top of page

Cretan Diet

Cretan diet, a remedy in the kitchen

 A lot have been said about the importance of maintaining a healthy
lifestyle and diet. Cretan cuisine is considered to be one of the most
healthy cuisines. Cretan diet is rich in top quality ingredients such as olive
oil, (we come across it in every preparation of the Cretan cuisine), cereals,
legumes, vegetables, wild greens, herbs, local dairy products, eggs, red
meat, mostly from sheep and goats, rabbit, poultry and for the habitants of
the cost line, fish. Also we mustn’t forget another essential of the Cretan
diet, which is a moderate use of alcohol, mainly red wine, a glass usually
accompanies lunch.
 A great deal of studies had been made in regard to the Cretan diet and its
benefits. The “Ancel Keys study” is thought to be the most well known and
the longest in period(it started around the 1960’s and lasted 25 years). The
American cardiologist and his colleagues showed that the Cretans had the
healthier way of living and the lowest mortality rates to cardiovascular
diseases and cancer in comparison to others populations that participated
in the study. After twenty years of research, Cretans had the lowest
mortality in total and after twenty five years of observation, deaths from
coronary heart disease ware impressively less than in the USA, or in the
Northern Europe, or even in other South European countries.
 Furthermore, we shouldn’t forget the particular Cretan way of living mostly
of the men of rural Crete, that completes the ‘’Cretan diet model’’and adds
benefits to the health of the islanders along with the nutrition. They have an
active way of living, their meals are at steady hours and they consider food
a part of their social life. Lunch and primarily dinner, is a fun event that all
family and friends get together around the table to eat and share their news
and often their troubles or dilemmas.
 In addition, we must emphasize one more characteristic, the so called
‘’paradox ‘’ of the Cretan diet, that is mention in the book of Nikos and
Maria Psilaki “Cretan Traditional cuisine”. The paradox is that the Cretans
consume a lot of fat, more than the average American or any other
European, but the crucial factor is that Cretans get their fat from olive oil
and olives, instead of animal fat and they eat it mostly raw. To place the
importance of olive oil to the Cretan diet in perspective, consider that

the average olive oil consumption in Spain is 12 liters/person, in Italy
11 liters/person and the US uses about 0.5 liter/person annually. In
Crete, it is 25 liters per person per year.
 In nowadays we all have become aware of the importance of the proper
nutrition and the fact that the food we choose to put in our bodies can be
our ‘’medicine’’ or our ‘’poison’’. Cretan diet and cuisine can be a remedy in
our kitchens and virgin olive oil has been proved to be the golden
ingredient, with countless beneficial qualities.

bottom of page