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The people of Crete scored the highest of all in heart health in several international studies. Incorporating elements of the Greek diet into everyday menus, combined with increased physical activity, is a great way to have a positive effect on your health.
One of the great components of Greek food is olive oil that is one of the healthy fats, meaning that it is a monounsaturated fat that can actually lower cholesterol. In 2004 the FDA recognized claims that replacing other fats with olive oil can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
The rich immune-boosting antioxidants in the Greek diet provides cancer fighting compounds, healthy omega 3 fatty acids and colon cleansing fiber, all of which help lower the risk of diet linked diseases, including obesity and diabetes. A 2003 study conducted jointly by researchers at the University of Athens in Greece and Harvard University found that people who consumed a traditional Greek diet experiences a 24 percent lower risk of death from cancer.
The Greek diet makes wide use of olive oil, vegetables, herbs, grains, breads, wine, fish and meats as well as olives, cheese, eggplant, courgette and yoghurt. Greek desserts are dominated by the use of nuts and honey.
Aglaia Kremezi, a well known Greek food expert and author says that the art of traditional Greek cooking is taking a natural, fresh ingredient and doing the least possible to it. Refined and processed foods are not good for your heart, keeping the basic structure of food is so importing and sticking to foods that are recognizable in their original form is key.
The use of garlic and onions is also key, both ingredients are incorporated wherever possible in the Greek diet and both are heart healthy.
Some great choices on the Greek menu are –
Souvlaki – Grilled skewers of chicken, pork, lamb or beef. Low-fat protein, veggies and pita with a touch of tzatziki is a great healthy choice.
Taramosalata – a traditional carp roe mousse. Eaten sparingly this is a great choice because it is full of the healthy fats found in fish.
Feta cheese – again to be eaten sparingly but this delicious cheese is lower in fat than cheeses such as cheddar.
Greek Salad – Salad is always a healthy menu choice. This bed of greens topped up by a whole heap of good for you foods, such as tomatoes, cucumber, onions, olives, feta, olive oil and a dash of oregano is great for your health.
Greek Yoghurt has a rich taste and is a super alternative for your breakfast or snack. It is also the perfect substitute for mayo and sour cream.
Fi restaurant make their own yoghurt that delivers thick, creamy textures and comes with many health benefits. It has twice the protein of regular yoghurt, it contains live active cultures, it contains probiotics, has no cholesterol, is fat free and is packed with vitamin D.
The great news is that the factory for creating homemade yoghurt across the road from the HomePro exit of Tesco has since developed into a wonderful space to enjoy lots fabulous Greek food with all of the health benefits that come with it.
There is nothing fancy about the restaurant but it has everything you need to feel comfortable. The open sides of the building allow for a decent cooling breeze. The bamboo wall reminds you that you are on a tropical island, the décor and checked table cloths remind you of being in Greece and the spacious indoor and outdoor seating areas are ideal whether you are after a romantic meal for two or feel like going en masse with friends for a fun filled evening.
The combination of local and imported produce offers an unforgettable dining experience packed full of taste sensations. The homemade flat pitta bread is delicious especially when it is combed with the tzatziki that is made from that fabulous homemade yoghurt that tastes amazing and is so good for your health. The Kalamata olives are soaked in that ‘great for your health’ extra virgin olive oil and dry oregano, the Zucchini Patties or Kolokithokeftedes are packed full of vitamins and the Santorini spring rolls are made from delicate filo pastry and stuffed with low fat feta cheese. The Greek salad is packed with fresh produce, and another great choice is a classic Greek appetizer called Melitzanosalata that delivers a crunchy texture with smoked eggplant mixed with olive oil, lemon juice and herbs.
The moussaka is perhaps not the lowest fat dish you will find on the menu but it will not fail to blow your mind and there is a vegetarian version that is just as impressive. Another great dish is the Yogurtlu Kebab, one of the most delectable side dishes of the Politiki (Constantinople’s) cuisines made with mixed pork and beef. Of course there is nothing unhealthy about the tender pork and chicken Souvlaki or catch of the day grilled fish.
Other great dishes include beef stewed stifado style, Soutzoukakia – delicious little sausages of ground meat mixed with lamb which are slightly red and then bathed in wine and tomato sauce severed with steamed rice, souvlaki kebabs, chicken fillets, lamb chops and beef steaks.
If you have some space left for dessert then try the Baklava or the exotic fruits yoghurt parfait, both show stopping dishes that won’t ruin your waistline.
If you fancy dining out and combining fabulous hospitality with great tastes and health benefits then Mythos by Fi Greek restaurants is the solution.