The Greek diet, also known as the Mediterranean diet, is known for all its wonderful ingredients, which can help to improve one's health. Incorporating elements of the Greek diet into everyday menus, combined with increased physical activity, can have a positive effect on overall health. Below is a list of the ingredients you can find on our menu, along with their health benefits:
- Consuming this type of fat may help lower your cholesterol levels.
- Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant by reducing the effect of harmful free radicals in your body, and helps protect your heart and joints.
- Olive oil is a fat obtained from the olive (Olea europaea; family Oleaceae), a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. It is a prime component of the Mediterranean diet.
- A great source of monounsaturated fat, which may lower total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. It may also help normalize blood clotting and can help to stabilize blood sugar.
- High in Vitamin C & K, fiber, magnesium and potassium, among other things.
- Low in fat and calories.
- Has been linked to lower risk of colon, breast, uterine and ovarian cancers.
- High in Vitamins A, C & E, beta-carotene, B vitamins, folate and calcium.
- Low in calories, containing a mere 18 per serving.
- Has been shown to lower cancer risk.
- Garlic contains an abundance of antioxidants and sulfur compounds, which are responsible for garlic's supposed health benefits.
- Garlic has been shown to improve high cholesterol, heart disease and high blood pressure and can help to prevent certain types of cancers, such as stomach and colon cancer.
- Good source of vitamin K, iron and manganese.
- Rich in fiber. Dietary fiber promotes health of the gastrointestinal tract, reduces risk of coronary heart disease and controls blood glucose concentrations after a meal.
- Natural source of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Fava (yellow peas)
- A single cup of yellow split peas contains 16 grams of fiber and 16 grams of protein.
- High in folate, which is important for red blood cell production and DNA synthesis, and zinc, which is important for wound healing and immune system function.
- Good source of dietary fiber, which helps to protect against colon cancer and keeps the digestive system regular.
- Rich in vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), B vitamins, folate, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorous.
- 27 calories, 0 g fat and 6 g carbohydrates in a 1-cup serving
Greek Mountain Tea
Mountain Tea is enormously popular in Greece, and used most often in winter when levels of physical activity decrease and colds, aches, and pains increase. It is said to have a positive effect on almost anything that ails but, most notably, it is used for colds, respiratory problems, digestion, the immune system, mild anxiety, and as an anti-oxidant. It is also used as an anti-inflammatory and to reduce fever.
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower your bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol).
- Cinnamon may help treat Type 2 Diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels and increasing the amount of insulin production in the body.
Increase Barley Products (and Other Whole Grains)
It's long been known that whole grains can help reduce the risk of heart disease, but just recently, the FDA chimed in once again to recognize claims that barley and barley products do indeed whole grains can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Barley and other whole grains are an important part of the Greek diet, used in cracked grain breads and our famous barley rusks.
Eat Those Leafy Greens
Our diet is based largely on vegetables, with no shortage of dark leafy greens, both those we pick in the wild and those we buy. Leafy greens contain lutein, known to prevent clogged arteries.
Don't Forget the Legumes (Pulses)
Legumes are that group of beans, peas, and lentils that are high in fiber and combat heart disease. The Greek diet is filled with fabulous dishes using many varieties of legumes.
Keep It Natural
Aglaia Kremezi, a well-known Greek food expert and author, says that the art of traditional Greek cooking is taking a natural, fresh ingredient and doing the least possible to it. Refined and processed foods don't help a healthy heart. Keeping the basic structure of food is important, and sticking with foods that are recognizable in their original form is the key. Eat healthy to stay healthy.
Of course, the Greek diet also includes meat and fish, but generally in smaller quantities, and less frequently. We also incorporate garlic and onions everywhere possible (we like them), and they are heart healthy additions as well.
Over recent years, the Greek diet, even in rural areas, has been modified by the availability of fast foods, processed foods, and junk foods, so we, too, need to take a lesson from the traditional ways of our parents and grandparents.