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Cretan Diet

Crete has one of the oldest and most delicious culinary traditions in the world, a tradition of flavors, aromas, materials and styles that start from prehistoric times to the present day.
In the international scientific community, there is an increasing debate in the search for an ideal diet to promote health. Cretan diet has been the subject of study in recent years, since most research has shown Cretan cuisine as the most typical and quality model of a Mediterranean diet. It was found that residents of Crete have the lowest mortality rates and the lowest proportional and world-wide mortality rates from cardiovascular diseases and cancers.

But what is the secret of the Cretan diet? The answer is that Cretans feed on with products from their land, they eat plenty of greens, vegetables, pulses and fruits, flavoring their food with herbs and plants from the mountains of the island, such as thyme and basil, while almost always accompany the food with wine from local vines and delicious bread, which traditionally is fermented.

Another characteristic of the Cretan table is the variety of dishes, where no one monopolizes the taste but all together make up a delicious whole.

But the most important nutritional element is olive oil, which is the main source of fat for the Cretans and for all the peoples of the Mediterranean.

Olive oil is the basis of Cretan and Greek diet, and is used in most dishes by displacing butter or other types of oil used in other regions of the world. The nutritional value of the olive oil is enormous as it is the most powerful antioxidant in nature, protecting the body from oxidation and the growth of free radicals that cause serious diseases.

Crete with its Mediterranean climate and good soil consistency allows the olive tree not only to thrive everywhere, both in lowland and mountain areas, but also to give the olive oil the best possible quality, with low acidity and wonderful aroma. The fact that Cretans live longer and have the lowest indices in the emergence of diseases seems to be directly linked to being the world's largest olive oil consumers.

It is certain that the excellent health and longevity of the Cretans is due to their traditional diet. A diet in which it is worthwhile to turn our attention and follow it.

The History

The history of Cretan food and Cretan cuisine appears from the ancient times. It is the continuation of a tradition that dates from the Minoan era and reaches to the present day. From the finds of archaeological excavations, it seems that ancient Cretans, the Minoans, consumed almost 4000 years ago the same products consumed by the Cretan people nowadays. In the palaces of the Minoan era, large jars for olive oil, cereal, legumes and honey were found. Moreover, in the various pictorial testimonials we see the magnificent world of Cretan plants and herbs.
As the centuries passed, Cretan cuisine brought together the knowledge and experience that was passed down from generation to generation, so that the Athenian, Greek writer of the Roman years, informed us of two extremely complex and delicious sweets made in ancient Crete with petimezi and honey, nuts, sesame seeds and poppy seeds.

In the Byzantine years the Cretans kept their habits, and the kitchens of urban families was full of complex dishes that offered great taste. The rural population continues to support its survival in nature: with greens, fruit, legumes, olives and olive oil. All of this, however, the Cretan people enriched them with the power of fertile imagination. He could cook his products in many ways and make them tasty and delicious.

This custom helped him to survive under extremely adverse conditions when the island was conquered successively by the Arabs (824-961), the Venetians (1204-1669) and the Turks (1669-1898). The conquerors were changing but the soul, the religion, the language and ... the Cretan cuisine did not change!

This continuity has created a tradition that proves to be valuable today, since the international scientific community speaks not only about Cretan cuisine but also about the "miracle of the Cretan diet"!

THE CRETAN OLIVE OIL

For centuries, the history of olive and olive oil has been linked to the old history of Crete, which thousands of years ago founded Western culture and delineated European history.

It has been reported that the olive was cultivated in Crete around 3000 BC. In ancient Greece Dioskouridis and Dioklis praised its healing properties, Anaxagoras and Empedocles investigated its historical path. Aristotle drove olive oil science into science, while Solonas introduced the first law to protect the olive tree in statutes prohibiting cutting over two olive trees in each oak tree each year.

That's why the sacred tree, a symbol of knowledge, wisdom, abundance, peace, health, strength and beauty that has been worshiped for thousands of years, is suggested and highlighted by today's authoritative scientific research as the predominant factor of human health and longevity. Many scientists in their conferences around the world are decisive and clear. Dominant element of this healthy diet is olive oil, the elixir of the good health, physical strength, longevity. This gold fruit of Crete is the main factor and protector for health and longevity of Cretans for many years, since according to surveys the cases of heart disease and cancer in Crete are less than in other regions, and this is due to the regular consumption of olive oil.