to longevity, low probability of cardiovascular disease and prevention of stroke and cancer.
2 . Clean Protein
The Mediterranean diet draws its protein content from healthy and sustainable food sources. Pulses and nuts, grown naturally and locally, are the staple food in the Greek islands, providing protein with none of the fat that usually comes with it. Being surrounded by the clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea, has turned the Greeks into formidable fishermen over the centuries, making fish and seafood a quintessential part of the Aegean islands’ cuisine. Not only do they provide valuable protein, but they also offer omega-3 fatty acids, which, like olive oil, are linked with longevity and lower risk of chronic diseases.
As for meat, chicken and lean cuts most often grace the Mediterranean plates. If you explore the Greek islands, you will find natural pastures and traditional shepherds caring for their herds. The animals roam free, feeding on the diverse vegetation of the land. This ensures that their body fat and general composition is kept at a perfect balance. The rich soil and the salty Mediterranean breeze give an unparalleled taste to all the products and the livestock grown on the Aegean islands.
3 . Fruits & vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are an integral part of local cuisine. Be it in salads, cooked foods or even as a quick snack, the colourful produce of the Greek islands is the best way to acquire all the beneficial vitamins and antioxidants that ensure a long and healthy life. The magic number here is five! Five portions of fruits and vegetables, about the size of your palm each is what you need.
4 . Wine
Wine is a valuable, and often neglected,ally in the fight for good health. One glass of fruity Mediterranean wine with your main meal isn’t only going to lift your spirits, but it is also good for your blood stream and will fortify your body against cardiovascular diseases.
5 . Whole-grain bread & pasta
No meal is complete without bread in Greece, and each Aegean island has its own unique pasta dishes to boast about. Produced from unrefined grains, the wholemeal products used in these recipes provide dietary fibre that protects against diabetes and blood cholesterol, while promoting bowel health and a balanced weight
BY KONSTANTINOS CHARDAVELLAS
NUTRITION – DIETICS BSC, PSYCHOLOGY PG, NUTRITION COACH
WORLDWIDE DIETICS & PSYCHOLOGY OF NUTRITION COUNSELING SERVICES
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