Greek cuisine was rated the second best in the world for 2021 by TasteAtlas, a travel guide focused on international cuisines and traditional dishes.
The list, which was compiled based on over 100,000 user ratings, also included the most delicious traditional foods from a variety of international cuisines, and a number of Greek dishes topped the rankings.
Greek food ranked second overall across the globe, with a score of 4.73 out of five, after Italian cuisine, which came in first place with a score of 4.78.
The Greek dish “gemista,” or vegetables stuffed with rice and herbs, was voted the top vegetable-based food in the world, and “dakos,” a Cretan salad with tomatoes, feta, olive oil, and rusks was ranked the world’s best salad.
After Italy and Greece, Spain, Romania, and Mexico all ranked amongst the tastiest cuisines in the world.
Greek cuisine delicious and healthy
Not only is Greek cuisine delicious, but it is also extremely healthy. In fact, many dieticians and doctors agree that the Mediterranean diet is the healthiest in the world.
As a rule, the Mediterranean diet is mainly plant-based, as it is high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, and unprocessed grains while low in meat and meat products (which are traditionally only eaten only a few times per month).
Adherents to the diet also consume a reduced amount of dairy products.
These ingredients are bound together by olive oil, an essential ingredient when it comes to defining the basics of healthy Greek food and the Mediterranean diet.
High in monounsaturated fatty acids, carotenoids, antioxidants, vitamin C, and polyphenols as well as other vitamins and minerals, the Greek diet is composed of exceptionally healthy foods.
Grains are whole or in the form of bread or pasta cooked al dente, which lowers the glycemic index. Minimally-processed foods, which are a staple in the Greek diet, also provide prebiotic fiber, which promotes intestinal health.
According to several studies, the Mediterranean diet is associated with reduced risk of several chronic diseases, including cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Some have even linked it to preventing depression.
As an integral part and expression of the local culture, the Mediterranean diet is mostly based on home cooking, using local ingredients.
Vegetables are the stars in Mediterranean diet
Vegetables are prominent in the Mediterranean diet, and they often make up main dishes rather than side dishes, as is common in the standard American diet. Rich in water, which hydrates the body, vegetables are also excellent sources of vitamins and minerals, which are needed to boost the immune system.
Omega-3 fatty acids and fish are perhaps the ace in the hole of the Mediterranean diet, however. Sardines, salmon, herring, and trout are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids and are cardioprotective.
They are known to help lower triglyceride levels in the blood and are essential to the operation and development of the nervous system. They are even believed to deter the development of degenerative dementia.
Nuts, including almonds and walnuts, are common in the diet of these areas. All tree nuts are rich in gamma-tocopherol and vitamin E, which help regulate the levels of lipids, lowering levels of LDL cholesterol to prevent clogging of the arteries by plaque formation.
Whole grains are better in general than processed cereals because they retain more of their nutritional value.
Wholegrain breads, pasta and rice can easily be added to any diet, and they can have a protective effect against various types of cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.