Cretan Diet and
centuries now maintain the lead in olive oil
consumption, since their yearly consumption amounts to
23-24 kilos per person, as it has been witnessed by
travellers, epidemiological surveys and statistical
last years, there is an increasing reference to the
Cretan diet model, which considerably differs from the
Mediterranean one in terms of the style and the kind of
olive oil used.
Cretan foods are literally drowned in oil.
Mediterranean diet, a term that is often considered too
generalised, became initially worldwide known through
the results of the Seven-Countries study, in which
Crete's population was found to exhibit the lowest death
rate due to coronary diseases compared to other
populations having participated in the research.
According to scientists this is due to the large
quantity of monounsaturated fatty acids contained in
olive oil, which protect the heart in contrast to the
saturated fatty acids of other animal fats (butter,
margarine, lard) included in the diet of North
additional explanation would be the high olive oil
consumption of the Cretan population that comes up to
100 gr per person on a daily basis. This amount also
includes the olive oil intended for frying various
foods, such as fish, cheese, vegetable pies, cheese
pies, meat. Recent scientific data reveal that high
olive oil consumption not only reduces the LDL
cholesterol levels in the blood, but it also prevents
its oxidisation due to the antioxidant substances
contained in olive oil, such as tocopherols, polyphenols,
etc Moreover, olive oil does not reduce HDL levels, as
it is the case with other vegetable oils, rich in
Apart from fatty substances, oil contains small
quantities of other elements, which account for its
These elements comprise vitamins and provitamins (A and E), metals
(selenium) and an entire class of heterogeneous
polyphenols named antioxidants.
These antioxidants protect cells from oxidising stress, active oxygen and
comprise those substances responsible for the damage of
nuclear acids and proteins and are regarded to be the
primary harmful agents of various chronic diseases such
and digestive system:
Olive oil is the most tolerable substance for the human
stomach always in comparison to the other fatty
It exhibits the best index
digestibility and absorption from the intestinal walls.
this way, it contributes to the reduction of gastric
fluids relieving the feeling of indigestion.
Furthermore, it creates the feeling of satiety and
facilitates the digestion of food nutrients.
Clinic researches have shown that olive oil has a large
absorption capacity from the intestine mucous resulting
in relieving many intestine syndromes and contributing
to the normal function of the large intestine.
1932 M. Chirary published the information that Touarte,
the first doctor in 1887, officially recommended olive
oil as a therapeutic medium both against cholelithiasis
and hepatic colics.
According to Chirary, olive oil cannot disappear or
dissolve bilestones, but acts supplementary in the
procedure of biliary secretion.
This is why he recommends that patients suffering from bilestones,
dyspepsia and stomach pains should take 1-2 spoons of
aromatic olive oil with some lemon drops every morning
for 10 days per month.
and skin protection:
Olive oil protects the human skin from solar
radiation and the burns it can cause.
This property is due to the action of its Vitamin E and Provitamin A, as
well as to its polyunsaturated fatty substances.
and old age:
age constitutes a progressive procedure, which is
accompanied by a series of biological changes that
inevitably lead to death.
Researches have shown that aged people that consume
olive oil are protected against alterations of the
central neural system and the brain occurring as time
passes due to the olive oil's antioxidant properties.
accordance with a research conducted by D. Trichopoulos
at the Public Health Department of Harvard University,
women that consume olive oil more than once per day are
25% less likely to suffer from breast cancer in
comparison with those rarely consuming olive oil.
cholesterol and heart diseases:
The dietary model of Mediterranean people and especially
Cretans includes plenty of carbohydrates, increased
quantities of fruits and vegetables, small or medium
quantities of meat and dairy products, enough pulses,
moderate quantities of fish and a lot of vegetable oil,
exclusively olive oil.
underlining cause of cardiovascular diseases is not the
total quantity of fatty substances received through
food, but it is rather the selection of the kind of
Consequently, the proper analogy of saturated and monounsaturated fatty
acids is what protects against heart diseases.
Olive oil, which in essence constitutes one of the most important
monounsaturated fats, increases the good cholesterol and
reduces the bad one building, thus, a very balanced
lipidic system in the blood.
It, thus, inhibits the formation of fat "plates" in artery walls, which
are finally developed in clots and cause coronary or
According to modern clinical observations, olive oil
plays a dynamic role in maintaining diabetes mellitus at
low levels, especially when it comes to
non-insulin-dependent type of diabetes.
Olive oil, when received as the only fatty substance
especially by people with diabetes, acts favourably in
the slow evacuation of the stomach content to the
In this way, the digestion of carbohydrates is achieved at a slow pace
without leading to the abrupt increase of glucose in the
from the book "Oil-Tastes and a 5.000-years old Culture"
by Mirsini Labraki-Mattheaki "Ellinika Grammata"