International chef Gordon Ramsay caused a sensation and a new culinary war following his assertion that he thought Greek food was better than Italian, on ITV’s Gordon, Gino & Fred Go Greek which screened on Monday night.
Ramsay’s co-host Italian TV chef Gino D’Acampo was stunned and left speechless at the proclamation of Hellenic culinary superiority as he struggled to string a few words together in defence of Cucina italiana. Viewers were left in stitches!
Let’s face it, both cuisines are a dream and we love them equally, but Gordon Ramsay’s reasoning was motivated by the health benefits of Greek cuisine.
In the ‘health’ department, Greek is in fact superior to all cuisines when considering nutritional and health benefits which lead to longevity as confirmed in many scientific studies. With fewer sauces and more vegetables than Italian, the Greek cuisine is very attractive to vegetarians as well.
The culinary roots of many Italian dishes can be traced back to Greece with the first olive trees believed to have been cultivated in Greece, creating the foundation of almost all Mediterranean dishes – olive oil. The first book is in fact said to have been created by the Greek Archestratus in 320 BCE with the influence of Greek cuisine spreading to ancient Rome and throughout Europe.
“The Greek diet is regarded as one of the healthiest in the world because it’s based largely around fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, fish, and a small amount of cheese and yoghurt. Non-meat protein sources in the form of beans and legumes such as fava, split peas, and lentils are also a popular staple, usually used in soups, stews and salads. This array of foods looks a lot like what I regard as a healthy, balanced diet.
“The Greeks are also famous for their love of olive oil, which is lower in saturated fat than butter, and therefore a good choice for cooking. If you’ll forgive some geeky science, recent evidence published by the PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) journal shows that the combination of olive oil and leafy salad or vegetables is what gives the Mediterranean diet its healthy edge, because the formation of nitro fatty acids between the two food groups lowers blood pressure. So I recommend that as a side, whatever you’re eating!” writes Laura Matthews, head of nutrition at Jamie Oliver.
As reported recently by Greek City Times, the American health portal Healthline, placed the Greek cuisine at the top of its annual list of healthiest cuisines in the world.
Healthline emphasised the benefits that Greek foods and ingredients can offer to people’s health, skin, hair and also, mentioned that the Greek diet is known to “bring longevity” and is the “most recommended diet among nutritionists”, as it is mostly plant-based.
“The Greek cuisine is a perfect manifestation of the Mediterranean diet, which actually originated on the island of Crete, where locals have a higher life expectancy and a lower risk of heart disease than the average person, due to the food they eat,” Healthline wrote.