Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Food Around the World Part #1; Greece:

Cuisines from other cultural backgrounds have some incredible health benefits; however a lot of the “Americanized versions” are full of unhealthy fats, salt, and/or unhealthy carbohydrates.

Traditional Greek foods are composed of dark leafy veggies, fresh fruit, high-fiber beans, lentils, grains, olive oil, and omega 3 rich fish. These ingredients provide lots of immune-boosting and cancer fighting properties that cuts your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other diet-related ailments. Consuming the traditional Mediterranean diet results in a 25% reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer.

Greeks also often share small plates at dinner called meze. Eating several types of food in small amounts in more satisfying because you get a taste of everything and it forces you to eat much slower, noticing when you are hungry. Furthermore, when Greeks eat meat is eaten in very small amounts with local calorie items (seafood), slowly digested carbohydrates (beans, eggplant, or whole-grain breads) and small portions of foods with good fats (olives and nuts).

When eating Greek be sure to order all fish and meats grilled and vegetables sautéed in olive oil and garlic. The combination of greens and olive oil has beneficial anti-inflammatory effects and the garlic helps to lower blood pressure.

Be sure to avoid heavy buttered dishes as well as the oh so yummy Spanakopita (spinach pie), which can be high in calories and fat as bacon cheeseburger.

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