Health really does start from the inside out; if you’re hoping to bolster your immune system, strengthen your gut, and generally feel more resilient this Christmas, then you need to focus on what you’re putting into your body. Whilst mince pies are indisputably delicious, it’s important that you balance these festive finds with nutritious foods. After all, balance is key and a healthy diet is fundamental for good health.
Thankfully, by incorporating a few simple ingredients into your diet, you can feel like a whole new you! Plus, by being creative, you can celebrate these ingredients in delicious, seasonal dishes which won’t put a halt to your celebrations. Perfect!
Charlie Menegatos is the owner of London restaurant chain Going Greek. To help you understand which ingredients you should be eating every day and why they’re so good for you, he’s sharing his expertise. Meanwhile, Charlie outlines some mouth-watering, simple dishes, bringing these ingredients into your diet with ease. If you’re looking for endless inspiration, this is the go-to guide for you.
Spinach is filled with health benefits; for a leafy green that’s innately good for you, it really does exceed expectations – especially when consumed on a daily basis. For example, regularly consuming spinach will support your blood circulation, leave your skin glowing, aid bone strength, ease stress, and much more.
Fortunately, spinach is also incredibly versatile; you can easily and creatively incorporate it into your everyday diet. At Going Greek, our spinach pie is an absolute hit and it’s anything but boring – savoury pastry filled with spinach, feta cheese, and onions, this ‘spinach pie’ is a surprisingly light bite which doesn’t scrimp on flavour. Spinach needn’t only come in a salad.
2. Olive oil
As the owner of Greek restaurants, and someone who’s incredibly proud of their heritage, I’m well versed in the benefits of olive oil – it really is liquid gold. Why? Olive oil contains vast amounts of antioxidants, has strong anti-inflammatory properties, isn’t associated with weight gain (despite what low-cal sprays suggest), prevents heart disease, and is even thought to help fight Alzheimer’s. If anything forms the foundation of a healthy dish, it’s olive oil.
You can use olive oil in almost anything you cook; if you’re frying, add a dash of olive oil and voila! Meanwhile, you can add a splash to side dishes like hummus to make your Christmas nibbles that bit healthier. Nothing is off limits.
Nuts are a great source of nutrients, are loaded with antioxidants, lower cholesterol, help to reduce inflammation, reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke and, as a bonus, taste great. They’re also the perfect Christmas snack – if there isn’t a bowl on your coffee table, I’m surprised.
However, there are lots of other tasty ways to enjoy nuts. For example, baklava is renowned for being mouth-wateringly delicious, whilst it’s filled to the brim with finely chopped nuts. Who knew something so indulgent contained so many genuinely healthy ingredients?
Eggs are a great food to eat regularly – or as often as you can. They contain zinc, which supports your immune system, lots of essential vitamins, selenium, a cancer-fighting antioxidant, calcium, and a great amount of protein.
If you’d enjoy eggs with a Greek twist, a traditional dish we enjoy is Strapatsatha; scrambled eggs made with tomatoes and, if you like, feta cheese. It’s refreshing, flavoursome, and starts your day off perfectly.
You can enjoy sweet foods that are healthy too. Berries are a fantastic option; they improve your blood sugar levels, are high in fibre, help fight inflammation, protect against cancer, and much more.
Berries are of course very versatile and the dishes they can be added to are wonderfully simple. The easiest? Add some berries and honey to Greek yoghurt for a superfood breakfast.