THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET
In 1999 the National Centre for Nutrition, of tire National School for public Health, beaded by Mrs. Antonia Trichopoulou, in collaboration with the Hellenic Chemistry Laboratory and company RTD of of Food Industry (ETAT.S.A.) conducted a large scale research concerning the nutritional value of a group of 17 different wild herbs which were used in cottage pie recipes.Scientific examination of Cretan pies confirmed the existence of flavonoids, substances of plant origin containing flavone in various combinations (anthoxanthins, apigenins, flavones, quercitins, etc.) and with varying biological activities. These substances are antioxidant and found in fruit and vegetables. Medical research on flavonoids has proven their positive action in preventing cardiovascular diseases and tumor growths. The raw herbs or greens used in Cretan pies are rich in flavonoids while significant amounts are retained even after the pies are cooked. Herbs and greens rich in flavonoids are: the fennel, leek, poppy flower, sorrel and wild carrot.The green parts of dandelion are rich in vitamin A. The nettle is a significant source of iron and carotene B. The chicory is rich in vitamin B12 which is necessary for cell function. The seeds of the wild rosebush are rich in vitamin C and the carob-beans in proteins. The mint and thyme are characterised by anticeptic and anti-microbial qualities, while sage is used to heal wounds of the oral cavity. The chemical constitution of grapes is similar to mother's milk while the consumption of a glass of red wine protects the arteries of the heart. Fruit provide ample vegetable fibers and minerals which aid the function of the intestines.
EIGHT BASIC POINTS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET
1. High ratio of monounsaturates (olive oil) over saturated lipids (butter, lard).
2. Moderate consumption of alcohol (1-2 glasses of red wine / day)
3. High consumption of greens / vegetables.
4. High consumption of cereals (including whole grain bread)
5. High consumption of fruits.
6. High consumption of herbs
7. Low consumption of meat and related products
8. Low consumption of milk and dairy products.