Cretan Diet





In the 1960s and 1970s, American universities began to study the phenomenon of Crete’s high life expectancy. The results of these studies showed that Crete suffered much less disease than many other countries. Cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer (e.g. cancer of the colon) were much rarer than in the USA or Britain. In Crete you sometimes see local people over 90, smoking two packets of cigarettes a day and enjoying rude health. Studies from the 70s revealed that this higher life expectancy in Crete was closely related to their eating habits. The phrase and concept of the ‘Cretan diet’ was born, and many people in the west began to imitate the Cretan diet.

Olives   Feta, very imortentin the Cretan Diet  Tomato  Fish

1. Olive oil: In Crete, olive oil is used for cooking, frying and on salads. It is important that it is not just any old oil; it is much better to use a traditional Cretan brand. The Mouratolia olive is mentioned often. This particular type of olive is never used to make cheap oil, since the olive itself is expensive – the trees bear fewer fruit than other types, and the olives themselves are smaller than average.

2. Fish: Cretans eat a lot of fish, and not so much meat. Traditionally, Cretans ate fish daily, and only ate meat on special holidays, such as Easter or Christmas. This has totally changed in the last few decades, as western habits make their mark in Crete.

3. Fresh Fruit and vegetables: Cretans eat a huge variety of greens and herbs, and in big quantities. The effects of these medical herbs that they ate ‘accidentally’ are still not quite clear.

4. Red wine: It has been shown by some studies that red wine in moderate quantities is beneficial for the health, though these studies are by no means definitive. One thing is certain, though – red wine is better for the health than other types of alcohol (e.g. beer, whiskey). French scientists are making new studies on the subject, which may reveal more conclusive findings in the future.

5. Dairy products: Soft cheeses from goat or sheep milk seem to be healthier than from cows, whose milk has a higher amount of fatty acids.

6. No additives: Food in Crete is direct from the farm and not processed in big factories. Sweets are made from honey, and not from refined sugars.

 

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