Five Reasons Why Octopus & Squid are Lenten Superfoods

Octopus ready to cook

Did you know that octopus, squid and cuttlefish, the three main cephalapods in Greek cuisine, are a among the healthiest nonplant-based proteins we can eat? It’s no wonder they play such an important role during Greek Lent. The six weeks before Easter call for abstaining from m eat and dairy products, as a kind of spiritual and physical detox plan, but nutrition is not sacrificed. Here are five reasons why these funny looking creatures are so good for us:

1) Octopus, squid (calamari), and cuttlefish, sometimes called sepia or inkfish, are great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, without too much fat.

2) These ink-expelling, intelligent creatures are chock-full of vitamins, especially Vitamins A, D, and several in the B complex.

3) Cephalopods, the general category these sea creatures fall into, provide us with an excellent source of iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, and selenium.

4) Each of those vitamins and minerals in turn helps our bodies in specific ways. Copper helps us absorb iron; selenium helps protect us against arthritis; Vitamin B12 helps keep migraines at bay; calcium and phosphorous build bones and teeth;  Vitamin B3 regulates blood sugar; zinc boosts the immune system; and potassium helps reduce blood pressure levels.

5) Cephalopods also contain taurine, an organic acid that acts as an antioxidant.

It’s no wonder these are among the main non-plant-based proteins Greek consume during Lent.

Check out my recipes for how to cook octopus here.  You’ll also find my calamari and cuttlefish recipes by clicking here.

Octopus on the beach

Squid cooked in tangy olive-tomato sauce.

Squid in olive-tomato sauce.