So I’m not just saying this because I love it so much… But research has shown that the Greek diet is one of the healthiest in the world. Traditional Greek foods like dark leafy veg, fresh fruit, whole grains, high-fiber beans and legumes (such as fava and lentils), olive oil, omega-3-rich fish and small amounts of cheese and yoghurt, make a healthy balanced diet. And not only are all these ingredients delicious, they are known to be immune-boosting and cancer-fighting ingredients that reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
I came across a few articles recently that show how the Mediterranean diet, followed by the Greek islanders of Ikaria (aka “the island, where people forget to die”), plays a large role in the Ikarians’ longevity. And, although we can’t all be living on a Greek island right now, we can adopt these island eating patterns to live a long healthy life!
Tips from the island life:
- Have fresh vegetables with every meal (either raw in a salad or roasted with olive oil)
- Always use greek yoghurt, which has double the protein than regular yoghurt
- Snack on protein-rich dips made from greek yoghurt, chickpeas, beans and lentils (I love this avocado twist on tzatziki)
- Mix it up with healthy, high-fiber whole grains (try this easy lentil tomato and mustard salad)
- Instead of store bought dressing, use extra virgin olive oil with vinegar or lemon juice (add a touch of honey if you like it sweet)
- Add spinach to everything (lately I top every meal with a handful of spinach – it looks pretty too)
- Fish first, but if you feel like a change, with a mezze style diet (“small plates to share”), you can eat red meat in moderation
- Cook with a variety of herbs which will allow for less salt
- Buy a good olive oil and experience the health benefits
Some island dishes from my last trip to Mykonos: