Christmas 2020: pandemic lockdown. Did you imagine that in 2021 the story would continue? We now have the means, but reality is that the Virus came here to stay. Lucky for us, technology and science offered us -in just one year – vaccines and numerous other benefits of research show us how to fight back but also enjoy some socialization and family moments. Mixing and matching traditions are ideal for making this year special.
Tiganites, diples, loukoumades, isli, melomakarona! So many Greek recipes for Christmas traditional sweets, with just a couple of simple ingredients, easy to find in each corner of Greece! Flour, olive oil, butter, eggs, dried nuts, and the king of sweeteners: honey. Even though these were available locally, the supreme taste derived from spices, usually from the East. If you think about it, each recipe for sweets combines the same things in different proportions, adding some aroma to give its uniqueness. Nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, mahlep, cloves, ginger, and numerous others! Combining them with honey is a boost of taste but also health. This year try to change up the recipes a bit, regarding your preferences in the aromas. Spice up your health!
Cloves and nutmegs are rich in antioxidants, protecting from cancer and free radicals. Also, they yield antibacterial substances that are widely used, especially in their essential oils. I can remember my last visit to dentist, something like a taste of clove came into my mouth. Also, both can improve your blood sugar control. If you have a bad breath from bad oral health, chew 3-4 cloves. Both cloves and nutmegs are rich in manganese, a mineral good for the bone health, so it may be good for osteoporosis. Also, they can help you with stomach ulcers.
Tradition has this unique power – nice ways to combine healthy ingredients from Mother Earth from Greece and the Far East. Feed your imagination and play with your ingredients!
* The above is not medical advice but mere suggestions for improving your diet. Before reach herbal use you should consult your doctor, especially those who have health issues, are pregnant or are under the age of 6.
Evropi-Sofia Dalampira holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics and an MSc in Botany-Biology.