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The Health Benefits of Eating Greek

By Michael Cole

Compared to other ethnic cuisines, Greek food isn’t as widely available in the U.S. While the typical “Greek salad” with feta cheese and kalamata olives is a common menu item, many of the other health-boosting Greek style meals can be hard to find. Experts in health and nutrition are well aware that ancient Greek recipes, which are still a major part of life in Greek communities around the world today, carry with them not only delicious flavors, but many nutritional benefits. In fact, an ancient Greek saying attributed to the philosopher and father of medicine Hippocrates goes, “Let food be thy medicine.”  In other words, everything you consume has an effect on how your biological systems work. It turns out that preparing typical Greek food can improve your health, help you lose weight, and open up a new world of taste sensations. What follows are some health tips taken from Greek cuisine.

Start meals with a salad - Greek meals always start off with a salad. This actually serves a purpose. Besides tasting delicious, a salad will both stimulate your appetite before eating a main course, and also put a dent in your appetite as you load up on veggies and are less likely to eat too many carbs. Avoiding bottled dressing is also a must. The Greek way calls for nothing but fresh olive oil, vinegar, herbs, lemon juice, salt, and honey.

Use lots of herbs - Herbs play a large role in Greek cuisine because they boost the flavor to a dish without adding calories. In Greek cooking, herbs aren’t just for salads. They get added to everything from teas, stews, and desserts to soups, pies, meats, fish, and poultry. Herbs in their fresh, raw state are typically used but it's also possible to treat them with salt and lemon zest, then use the salt to flavor dishes. In some cases, herbs can even be deep-fried to create a crisp garnish that can be sprinkled over grilled or baked meat and other dishes.

Leafy greens are essential - It’s a Greek tradition to gather fresh, leafy greens from the countryside to be tossed into salads at meal times back home. Leafy greens can also be boiled and dressed with olive oil and lemon juice, which keeps for a long time and offers an easy cold side dish for any meal. Leafy greens are known for their powerful antioxidant effects and ancient Greeks viewed them as medicine.

To learn more about health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractor in Hillsboro, Ore.

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