We know that the Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest, if not the healthiest diet in the world.
The culinary habits of Greece and southern Italy offer numerous health benefits from heart protection to mental health.
This diet is based on simple ingredients such as olive oil, vegetables, fruit, beans, yogurt, cheese, some fish, a bit of meat and plenty of herbs. And while these ingredients may sound simple, they are nutritionally complex, full of antioxidants, substances that protect the body from various chronic diseases.
Anyone can make their diet more Mediterranean by using mostly olive oil for their cooking needs, eating plenty of seasonal fruit and vegetables and eating less meat. Here are simple steps to get you started:
Make Greek Style Open Sandwiches
In Greece partucularly in Crete a popular dish is the Dakos, a whole grain barley rusk (paximadi) topped with soft white cheese, tomatoes, olives and drizzled with olive oil. You can make your own by substituting a thick piece of toasted whole wheat bread. Top first with tomatoes, than crumbled feta cheese, a few olives, add some olive oil and a sprinkle of dry oregano.
Eat Vegetables as a Main Course
Greeks have the highest consumption vegetables in the world according to a latest study from the Tufts University. How do they do this? The answer is vegetable casseroles. Greeks consume so many vegetables because they serve them as a main course. Use fresh or frozen vegetables; almost anything will do, but the best are green beans, peas, okra and cauliflower. Sauté a chopped onion in 4 tablespoons of olive oil, add about 500 grams of vegetables and continue sautéing. Next, add about 250 grams of crushed tomatoes, a bit of parsley, salt and pepper, and some water, enough so that it halfway covers the vegetables. Let it simmer for about an hour. Serve with a slice of fresh bread and feta cheese.
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