Superfoods are called all the foods that are rich in nutrients like healthy fats, vitamins, metals, minerals, and antioxidants. They can not do miracles by themselves. They should be part of a complete and balanced diet, as the Mediterranean is, in order to provide us with their benefits.
Fortunately, our country Greece is very rich in superfoods and we will need other articles to describe them all.
The low bush of thyme, that sprouts in rocky grounds, is a characteristic of the Greek nature. The bees love and visit the thyme’s blossoms and provide us with thyme honey, one of the best honey types. The thyme smells splendid, makes the food tastier, at once is rich in antioxidants and healing properties. It is one of the oldest and most reliable herbs. It alleviates dyspepsia, boosts iron blood levels, relieves from cold, composes the natural treatment from cough, improves the eyesight due to vitamin A, adjusts blood pressure, fortifies the bones, decreases the inflammation, deactivates the bacteria and protects the cardiovascular system.
The buckthorn is the fruit of a hardwood bush, which if it is cropped properly can become a tree-like olive tree. The science confirms its healing use. Nowadays it is grown in North Greece. The buckthorn of Kozani in North Greece is very well known. We use mainly the fruit, its juice, and its oil. It is brought out in the form of capsules (dietary supplements), of essential oil ( the most forceful form), of powder, of dried fruits, and of course of fresh fruits in organic stores and chosen supermarkets. It is extremely rich in vitamin C (15 times more than the orange), in vitamin E, in carotenoids which are the heralds of vitamin A, in healthy lipids, in amino acids (18 different types from which the 8 of them are necessary for the human body), in antioxidants at once in calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, copper, potassium, sodium, selenium and zinc. Remember that the cheap Chinese baked buckthorn has none nutritional value.
Caper is a small rebel plant that grows near the sea and at rocky grounds. Its blossoms, when they are even like eyeballs, are collected and placed into salty water and vinegar. This is the caper we all know, that is collected during May, June, and July. The caper and its leaves are used mainly in salads and many more recipes. They have a spicy taste, unique smell, and very low calories. Due to its process, it is enough salty, so if you wish to lower the saltiness, you should rinse it before use. It is high content in vitamins A, E, C, and K, enough protein, folic acid, calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, copper, selenium, fatty acids, fiber, and valuable antioxidants. Its tea deals with the vaginal mycosis. Moreover, it is known for the prevention of chest congestion, the hydration of the skin, and the fighting of skin dryness. It contributes to the healing of skin disorders such as redness, irritations, and acne. It is used against wasp’s stings and snake bites and very often in hair care products.
The herbal mountain tea is one of the most famous herbs of Greek Nature with 17 grown wild varieties in mountainous areas. It is well known also as Greek tea. It is caffeine-free, that is why you can drink many cups during the day, especially during colds, even one before sleep. It is rich in valuable antioxidants and deals effectively with colds, nasal congestion, breathing problems, and intense cough. It relieves from stomachache and dyspepsia. It is restorative, diuretic, and intensively styptic against diarrhea and colitis. Moreover, it is palliative, perspiring, detoxing, heater, and spasmolytic for the respiratory system. It helps against anemia due to its iron content, boosts the immune system, relieves stress, and helps the prevention of cancer due to many precious antioxidants. Unfortunately, the enormous demand for the mountain tea, threats it with a disappearance.
The black raisin or black gold used to be the number one export product ( during the 19th century) and basic element of the Greeks’ nutrition.” The raisin for Greece was like coffee for Brazil ” Mr. Xenofon Zolotas once said! The raisins from Northern and Western Peloponnese, Achaia, Ileia, Messinia, Zakynthos and Kefalonia islands are fine with the greatest ones those from Korinthos. The raisins even baked into rusks, cakes, bread keep maintaining their nutrition values. They are rich in potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, fiber, probiotics, and polyphenols. They have a high glycemic index due to fructose content. This way it is the perfect energy and heating food for the climbers.
In 1996, the European Union assorted the pistachios from Aigina island as ” Product of Protected Name Origin”. Pistachios have healthy fats and low calories. They are awesome fiber source that regulates perfectly the digestive action and offers a serious filling feeling compared to other snacks. They are rich in vitamin E, so they contribute to skin health whereas they boost the immune and nervous system due to their vitamin B6 content. Their healthy fatty acids help hair health and can prevent even hair loss. They contribute to the good eyesight and act against macular degeneration due to antioxidants content and protect the cell tissues from free radical damage.
We are not done here with our superfoods. We will be back soon with another article!
Bibliography: Superfoods of Greece, Dr. Despoina Katsohi
Guide of dietary treatment, Anna Kanellos