South Aegean Region towards the implementation of a healthy dietary model

In the framework of the Taste the Season project South Aegean, European Region of Gastronomy 2019 has stipulated an agreement with the Harokopio University of Athens in order to develop a programme which aims to set some standards in the South Aegean diet to develop a healthy nutritional model.

This collaboration will be developed in different stages, the formulation of a dietary model will be only the final outcome, during the previous steps the aim is to create a solid research background. The Harokopio University is one of the first partners involved in the project the South Aegean Region had developed for the Award and it is a leading institution actively engaged in research initiatives. The Scientific Coordinators for this project will be Mr. Labros Sidossis, PhD, Professor in Nutrition – Dietetics at Harokopio University and Dean of the Department of Kinesiology and Health at Rutgers University of USA, and Mrs. Glykeria Psarra, PhD, Scientific Associate of Harokopio University and Assistant Teaching Professor at Rutgers University.

The research process will converge in the creation of a database reflecting the key features of the South Aegean diet. The information collected about the population will include data on agricultural and food products, production methods, meal preparation and dietary habits. The database will allow the experts to elaborate and evaluate the data to implement a final model. The added value of this research project consists on the study of health indicators of South Aegean residents, to this aim a sample of the population will be taken into consideration to investigate the correlation between health and dietary habits.

According to the words of the Regional Vice-Governor in charge of Primary Sector and Gastronomy, Mr. Philimon Zannetidis this initiative constitutes a step forward. Assumed the importance of the valorization and dissemination of the South Aegean gastronomy and the subsequently strict connection of local products with a new kind of tourism based on the peculiar and local features of the region. The project will moreover highlight the interconnection between health and diet in a scientific and empirical way. The holistic approach will demonstrate the intrinsic value of the link among local products, production methods, climate, soil conditions, nutritional habits, cultural and food traditions of the region.

The European Region of Gastronomy Platform and Award aim to contribute to better quality of life in European regions, by highlighting distinctive food cultures, educating for better health and sustainability and stimulating gastronomic innovation. IGCAT (International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism) organises the award with the support of European institutions.

IGCAT is a non-profit organisation established in 2012 working in the fields of gastronomy, culture, arts and tourism. Through its worldwide network of experts, IGCAT aims to empower local communities by guiding, facilitating, and supporting local leaders in cities, regions and cultural projects to understand the potential of their distinct food, culture, arts and sustainable tourism assets. IGCAT is the official secretariat for the Region of Gastronomy Platform and provides the European Region of Gastronomy Award, the European Young Chef Award and the Innovative Food Souvenir Award.