Greek land offers a large variety of healthy products. These, are nutrient-rich, easy to incorporate in your daily diet and help you prevent disease, control your weight and maintain overall health. Let us introduce you to ten world-famous Greek superfoods.
Greece is the world’s third largest producer of olive oil and ranks first place in exports of virgin olive oil, which is the top-ranked olive oil classification category in the world. Although olive trees grow all over Greece the largest producers of olive oil are the region of Peloponnese as well as Lesvos and Crete Islands. The benefits of olive oil were known since antiquity. Homer referred to olive oil as liquid gold and Hippocrates noted its healing factors. Studies have shown that olive oil is the healthiest product among vegetable oils. It is loaded with antioxidants and protects from various diseases; therefore essential for a balanced diet!
Certainly honey was the first – and for quite a while – the only sweetener Greeks had in their diet. While its importance dates back to ancient times, even nowadays, it remains the most prestigious sweetener. Honey’s nutritious values, such as minerals, vitamins, natural sugars, antioxidants etc., benefit our health and taste buds every single time we taste it!
Teas and Infusions with Herbs
A large variety of herbs grow in Greece. They are considered by locals as a natural remedy and have been used, since antiquity, mainly as pain-killers. Among the most renowned are the Greek Mountain Tea (sideritis clandestina) for its digestive, warming, tonifying and antioxidant effects as well as the Dittany (dictamon in Greek) for its spasmolytic, tonifying and anti-diabetic impact.
Avgotaracho of Messolonghi
The renowned avgotaracho, a PDO Product (Protected Designation of Origin), is a delicacy deriving from the mass of eggs of the female grey mullet, which lives abundantly in the waters of the Messolonghi Lagoon. This delicious gourmet food, with its amber colour, is in fact a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that reinforces the cardiovascular system and strengthens the immune system.
The famous and unique Chios Mastic Gum, exclusively produced in the southern part of the northeastern island of the Aegean Sea, has been granted an official approval as a natural remedy by the European Medicines Agency (E.M.A.). Chios Mastic contains more than 70 different classified substances, proving its beneficial properties on gastrointestinal diseases, on reducing the levels of diabetes and of the LDL cholesterol (Low Density Lipoprotein). It’s also beneficial on improving oral hygiene (gum inflammation, dental plaque) due to its antimicrobial action and generally on supporting health because of its antioxidant activity.
Crocus from Kozani
The “red gold”, as it is referred to due to the colour of the purple flower strands, is grown in the area of Kozani. Crocus is available both in threads and in powder. Include crocus in your daily diet and profit from its impact on your health; it lowers cholesterol levels, improves digestion, prevents nausea, soothes infant teething pain, offers anti-inflammatory effects etc.
Almonds are a valuable health ally, rich in vitamin E and protein. It is said that a serving per day (20 almonds) benefits the regulation of bad cholesterol, diabetes, heart protection, boosts brain activity, helps bone density, and improves skin and hair health.
The pomegranate has antioxidant and anti-aging effects. This miraculous fruit is a unique natural elixir of health and beauty. Cosmetic companies use the pomegranate – among other natural ingredients from the Greek motherland – as a basic ingredient of their skincare and anti-aging products.
Either you call them currants or corinthian raisins, these black dried grapes offer you antioxidants and fibers necessary for a healthy diet. The science of nutrition nowadays recognises its beneficial properties as it reduces LDL cholesterol levels. The corinthian raisin is a unique, sweet product, used in traditional cooking and baking but is also delicious when eaten raw as a snack.
The caper shrub abundantly grows mainly on the rocky grounds of the Cyclades Islands. The low in calories caper buds, with their briny taste of the sea, ideally accompanies salads. Ancient Greeks used to eat caper as an appetizer. Pedanius Dioscorides (an ancient Greek physician, pharmacologist etc. 40-90 AD) used caper leaves and roots for their anti-inflammatory effects. Moreover, caper contains vitamins, antioxidants and anti-histamine properties.
Source: Visit Greece