The popularity of superfoods is growing at a fast pace. This is simply because these mostly natural foods are packed with high levels of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals while they also provide countless benefits that help you live a longer and healthier life. Contrary to popular belief, not all these superfoods are bizarre, hard to find or coming from exotic or remote countries. Some of them have been known and used since ancient times, and many of them come from Greece which, by the way, is home to one of the healthiest diets in the world: the Mediterranean diet. So, why not include at least some of these Greek superfoods in your everyday diet? You will feel healthier in the twink of an eye!
Extra virgin olive oil
The first and most important of all is the Greek superfoods is the green-gold of Greece. Extra virgin olive oil has extreme antioxidant properties and protects against a range of heart disease, prevents heart attacks and strokes, and it is of aid against breast and rectum cancer. Moreover, olive oil eliminates the Helicobacter pylori, the main cause of stomach ulcer. The leaves from the olive tree are also considered a superfood since the extract helps to reduce blood pressure and sugar levels in the blood.
Besides a delicious taste and rich texture, both hard to find in other honey varieties, thyme honey has incredible antimicrobial qualities while some consider it also prevents cancer. When buying thyme honey go for a bright orange color, which means that the concentration of antioxidant agents will be higher and, therefore, more effective.
Carob is the fruit of the carob tree, rich in a number of vitamins and minerals, and particularly high in calcium. It’s also a source of protein and fiber. Carob has always been considered a digestive while it also contains polyphenols that function as antioxidants. It also has alkaline effects on body pH and certain cultures consider carob an aphrodisiac.
Mastic from Chios
Chios, one of the North Aegean Greek islands, is the exclusive home to the famous mastic, a sort of aromatic resin collected from the Mastic tree, and very much used in gastronomy. However, mastic is also an important aid to reduce high cholesterol levels while preventing stomach ulcers and the Crohn’s disease. It also helps protect from different types of cancer.
Dittany of Crete
The myth teaches us that goddess Aphrodite managed to heal a deadly injury to her son Aeneas grabbing some dittany, but not any, the variety only growing on Crete. Medical research has proved that this special type of dittany has great antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. In fact, dittany is the main ingredient of the Cretan mountain tea, known to be the cure to virtually anything, from cold and cough to gastrointestinal disorders and skin conditions.
Dried figs from Evia
With an indisputable high nutritional value, dried figs are rich in natural fiber and help in weight control as then enhance the feeling of satiety. Figs also help regulate blood pressure and improve ligament health thanks to their high content of potassium. They are also rich in magnesium, important for a healthy function of the nervous system, for metabolism and for bone health.
Greek yogurt contains valuable bacteria that has a positive effect on the entire digestive tract. For instance, it contains Lactobacillus, which according to different studies, helps fight cancer. Greek yogurt also enhances digestion while providing all the nutrients of milk (in fact, yogurt contains protein, carbohydrates, fats, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins).
Corinthian raisins, also known Zante currants or Corinth raisins, also called just currants, are dried berries of the small, seedless grape Black Corinth (Vitis vinifera). These sweet, dried grapes that can be consumed alone or in different recipes. These raisins protect against high blood pressure and they also add a sweet touch to food of diabetic patients without increasing their blood sugar levels.
Also known as Horta, wild greens are one of the most important ingredients of a diet that originally included lots of these vegetables, combined with a generous drizzle of olive oil and lemon. Wild greens such as blitha, stamnagathi, and dandelion among others are high in antioxidants, and with an abundant quantity of fiber, a great aid in the digestion process.
Yes, Greek coffee is another superfood! Recent studies conducted in the small Greek island of Ikaria (known all over the world for the longevity of its inhabitants) may have found that the high longevity rate of Ikarians is linked to the coffee brewed on the island. As an example, Ikarians over 65 drinking the local brew had better endothelial function than those drinking different types of coffee, a benefit even for those affected by high blood pressure. Greek coffee, in short, is a brew primarily from Arabica beans, rich in antioxidants which benefit the vascular function as opposed to filtered coffee. Greek coffee is thicker and offers a subtle and healthier intake of caffeine.