Over the past years, the increased interest in healthy eating for the attainment of optimal health, has contributed to an increased demand for traditional foods, since traditional foods are more than often considered healthy. This has consequently led to an increased research interest on traditional foods and their health aspects, which have been substantiated through the determination of their macro and micro nutrient and also their phytochemical composition.
Of note that, the universal acknowledgment of the Mediterranean diet as a model of healthy and sustainable nutrition, imply to the recognition of the traditional food that this diet integrates. But, this nutritional inheritance is in danger of being vanished due to the changes of lifestyle. Traditional foods are considered a legacy long lasting throughout the centuries and passed on to us by our ancestors. Due to changes in lifestyle this national legacy is slowly but steadily disappearing. The investigation of traditional foods leads to the preservation of important elements of our cultural inheritance. Therefore it is our responsibility to register and investigate them focusing on health, cultural and standardization aspects of traditional foods, thus preserving our culinary inheritance.
Many traditional foods besides considered healthy are also palatable providing a promising combination for the productive and export activities of the food industry. However, the increased demand for traditional foods fosters the potential for launching into the food market poor imitations of traditional foods, misleading consumers. Thus, the systematic investigation of the nutritional value of traditional foods and recipes are needed, as well as the investigation of the historical and cultural identity of the simple and composite foods (recipes). With this way, scientific data would be gathered, which substantiate the influence of the simple and composite foods on health and help,simultaneously, the Food Composition tables to be enriched with new data and evidence based records related to the traditional character of foods and meals, which could be further used for claims.
We hope that MetroFood will give the opportunity to further collaborate in this direction.
Eleni Peppa1, Despyna Tsipi2 & Antonia Trichopoulou1
1Hellenic Health Foundation
2General State Chemical Laboratory
- Trichopoulou A, Soukara, S, Vasilopoulou E. Traditional foods: A science and society perspective. Trends Food Sci Tech. 2007; 18:420-7
- Trichopoulou A, Vasilopoulou E, Georga K, Soukara S, Dilis, V. Traditional foods: why and how to sustain them. Trends Food Sci Tech. 2006;17:498-504.