Many people don’t realize that Greek food is some of the healthiest food that you can consume. Haloumi, souvlakia, baklava…there’s so much to love about Greek cuisine, including the significant health benefits that go along with a Mediterranean diet. Recent studies have shown that this eating pattern can reduce your risk of dementia and reverse symptoms of depression and anxiety. It also helps in preventing heart attacks and promotes a generally longer life. Opa!
The traditional Greek diet (also known as the Mediterranean diet) comes from how people used to eat in the areas surrounding places like Italy, Turkey, Spain, and Greece… and is well known for both the delicious nature of its dishes and for being a very healthy diet for humankind.
Now, with that being said, keep in mind that all Greek dishes are a little bit different… but Greek food, in general, tends to tout some rather enlightening health benefits that you may not have ever been aware of. Professor Itsiopoulos, an Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne has developed ‘The 10 Commandments of the Mediterranean Diet” to help you on your way.
The commandments are:
1. Use Extra Virgin Olive Oil As The Main Added Fat
We use superior Minos extra virgin olive oil from Crete to prepare our authentic Greek dishes.
2. Eat Vegetables With Every Meal
We source quality fresh and local market vegetables which play a key role in the majority of our dishes.
3. Include At Least Two Legumes Meals Per Week.
Try our Gigantes Plaki – large white lima beans baked with onions, capsicum, tomato and herbs (Vegan and Gluten Free), or our Revithia Me Hirino – Chickpeas with pork and vegetables oven baked with tomato salsa in a clay pot. Yum!
4. Eat At Least Two Servings Of Fish Per Week
May we recommend our Coral Trout? Grilled in a white wine and butter, topped with a homemade lemon and cream sauce and served with a garden salad (Gluten Free).
5. Eat Smaller Portions Of Meat And Less Often
A guideline really…we suggest our Mixed Grill (with Chicken Souvlaki, two lamb cutlets, loukanika, giros, pita bread and tzatziki) so you can try a small(ish) portion of all our amazing grilled meats.
6. Eat Fresh Fruit Every Day And Dried Fruit And Nuts As Snacks Or Dessert
Our Baklava is loaded with nuts…and delicious golden honey. But lots of nuts. Must be good for you!
7. Eat Yoghurt Every Day And Cheese In Moderation
Save up your cheese allowance for our Feta Saganaki – baked feta cheese delicately wrapped in filo pastry and drizzled with honey and sesame seeds. It will rock your world.
8. Include Wholegrain Breads And Cereals With Meals
It might not be wholegrain, but pita bread sure is good with tarama, tzatziki, melitzana dips
9. Consume Wine In Moderation And Always Consume With Meals
All we heard was consume wine with meals. Done! With our wide range of imported and local artisan wines, we have something to suit every palate.
10. Have Sweets Or Sweet Drinks For Special Occasions Only
But what exactly are the health benefits you can get from the Greek Cuisine? Here are 3 of them that you probably didn’t even realized existed! As it turns out, Greek food may be better for you than many people give it credit for!
It Is Full Of Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Greek cuisine has been praised for the wealth of anti-inflammatory foods that are often incorporated into it. This is due to the mostly plant-based foods that are used in it, but it also has to do with the healthy fats found within it.
As it turns out, people who consume a more Mediterranean-style diet are better protected against problems like heart disease, metabolic complications, cancer, depression, dementia, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and Parkinson’s.
Greek Cuisine Often Incorporates A Lot Of Olive Oil Into The Mix
Olive oil has a near-legendary status as a veritable super-food among most health-food experts… and indeed, this praise is not unwarranted. Olive oil contains a ton of omega-3 fat, and is said to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
Olive oil is also full of compounds called phenols, which are basically antioxidants that help to fight inflammation and free radical damage.
Greek Cuisine Often Contains Fewer Processed Foods
Generally, Greek cuisine incorporates more ‘whole’ and ‘raw’ foods into its dishes. This means that the foods are often much closer to nature, and much less processed. Greek food is also pretty well-known for containing very little to no high fructose corn syrup, GMOs, or other artificial ingredients.
It also contains more plant-based ingredients, wild-caught fish, and legumes, and uses far less red meat.
These healthier ingredients, mixed in with all of the olive oil in the food, does a lot to help boost the health benefits.
What Does All Of This Mean?
These are not the only health benefits that you will tend to find in Greek food, but they are benefits that should not go unnoticed. As a general rule, eating a diet that consists of real Mediterranean/Greek foods will help you to lose weight, will improve your heart health, will help you to fight cancer, and will help to improve your mood.
Of course, it is important to note that there are also other factors that must be taken into account when assessing the benefits of anything. Without proper exercise and sleep routines, eating better foods will only do you so much good… and while the red wine often associated with Greek foods is good for you, it is also important that you drink plenty of water and that you cut back on sugary beverages like soda, energy drinks, and sweetened tea.
And last, but certainly not least, remember that eating healthy portion sizes of any food is also important. A lot of people make the mistake of overdoing it on food during one or more meals of the day… and as a result, end up gaining more body fat.
As opposed to this, it is better to eat a bigger number of smaller portions of food throughout the day, so that you can stay energized without having such a large percentage of your food adding unhealthy inches to your waistline.