The Cretan Nutrition:
Symposium, UN Headquarters, New York
Ladies and Gentlemen,
My dear compatriots of America,
I am honored to address this interesting symposium on the Cretan nutrition here, in the headquarters of the United Nations.
Indeed, the island of Crete had attracted the attention of the scientific community as early as 1948, when researchers from the Rockefeller Foundation of the United States were summoned by the Greek Government in an attempt to improve, in the post-war era, the «bad» living conditions of the Cretans. This is why a detailed assessment of the Cretan diet was undertaken, and – to the surprise of the researchers – it proved to be nutritionally sufficient. In general, the researchers concluded that «in total, the way of nutrition and the nutritional habits in Crete were very well adapted to the natural and economic resources of the area, as well as to the needs of its inhabitants».
It is obvious that the connection between the diet and the health of the inhabitants of Crete has been widely known since antiquity. Moreover, according to the United Nations data archives for cardiovascular diseases, Crete has the lowest percentage of such patients in the Mediterranean area.
The same applies for the coronary disease. The number of deaths in Finland, for example, is ten times greater and in the United States 7 times greater than in Crete.
The secret of the Cretan nutrition is the consumption of seasonal products, which undergo minimal processing or even no processing at all! Fresh and dried fruits, pulses, endemic wild herbs and aromatic plants, and rough cereals, whose cultivation is favored by the regional climate, are consumed in great amounts; dairy products are consumed on a daily basis in low to moderate quantities; poultry and fish on a weekly basis in moderate quantities, but red meat only a few times a month.
Furthermore, some other features might surprise you. In the traditional Cretan diet, almost three times more fat is consumed than in America. Yet, the difference is that the Cretans consume only olive oil, a substantial amount of which is neither boiled nor fried. On the contrary, many Americans, and Europeans as well, use primarily animal fat.
Another surprise concerns the use of bread. Three times more bread is consumed in Crete than in the United States, for example.
Finally, the most common dessert is fresh fruits, while traditional pastry based on honey is consumed several times a week. Besides, the Cretans love honey, which is one of the most important antibacterial types of food. The local honey is one of the best in the world, because of the island’s rich flora.
For all of these reasons, the Cretan diet is famous and… miraculous! The island’s history and geography have created a combination of diet and lifestyle which is highly nutritious, prolonging life and helping to prevent many of the modern diseases that shorten the lifes of millions of people in the Western world. Besides, Western eating habits are responsible for the growing obesity levels in Europe, North America and in all the so-called western nations.
I am confident that this symposium will underline the great importance of the Cretan Nutrition and will provide us with new information. Fortunately, there is a diet that is healthy, natural, tasty – and conducive to a long and healthy life!
I wish you all a great success in promoting the Cretan nutrition. It is good for Crete and its exports, but better still for the consumer.