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Monday, 26 February 2018

Local Greek super foods

What the hell are superfoods?  Basically something invented by advertisers

They are foods that are loaded with nutrients and if eaten regularly MAY prevent disease, help you to live longer in good health, make you feel happier, give you strength and boost your brain cells.  
But take blueberries for instance, one of the top so-called superfoods. Blueberries contain a lot of vitamin c and other stuff.  We can't get blueberries here but the kiwi fruit, citrus fruit and other berries available have similar properties.  Just about every fruit, bean, nut or vegetable is a superfood.  Well, maybe not an iceberg lettuce.  The iceberg is valuable though, as a base for all those other goodies  in your salad.  Broccoli and all dark leafy greens are full of vitamins and minerals.  Here we have an abundance of pomegranites, elsewhere you find acai berries (?).

How much of them do you have to eat to make any difference?
Apparently you have to eat 28 cloves of garlic a day to make any difference in your cholesterol level.   You'd have to live in isolation and eat a greek diet of tzatziki and skorthalia (garlic sauce) and you still wouldn't get your 28 a day.

There is no such thing as a miracle food, a superfood.  Eat what you've got fresh and local.  The Eskimos or Inuits eat seal blubber, the greeks eat olive oil, the French drink red wine and eat loads of butter (or they will when the shortage ends). 

These are our local superfoods.  It would take a couple of posts to mention all the different plants, herbs and fruits from the rest of Greece.



Lemons fresh
Good source of vitamin C.  Drink a glass of water with the juice of a lemon squeezed into it.  Makes plain water interesting, or so I tell myself.  Helps fight infection.  My husband assures me the best medicine for a cold or flu is to mix up a glass of whisky, lemon juice and honey, drink up and go off to bed.  Repeat till feeling somewhat 'better'.

We have two lemon trees in the garden.  Some years we get a wheelbarrows of lemons and some years our crop is pathetic and we scrounge from the neighbours but we always have a few kilos of fresh lemons in the house.  Lemon juice goes on everything from fish to garden greens.




Olives, oil and the olive leaf

Everyone knows about olives and oil and the mediterranean diet.   Olive oil is good for the heart, lowers blood sugar, keeps your arteries open and so on.  Drink an infusion of olive leaf for even more benefits and eat the olive in your martini. 




Pomegranite

Vitamins A C and E.  Helps strengthen bones.  Drink pomegranate juice. 




Oranges and mandarins

More vitamin C.  Help lower blood pressure.  We are in a citrus area and have more oranges and mandarins than we can handle.  Greeks don't eat pudding or sweets after a meal but a plate of peeled and neatly cut up oranges, mandarins and apples are often offered instead.




Grapes and raisins

Packed full of antioxidents.  Help keep the blood vessels clean. Full of vitamins.  Eat them, drink the juice and the wine. 




Pistachio nuts

Full of protein, fiber and unsaturated fat.  Eat them in the shell, without being roasted in oil and salt and you have a terrific snack.  Getting them out of the shell takes time and effort and so you probably won't eat too many of them.  You'll have sore fingers if you have to prise them apart.



Figs

Aids digestion.  Known for treating constipation.  Don't eat too many!  Eat them fresh or dried.   You can eat the leaves too.

These are all my photos and have been taken within a hundred metres of our home.  We certainly have fresh just-about-everything within our reach, including a herd of goats to cull if we were hunters as well as gatherers. 

I bet you have your own superfoods growing around you and if you're neither hunters, growers or gatherers you will have access to a market somewhere nearby.

If you want to live long and healthily then eat sensibly and be happy.  I know someone who smokes a packet a day and is in her eighties (dear old Vaso).  I also know/knew someone who ate only what he grew or what his neighbours could supply fresh, washed his hair and himself with only homemade soap, never smoked and rarely drank even a glass of wine and died in his late seventies of alzheimers.

Enjoy what you've got today!!


17 comments:

  1. Diet plays a part. But I think attitude plays a bigger one.
    We constantly get told a Mediterranean diet is the best. But I have eaten that my whole life. What I think is the reason for Greeks living so long isn’t what they are eating. It’s their love of living. Not only surviving every day but a lust for life!
    This attitude that doesn’t matter. Let’s eat drink and be merry today for tomorrow isn’t promised so enjoy your life and live while you are here!

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    1. I couldn't agree with you more. I keep telling people over and over, diet is just a small part of the whole.
      It is genes, it is good luck and it is the joy of belonging in a big happy community, interacting with them all and enjoying and celebrating life.

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  2. i have a thing about mediterranean food, must be my ancestry lol, lemons are one thing I keep all year old, over winter I squeeze the juice into ice cube trays and use them with honey when one of us gets sick, so handy.

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    1. We make ice cubes of extra lemon juice too and use it in the winter when sometimes lemons get scarse. Ancestry plays a big part. With your varied background you should be good for many more years. Enjoy your life. You live in paradise for a start!!!

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  3. I think its good to eat sensibly LA. But like you point out in your last paragraph, its an health lottery or the roll of the genetic dice. Great pictures

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    1. Exactly Dave. Eat sensibly, enjoy life and if you're lucky you'll be enjoying it for a long time to come

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  4. My kitchen is temporarily out of use, and a lovely Greek lady is cooking my lunches. Today I had something 'al forno' as the Italians call it, made with spinach and feta. Very warming, tasty, and nourishing! I've been ill twice after eating pistachio nuts so I don't eat them at all now.

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    1. You're darn lucky to be eating al al greek. Spinach and feta is always a favourite though I'm not crazy about spinach unless its a spinach and feta pie. Kali orexi!
      That's another thing too, listen to what your body tells you.

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  5. If you look for the qualities of almost anything on-line, you'll find the same old stuff. Helps prevent cancer, lowers blood pressure, turns you into a genius, etc. I don't believe any of it. However, I always drink diluted Lemon juice at lunchtime, drink 2 spoonsful of Walnut oil at breakfast, and consume plenty of red wine. I'm expecting to outlive Methuselah.

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    1. I'm intrigued by the walnut oil. I've heard you mention it before. I must Google. We already have plenty of lemon juice and red wine.
      See you in the next millennium...

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  6. I agree with all that you wrote in your post Linda. We always try to buy "in season" fresh food. Best food is in its natural form and not too elaborated: eating fresh nuts instead of peanutbutter, a freshly squeezed orange instead of an orange cooldrink. ...and for the sweet tootj, rather a little piece of dark chocolate instead of a Mars. Studies say that a glass of red wine during a meal (2 glasses a day) is healthy for the heart.
    Hreetings Maria x

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    1. I like dark chocolate too and definitely a glass red wine.
      Cheers!

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  7. As you know I am interested in all of this. It would seem that they main point of what I have read and seen, is that all the people are still very active, extremely social and are slim, even bordering on the lean side. From what I can gather reading about blue zones. Eat fresh, keep slim, be active both in mind and body.

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    1. That's a good summary. I'm sure it's just as much about lifestyle as it is diet, though for sure genes play a big part too.

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  8. Interesting post, Linda. You have a fabulous array of wonderfully local foods.
    We try to eat homegrown veg as much as possible; the food is fresh and we also know there were absolutely no chemicals used to grow them. Seasonal eating is what we enjoy in fruit, vegetables, herbs and even seaweed, plus we try to keep physically and mentally active. We don't expect to live forever, but we do hope to keep healthy for as long as possible!

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    1. Everywhere there are similar fresh local foods. You're lucky to have seaweed.... I think
      I agree the whole idea is to live as long as possbile and keep healthy till the end. A bit of luck and good genes help

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