The six ingredients used in Greek food which could actually boost your health.
Greek food is not only delicious, it also makes use of some of the healthiest ingredients around. Studies have shown some of its ingredients can actually lower the risk of heart disease and increase gut health.
One of the first studies into the links between diet, lifestyle and health was the Seven Countries Study, which took place from 1958 to 1970. It observed men living in countries across the world and found those with a varied diet based on monounsaturated fats, fruits, vegetables and legumes had a lower risk of heart disease. Crete came out on top with 40 per cent of the diet coming from healthy fats. Of course, with any diet moderation is key but what are the benefits of some of Greece’s most iconic ingredients?
This staple of Greek cuisine is loaded with antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation is thought to be a leading driver of many diseases including metabolic syndrome, diabetes and cardiovascular problems which may be one of the main reasons for olive oil’s benefits.
Otherwise known as strained yoghurt, Greek yogurt is different from regular, sweeter products. Greek yogurt makers add an extra step to their process, so excess water, lactose, and minerals drain out. What’s left is a creamy, rich yogurt with less sugar, more carbs, and a tart taste. The acidity also makes it easier for your body to absorb other nutrients. Greek yogurt is packed with probiotics – healthy bacteria that can help boost your immune system and decrease stomach issues. It is also high in calcium, key to building strong muscles and helping vital organs function.
High-quality honey contains important antioxidants, including phenols, enzymes and compounds like flavonoids and organic acids. Antioxidants have been linked to a reduced risk of heart attacks, strokes and some types of cancer. Studies have also shown honey can improve cholesterol levels.
Garlic is low in calories and rich in vitamin C and B and manganese. Health benefits are thought to include prevention of the common cold and flu as well as reduced blood pressure.
This Mediterranean herb is not only used in cooking but also for medicinal purposes, ranging from treating infections to repelling insects. Research has shown that active ingredients in oregano could one day be used to treat osteoporosis, cancer and diabetes.
Nutrient-dense tomatoes support good skin, weight loss and heart health. Studies have also linked tomatoes with protection against cancer, healthy blood pressure and reduced blood glucose in people with diabetes.
You can find all these ingredients on the new brunch and evening menus at Amalthea Bistro, Leeds, as well as on the specials board. There is almost no dish without extra virgin olive oil and yoghurt is used not only as a side but also in desserts.
As the team says, there is no good baklava without pure Greek honey and most dishes contain garlic and aromatic Greek oregano. To check out the menus click here. Make a reservation by calling 0113 267 2888 or pop into the restaurant in The Crescent, Adel, Leeds.
Oliver Awards 2018-Best Suburban
EAT Awards 2017 (H&N Magazine)-Best Suburban
Trip Advisor-Certificate of Excellence 2018
Originally published in Yorkshire Evening Post, June 11, 2018