Olive oil: Olive oil is the most representative source of monounsaturated fatty acids and is rich in antioxidants. It has been proven to have cardioprotective properties and significantly contributes to the increase of good HDL cholesterol. Also, olive oil exhibits protective properties against breast cancer. Because it displays higher thermal resistance during cooking, its use is recommended as the main source of fat in the Ikarian and Mediterranean diets. Olive oil provides heart-healthy monounsaturated fats as well as antioxidants like vitamin E, and it has anti-inflammatory benefits.

Ikarian Goat milk and cheese is antioxidant-rich and high in tryptophan, easy to digest. It is consumed raw and unhomogenized which preserves enzymes and certain nutrients.

Ikarian Red Wine which contains high levels of antioxidants has been shown to increase the absorption of antioxidants from other foods in the diet and lowers blood pressure when consumed in moderation.

Greek Coffee is beneficial for circulation and protects against Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and dementia to promote blood vessel dilation and inhibit arteriosclerosis.

Antioxidants: Food sources rich in antioxidants help people live longer because they block free radicals produced by the human body and are responsible for stress and aging. The antioxidants include various vitamins such as C, E, Q10, B-carotene, lycopene, and selenium, and are found in all fruits and vegetables with bright colors, such as citrus, tomato, kiwi, pomegranate, watermelon, berries, etc.

Pulses: Lentils are one of the oldest pulses in the Eastern Mediterranean and one of the most important on Ikaria. Most people cook them up in simple soups.

Vegetables: This group of edibles helps the bowel function. Vegetables are rich in water and hydrate the body, while they are also a source of vitamins and minerals needed to boost the immune system. For example, carrots are rich in vitamin D, which protects your eyes and skin, tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which reduces the risk of certain types of cancer and chronic diseases, potatoes are rich in potassium, which regulates blood pressure, and broccoli is a source of calcium for strong bones. Vegetables additionally contain large amounts of folic acid (especially dark green leafy vegetables which Ikarian eat large amounts of, which has been found to protect from cardiovascular problems and pregnancy defects. Wild leafy vegetables found all over Ikaria contain high amounts of flavonoids.

Garlic: protects both the heart and brain cells. Garlic detoxifies and strengthens the immune system, can lower cholesterol, and blood pressure, and deter blood clotting. Another property of garlic is that it combats bacteria and fungi, and therefore reduces the risk of infections and food poisoning.

Berries: These are an exceptionally good source of antioxidants protecting against various degenerative diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Fish: Sardines, salmon, herring, and trout are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids and are cardioprotective, help lower triglyceride levels in the blood, and are very essential to the operation and development of the nervous system, preventing the development of degenerative dementia.

Nuts: Like almonds and walnuts, are rich in gamma-tocopherol and vitamin E, which help monitor the levels of lipids, lowering levels of LDL cholesterol to prevent clogging of the arteries with plaque formation.

Wholegrain cereals and bread have a low glycemic index and are healthier because they have undergone less processing, thus retaining more of their nutritional value. They exert a protective effect against various types of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease and aid greatly the digestive process.

Mountain Herbal teas: Sage tea with honey was “our childhood antibiotic,” as my Ikarians still drink this when they feel a cold coming on, chamomile for insomnia, fliskouni pennyroyal tea - nature’s antibiotic.

Honey: Ikarian thyme honey, is said to be a key part of the local’s recipe for longevity.

Mint: has among the highest antioxidant values of any food. Its anti-inflammatory effects help alleviate allergies and colds. It calms the digestive tract and improves digestion and may help treat or prevent irritable bowel syndrome.

Rosemary: stimulates immune function and improves circulation, particularly to the brain, and digestion. Its anti-inflammatory benefits have been used to ward off asthma attacks.

Artemisia:, also known as wormwood, is one of nature’s most potent antiparasitic herbs.

Sage: helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels and also preserves memory and cognitive function. Infused in tea with honey creates a natural antibiotic drink that wards off colds/flu.

Dandelion: is well known for its liver-cleansing benefits. It also builds bone strength, stimulates insulin production, and helps flush the kidneys.

1 ½ pounds / 750 g sweet potatoes

Recipe for Soufiko

Soufiko is an authentic summer Ikarian dish. It is greasy and suitable for vegetarians. The recipe has a tradition of years, it is quite simple and very tasty!


• 3 medium tomatoes

• 4-5 onions

• 3 eggplants

• 5 medium zucchini

• 2 carrots

• 2 potatoes

• 2 cloves of garlic

• 1 cup olive oil

• water

• salt

• pepper

• tomato puree

• optional: small hot pepper

The quantities of materials are indicative and may vary depending on the portions.


Cut all vegetables into large chunks. Place them all in a large, deep skillet. Leave them to cook until wilted and drink their fluids. Then, pour the oil and some water so as not to dry. Add salt, pepper and tomato paste, for more color and flavor. Optionally, put a small hot pepper, if you like it spicier.


Serve it with cheese kathoura or little extra freshly ground pepper.