Eat This Common Food Everyday for a Healthy Heart

June 13, 2014 4 Comments

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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Greek Style Bruschettas with Sardines, Raisins and Pine Nuts

June 9, 2014 Leave a Comment

Greek sardines appetizer

I love mini things when it comes to food. Honestly I would rather just eat appetizers rather than a whole meal. When I have time, some evenings we just eat a bunch of little bites along with some wine for our dinner. It’s like having cocktail hour. It doesn’t have to be fancy or fattening, it can be as simple as some cheese and tomato on a toothpick, some olives, cucumber, carrots etc. etc. In other words a pikilia as we say here in Greece. Pikilia is a bunch of little bites on one plate, it means “variety”. It can also be called a meze, which means a small amount of food to accompany a drink, check here if you want to make your own.

A few posts ago, I discussed how canned fish can be equally healthy and there were a lot of requests for more recipes using canned fish. So here is another one that looks pretty fancy and impressive. This is a quite a transformation for the humble and snubbed canned sardine. Read more »

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Yiayias Greek Fried Pitas Filled with Feta Cheese – Tiropitaria

June 5, 2014 4 Comments

tiropitari

One year I remember we stayed for a whole month at my father’s village in Ahladokambos with my grandma (yiayia) and grandpa (pappou), we were in the process of moving and my parents were looking for a place so they thought our time would be better spent at the horio (village) rather than crowded Athens.

I remember that time fondly now, but back then those were long days. At that time the village was not very accessible, and my grandparents did not drive so we had to be creative with how we spent our time. We walked all over the village every day acting like explorers. The villagers who would meet us would ask us: “tinous eise esy?” which translates whose are you? Meaning who are your parents. So we would explain, and then they would get all excited: “Oh from America?” and they would tell us all their memories of my dad when he was young. We went shopping at the little grocery store, which was fun to get there, but than you had climb up the steep hill to get to our house which was at the upper village. Other activities included reenactments of Jesus Christ Superstar with my then teen sister, visiting the yard next door which included lamb, goats, chickens and a donkey, helping my grandma make hilopites (Greek pasta) and of course eating. Read more »

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Mediterranean Diet May Keep Children Thinner

June 3, 2014 4 Comments

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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Get More Fish in Your Diet. It’s Easy

May 27, 2014 15 Comments

sardines

When we talk about the Mediterranean diet, one of the foods that comes to mind are fish. It is recommended that we eat fish at least twice a week. The reality is that many of us do not eat fish even once a week.

Why? Well I can think of a few reasons: many of us think that it is a lot of work, we never prepare fish at home and because really it is not part of our weekly routine. In reality, fresh fish are easily cooked at home as long as someone cleans them for you. But I’ll talk about that another time. I have a much easier idea to propose. Yes, canned fish. Read more »

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The Art of Greek Hospitality

May 21, 2014 20 Comments

sweets greece

We often hear about how Greeks are hospitable. What is it about Greeks and their obsession with hospitality? The answer would be one word: kerasma.

Today is my name day. Basically, most people in Greece are named after a saint and each saint is celebrated on a specific day. Therefore if you have that name you celebrate that day. So for example today is Saint Constantine’s and Helen’s, and basically anybody who has the name Helen, Eleni, Elena, Constantine, Kostas, Gus etc etc. celebrates today. Yes, that list is pretty long. In Greece name days are more important than birthdays, because everybody knows that it is your name day, so your friends have no excuse of forgetting. Plus you are not celebrating being a year older, but just celebrating your name, which really removes any worries of getting older that you may have. No candles or philosophical thoughts of what to do with your life, just celebrating…your name. Yes, a name day is definitely more fun than a birthday in my humble opinion. Read more »

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Is the Greek Financial Crisis Causing Heart Attacks in Women?

May 19, 2014 Leave a Comment

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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