Greek breakfast…the way it should be.

Greek breakfast…the way it should be.

Which is worse as practice: not eating breakfast or consuming whatever is available in your fridge or cupboards? Is it really better to choose something from the bakery shop?

Although we are proud of having “the best cuisine” in the world, we are not known of having a breakfast of equal value. Be careful though; don’t stick with pancakes and pies (made of cheese, ham or milk), so as to avoid needing a cardiologist before turning 50 years old.

So, does a proper Greek breakfast mean, using only products farmed and grown on our land? As you will read, I chose 8 Greek products due to their health benefits and capacity of providing energy throughout the day.


Eggs are actually one of the best choices for breakfast. I am obviously not referring to fried or scrambled eggs. Studies report that consuming eggs as breakfast increases satiety and restricts energy intake in the next meal, as well as assists blood sugar and insulin control (1, 2, 3). Eggs also contain significant amount of choline, which is essential for brain and liver health (4). Despite their high cholesterol content, eggs don’t raise blood cholesterol levels. In fact, eggs reduce cardiovascular risk by modifying LDL cholesterol structure and increasing HDL cholesterol levels, whereas improving insulin sensitivity (5).

Greek yogurt

Our, famous abroad, Greek yogurt is a unique fermentation product with high protein content.  As a result, yogurt’s (and other dairy products’) protein promotes satiety by increasing PYY and GLP-1 hormones blood levels, and aids control body weight (6). After all, many types of Greek yogurt are good sources of probiotics (e.g. Bifidobacterium) that maintain intestinal integrity and health (7).


Even though we don’t produce coffee, it’s a rather significant part of our breakfast. Caffeine helps to improve mood and cognitive performance, even in small amounts (8). In addition, coffee is rich in antioxidants that degrade inflammation, protect integrity of blood vessels, and decrease diabetes and liver disease risk (9-11).


It sounds foreign but we actually produce oats, mainly on mountain or acidic soil. In early days, we used oats as provender or to make groats. Just to be up to date, we now recommend raw or soaked oat with yogurt or milk. Oat contains beta-glucan that reduces blood cholesterol levels (12) and increases satiety by promoting PYY hormone secretion (13). In addition, oat is rich in antioxidants that protect cardiovascular system (14).


I’m not referring to Northern European fruits, but to the crops of our mulberry tree. Its most tasty berries are the black and the red ones. They are rich in antioxidants, exerting anti-inflammatory and cardio protective effects (15, 16).


Adding nuts to your breakfast enhances satiety and helps avoiding body weight gain (17, 18). Most of them are energy dense, so you have to use them as part of a meal and not on their own (19). Nuts are proven to reduce risk for cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and inflammation (20-22), mainly due to their high magnesium, potassium, and monounsaturated fatty acids content. Thus, in a recent research, replacing 2 portions of carbohydrates with 60 gr nuts resulted in blood sugar and cholesterol decline (23).


All fruits provide vitamins, potassium, fiber, whereas are poor in calories, too. In addition, citrus fruits are good sources of vitamin C. As part of your breakfast, fruit can make you feel more full as a result of their high water and fiber content (24). It is also beyond any doubt that we can choose from a vast variety of fruits, both fresh and dried.


Flaxseeds are rich in viscous fiber, which help you feel full for several hours after a meal (25). Bear in mind that only 2 tablespoonful of flaxseed provide 3 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber.  Because of its composition, studies indicate that it enhances insulin sensitivity, and decreases blood sugar levels, whereas it exerts protective effects against breast cancer (26, 27).

One more point

Try adding Greek honey, molasses or sourdough bread to your breakfast, especially if you don’t like oats.

In other words, combine 2 or more foods (from the list above) so as to have a proper breakfast that will provide boost and energy for the rest of the day.

By George Milessis Msc – Clinical Dietitian


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