Nutrition

Eat This Common Food Everyday for a Healthy Heart

Tomatoes and capers

What do Greeks eat everyday in one form or another? Tomatoes. In the summer tomato and in the winter other tomato products such as tomato paste or tomato sauce. We add tomatoes to food almost as often as we add olive oil.

Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C, they have very few calories and most importantly they are source of the antioxidant lycopene. This antioxidant has been shown to protect from some types of cancer but also protect the heart. According to researchers from the University of Cambridge lycopene stabilized the function of the endothelium. The endothelium is a group of cells that line the inside of our blood vessels. When these cells are not functioning properly, it may lead to atherosclerosis-hardening of the arteries. The researchers found that lycopene improved the widening of the blood vessels by 53 percent, wide blood vessels is a good thing whereas narrowing of blood vessels can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Read more »

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Mediterranean Diet May Keep Children Thinner

eating

Well, this is not really surprising, considering that the Mediterranean diet is associated with a normal weight in adults. In this study, presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Bulgaria, Swedish researchers from the University of Gothenburg looked at weight and diet of 9000 children in 8 European countries including Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain and Sweden and found that children who followed a Mediterranean style diet were 15 percent less likely to be overweight or obese. Read more »

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Is the Greek Financial Crisis Causing Heart Attacks in Women?

museum Greece

The World Congress on Acute Heart Failure is currently taking place here in Athens, Greece and two studies were presented by cardiologists Dimitra Papadimitriou and Alexios Samentzas showing that there has been an increase in hospital admissions during the crisis for heart attacks and atrial fibrillation (the most common type of heart arrhythmia-irregular heart rate ). The researchers compared a period before the crisis and the period when the financial crisis began until to 2012. The results showed that there has been an increase in heart attacks, but it was statistically significant only for women. The heart attack increase was also noticed for people under the age of 45, but again only statistically significant for women. The second study measuring arrhythmias, also showed that there was an increase in hospital admissions, again mainly for women. Read more »

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This is the Real Greek Yogurt

Greek Yogurt 1

See that layer of skin on the surface of the yogurt? That’s what I’m talking about. Since I’m here to clarify what a real Mediterranean diet is, I am taking the opportunity to explain what a real Greek yogurt is.

Of course for a few years now everyone knows what Greek yogurt is. Right? It’s that thick, strained yogurt that has lot more protein than regular yogurt. Right? Wrong. Read more »

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The Mediterranean Diet Manifesto

As you know I am passionate about the Mediterranean diet, the diet I was raised on, but more importantly I am passionate about presenting the real Mediterranean diet as it once was and not a watered-down version of it. So I present to you the Mediterranean Diet Manifesto.

Here is what we all need to know and remember to do:

mediterranean diet manifesto

Written by Elena Paravantes. Designed by Georgia Belekou of Cambo Industries
Copyright © 2014 Olive Tomato. All Rights Reserved.

 

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No to the Adulterated Version of The Mediterranean Diet

Greek Santorini Salad

When I first started this site, one of the reasons I began writing here was to clarify the misconceptions and misunderstandings involving the Mediterranean diet. But first let me make a few things clear:

I did not “discover” the Mediterranean diet during a summer vacation to Italy and Greece.

I did not “discover” the Mediterranean diet in the pages of a magazine or on TV

I did not “discover” the Mediterranean diet in a classroom during my studies in Nutrition.

I was raised on the Mediterranean Diet. Read more »

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Beans, A Mediterranean Diet Staple, May Be the Secret to Lower Cholesterol Levels

beanssss

A new a review of 26 studies from a group of Canadian and U.S. researchers found that consumption of beans also known as legumes, is associated with a significant reduction of LDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is known as the “bad” cholesterol, it is the one that gathers at the blood vessels and potentially can cause narrowing of the arteries and eventually clots. HDL on the other hand is the good cholesterol that scavenges and removes the bad LDL cholesterol transporting it to the liver to reprocess it.

Now in this study, prominent researchers from the University of Toronto, Harvard University and McMaster University to name a few found that eating only a mere ¾ cup of beans (130 grams or 4.5 ounces) was associated with reduction of LDL cholesterol levels by 5%. That is significant. The researchers noted that they conducted this study because basically beans were not included in any heart health  guidelines or that there was not enough evidence.  Read more »

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5 Ways to Eat More Vegetables The Greek Way

horta

A recent study published in the British Medical Journal showed that individuals who consumed 7 or more servings of vegetables a day had a reduced risk of dying from cancer and heart disease.

While we know that the traditional Greek diet was mostly vegetarian due to the religious fasts, but also to economic reasons, today Greeks have moved away from their traditional diet eating a more westernized diet, but surprisingly still consume plenty of vegetables. In fact, according to a 2010 OECD report, Greece has the highest consumption of vegetables per capita in Europe based on supply and production, however it is mostly older Greeks that still eat more vegetables. Here is how we do it: Read more »

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Eat Like a Greek and You May Avoid a Stroke

oranges

Citrus is a very common ingredient in Greek cuisine. Particularly lemon. I’ve written this before, but I’ll say it again: Greeks add lemon everywhere: on meat, greens, salads, fish and sauces. Orange is added more commonly to sweets such as koulouroukia (cookies) and cakes especially the ones made with olive oil. But during the winter months you’ll see us here in Greece lugging large bags of oranges from the market, especially older people who still follow the traditional Greek diet (Mediterranean). People here ate fruit after meals and in the winter we always had an orange or mandarin as a dessert and as an afternoon snack with some herbal tea. Read more »

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Salt and the Mediterranean Diet

salt and pepper

For many people particularly those with high blood pressure (hypertension), salt is a sensitive issue. The component of salt we worry about is sodium which makes up 40% of salt, the other 60% is Chloride. Now sodium is an essential nutrient for humans, we need it for many functions in our body. Most of us already consume more sodium than needed. Where does that sodium come from? Read more »

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