Eating a healthy diet is vital in maintaining a healthy weight, boosting the immune system, and keeping diseases often associated with aging at bay. The Greek diet has long been associated with health benefits and longevity. The following foods and drink have been shown in studies over the years to improve health, but are only a guide to a more varied and healthy way of eating. Consult with your physician before making any radical changes to your diet or exercise routine, especially if you take certain medications which can be affected by the food and drink you consume.
Cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, and red cabbage are full of nutrients including many carotenoids like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin; vitamins C, E, and K; folate; and minerals. Also a good fiber source, the cruciferous vegetables help protect cells from DNA damage, and have antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory effects.
Water lowers the risk of blood clots and boosts energy, so make sure you drink enough, about eight 8-ounce glasses a day, depending on your activity level and the dryness of the climate. Food and other beverages also supply some water throughout the day, but the best choice to stay hydrated is water.
Berries contain antioxidants that prevent disease and cell damage.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant.
Leafy greens have been shown in studies to help longevity; 1 cup daily may help you live longer.
Coffee may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and has been linked to longer life.
Green tea lowers risk of heart disease and cancer.
Probiotic-rich foods packed with ‘good bacteria’ like yogurt, pickles, and sauerkraut, have been linked to better immunity and gut health
Fatty fish with heart healthy Omega-3s like salmon, anchovies, and mackerel should be a part of a healthy diet. Studies have shown that centenarians eat less meat and more fish. People should try to eat 2-3 servings of fish per week.
Beans, an important part of the Greek diet, are high in fiber, low in fat, and packed with nutrients. The people who live the longest in the world eat mostly plants, and beans are a great source of plant-based protein.
Whole grains with their high fiber content are also an important food for living longer. Fiber promotes gut health and could protect against cancer and heart disease. A high fiber diet can lower the risk of dying from any cause, as reported in Prevention magazine.
Red Cabbage Salad
1 small head of red cabbage, shredded
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons Greek extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Greek sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
Toss the cabbage and onion together in a large salad bowl. Add the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or marinate for 20-30 minutes. Toss again before serving. The salad can also be covered tightly and stored in the refrigerator for two hours or more, as needed. Toss before serving.