Now here’s a bit of serendipity where I least expected. I watched Dr. Oz for the first time in a long time last week. His guest was a leading nutritionist who talked about foods that should be in our diet EACH WEEK to attack free radicals --which in turn could lead to a longer life span by avoiding common and deadly cancers.
A few days later I opened an old Bulgarian cookbook which has been on my shelf for years (I’m a first generation American with one parent and grandparents from Bulgaria). I was amazed at how MANY of the recipes contained the VERY foods recommended by the nutritionist. Cabbage, brussel sprouts, beans and pumpkin!
He suggests we eat the above foods at least three times a week as preventative nutrition.
We have by now all heard of the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet and the cookbook also included many of those foods—olive oil, garlic, onions, fish, veggies of all kinds, and a staple at each meal....homemade yogurt. Bulgarian yogurt so thick you could cut it with a knife. (What we now buy in the grocery store as Greek Yogurt.)
Can these foods in our diet really expand our lifespan? At the turn of the century when population statistics were accurate enough to be compared on a large scale, Bulgaria had the largest number of centenarians per capita of all the recorded countries. The Russian born Nobel prize winner, Mechnikov, developed the theory that it was because of the consumption of the local yogurt, which in the high mountain valley of Samokov, was the richest of all yogurts. Researchers established that its rare yeast cleansed the digestive tract in a miraculous way. This rare bacillus was introduced to France and later sold to the multimillion- dollar Dannon yogurt industry.
Which is, by the way, why I always buy Dannon. I mean it’s like sitting down to dinner with my extended family..... great-aunts, great-uncles and cousins I’ve never met... but wish I had so I could thank them for such healthy DNA. (I’ll be posting some traditional Bulgarian recipes in posts to follow).