Nuts is a type of nutrition closely associated with good health and longevity. They are in general rich in minerals, such as calcium, iron and magnesium as well as folate, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids. These result in a strong immune and cardiovascular system and also have anticancer properties. Cretans consume quite a lot of nuts, as Crete has a great amount of walnut, almond and peanut trees. These are the typical accompaniment of coffee or raki and are almost always offered to guests (concept of “kerasma”). Note that in Crete peanuts are sold and offered on their pod, so one needs to clean them before eating them. Similarly walnuts are often offered on their shell which needs to be broken. The regular consumption of nuts, such as almonds, walnuts and peanuts is another contributor to the good health of Cretans.
Chestnuts fall also under this category of foods and are widely consumed, as Crete is producing top quality chestnuts (in the west of the island). Chestnuts are low fat (much lower than other nuts) and very rich in vitamins C and those of the B family as well as folate. They are also great sources of minerals and contribute to lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels. They contain manganese which defends the body against heart disease and cancer. Cretans eat a lot of this health booster food in winter. They either roast them on a fireplace (the perfect snack!) or use them in vegan or meat-based stews.