The Cretan cuisine is famous for its delicious dishes that are cooked with pure traditional ingredients, almost always with the exceptional olive oil of the island. It also enjoys the respect of the scientific world, as the Cretan diet is considered to be very healthy and it gives well-being and longevity. The "Seven Countries Study", that was directed by the American scientist Ancel Keys at the end of 1950s, showed that the inhabitants of Crete had lower rates of cancer and cardiovascular diseases and lower all-cause mortality compared to the population of the other countries that were studied. This was followed by numerous surveys, which praise the Cretan diet and suggest that this nutrition leads to a healthy lifestyle. The olive oil-rich Mediterranean cuisine of the island is a subject of discussion about its benefits in scientific conferences and is regarded as a proper dietary pattern, which can replace the harmful and fattening junk foods with animal fat that dominate the western world.
The Cretan cuisine uses the rich flora of the island that includes many native indigenous plants. The olive oil, which is beneficial for the human body, is used in recipes raw or cooked, while a large part of the diet consists of various wild vegetables and the aromatic herbs that grow in the fertile soil of the region. Significant role play the fresh and dry fruits, the nuts, the cereals, the legumes, the milk, the yogurt, the cheese, the wine, the "raki" and the honey. Of particular interest are various mouth-watering delicacies such as the "kalitsounia", the "myzithropites", the "ladokouloura", the "boureki" and the "dakos", the famous local barley rusk. Cretans also love snails, which are cooked fried or boiled. Emblematic dish of the kitchen of the island is the "gamopilafo" that is prepared with rice, "stakovoutyro" and sheep or goat meat. Fish and seafood were mainly in the recipes of the coasts but nowadays are eaten everywhere in great variety. Crete is a real gastronomic paradise that attracts the connoisseurs of food and every visitor.
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