See the main products in the cuisine of the Greeks and learn what they owe their healthy and slim bodies. One of the main ingredients in Greek cuisine is extra virgin olive oil, also known as “liquid gold”
The Mediterranean diet+ is primarily based on the eating habits of southern European countries but is mainly derived from the healthy eating habits and traditions of the Greek people.
Greek cuisine places special emphasis on greens, olive oil, olives, fish, poultry, beans and grains.
The Greek diet is not only a great way to eat, drink and live, it is also a realistic and sustainable way to reduce disease, inflammation and a perfect way to maintain a healthy weight range. So it’s no wonder that most leading doctors and nutritionists worldwide recommend following a Greek diet!
The Greek diet has long been known as one of the healthiest diets in the world, but it’s not just a diet or even a way of eating, really, it’s a way of life!
What is characteristic of the Greek diet and eating habits?
In the next few lines, we’ll introduce you to a few basic rules that Greeks follow intuitively, and with them has already formed a culture of eating through which they achieve good health and longevity. Every product the Greeks put on their table has amazing antioxidant qualities, so just take a cue from the Greeks when it comes to nutrition.
Lots of fiber
For thousands of years, the Greeks have indulged in a high-fiber diet of vegetables, fruits and legumes, including quality fats and proteins, plus a glass of homemade wine and a cup of good Greek coffee every morning.
Fiber takes up over 80% of the Greeks’ diet.
When many people think of Greek food, they think of pastizzo, moussaka, souvlaki and baklava, but the traditional Greek diet is full of greens, such as Xorta (wild greens), Fasolakia (green beans), Bamies (okra), legumes, including False (lentils), Fasolada (kidney beans), Revitia (chickpeas) and other vegetable dishes that are abundant in so much beneficial fiber.
Calcium and minerals
For snacks, the Greek diet allows for yogurt, feta, olives, almonds, walnuts, honey, figs and other fruits, all of which aid in healthy digestion and are good fats – as long as they are eaten in moderation, of course. All of these products contain an enviable amount of minerals, dairy products -such as the popular Greek yogurt and feta cheese, created from a combination of goat’s and sheep’s milk are an extremely rich and indispensable source of calcium for the body.
Omega 3 fats
Greek cuisine is the richest cuisine in Omega 3 fats compared to any other cuisine. Greeks are the biggest consumers of extra virgin olive oil, and it is the biggest source of Omega 3 fats. Other products rich in these beneficial fats are olives, seafood- squid, octopus, oysters and other fish, nuts, avocados…all products that Greeks consume daily.
The magic good proteins
Proteins are not just “food for muscles” as nutrition experts like to call them, they are converted into energy and absorbed by the body, helping it to bring out the beneficial qualities of the food consumed. Greeks consume protein in particularly large quantities instead of the harmful carbohydrates found in modern packaged foods. One of the secrets of the Greeks is that they do not use preservatives, colorings and other harmful additives and keep their food as natural as possible. For flavouring they use herbs and garden spices. As for proteins, they are literally found in every product of Greek cuisine – poultry, dairy products, fish, seafood, eggs, legumes – beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas, various types of nuts and whole grains.
Compulsory products in Greek cuisine
Before we give you some useful tips for your eating habits, we will mention the main ingredients in Greek cuisine that you should include in your menu if you want to eat like the Greeks.
Olive oil: If one ingredient could represent the entire Greek cuisine, it would be olive oil. Olive oil has many varieties that are used for cooking, baking and simply drizzling over any traditional dish (EVOO).
Olives: Along with olive oil, olives themselves are a staple at any Greek table – especially the national favorite, kalamata. Stuffed with herbs and spices and marinated in vinegar or oil, olives are added to salad dishes or simply placed in a bowl at the dinner table.
Mastic: This crystallized resin from the pistachio tree, called mastic, is only grown on the Greek island of Chios. It has been used for thousands of years, both as a medicinal remedy and to flavor foods, both sweet and savory.
Feta cheese: The national cheese of Greece, feta can only be produced in certain regions of the country. This white, crumbly cheese is made from sheep’s milk or a combination of sheep’s milk and goat’s milk.
Greek honey: Honey is one of the oldest sweeteners in Greece. Its taste depends on the season and what flowering plants the bees take nectar from. Greek honey is used in many dessert recipes, such as baklava.
Herbs: Like other ingredients, herbs grow easily in Greece thanks to the climate. Greek cuisine includes dried herbs in many traditional dishes, with thyme, oregano, mint and savory being some of the most popular.
Fruit: Greece has a year-round growing season and dishes often reflect what is ripe on the vine or tree. From apples in winter to citrus in summer to berries in spring, there is no end to the fresh fruit used in recipes or simply eaten after a meal.
Fish and seafood: Greece is surrounded on two sides by the Aegean and Mediterranean seas, which are the source of one of the most traditional ingredients of Greek cuisine: fish. While oily fish, such as sardines and anchovies, is a staple, the favorite seafood in Greece is an octopus.
Yogurt: One of Greece’s most famous culinary exports, Greek yogurt is known for its sour taste and thick texture.
Even if you’re not in Greece, eat like the Greeks
When followed properly, the Greek diet truly provides all-around health benefits for the body, mind and soul.
Here are some tips on how to get the most out of the Greek diet:
Use extra virgin olive oil in your salads and for cooking. There are many types of olive oil on the market, but only extra virgin olive oil has the beneficial and healthy qualities of natural medicine and antioxidant.
Include tomatoes, cucumbers or a serving of raw or steamed vegetables with every meal.
Eat at least two servings of legumes a week. Whichever type you choose, rest assured that you’ll get your weekly dose of beneficial protein.
Reduce red meat or replace it entirely with white meat and fish.
Eat yogurt, nuts, fresh or dried fruit for snacks every day. This is not only dietary and good for your figure and tone, but also healthy enough to provide you with your daily dose of micronutrients.
Drink a small glass of red wine a day with meals. Good, if possible homemade red wine improves peristalsis and boosts metabolism.
Eat sweets only on special occasions.