We are all so conscious of the need to eat healthily and are constantly bombarded by adverts, TV shows and information regarding what we should and shouldn’t be eating. It can all get a bit confusing and enough to put most of us off. It needn’t be though if you stick to the principles of Mediterranean eating. It has been said that eating a Mediterranean type diet can help with boost weight loss, reduce the risk of depression and provide greater control of blood sugar levels. Here are some of the healthiest ingredients of Italian cuisine that you should be including in your diet:
- Olive Oil
Olive oil should become your new daily choice of cooking oil. It’s high in monounsaturated fat, low in saturated fat and works to lower bad cholesterol and increase the good. Extra virgin olive oil is high in antioxidants which are good for the heart. You can replace butter in any baking that you do with olive oil as well.
Fresh, ripe tomatoes are truly delicious, whether you have them in a salad or make them into a sauce for pasta dishes. They are full of lycopene and vitamin C which are great for heart health and help to prevent some forms of cancer. Also found in tomatoes is potassium, folate and vitamin A. You can add tomatoes to pretty much anything, from salads to soups.
Seafood provides the protein in many Italian dishes and its usual to find all types of fish in Italian cuisine including shellfish. Twice a week is a good amount for receiving the regular benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, selenium and niacin. Alternatively, treat yourself to a night out at an Italian Restaurant Dublin, like http://www.toscanarestaurant.ie/
Garlic is found in almost all Italian dishes and it’s packed full of health benefits. It contains antifungal and antibiotic properties, while also having some cancer preventing properties too. It has also been proven to prevent clotting due to its sulphide content. To get the maximum benefit from the sulphides, the garlic must be crushed or chopped and left to sit for 15 minutes before cooking…
- Whole Grains
The base ingredients of many Italian dishes include whole-grain pasta, bread, couscous and barley. Whole grains are digested more slowly so cause a much more gentle blood sugar level rise. They also retain their magnesium, antioxidants, vitamin E and fibre. Including these whole grains in your diet can help protect against diabetes, heart disease and a variety of other chronic conditions.
- Leafy Greens
The inclusion of dark leafy greens is essential in Italian cuisine, especially brassica that combines perfectly with peppers, anchovies and sausage. Nutritionally, it’s bursting with goodness, similar to other members of the cabbage group. It is full of potassium, vitamin C, fibre, calcium and other amazing cancer-preventing properties. Try adding kale and chard to meals like salads, on the side of pasta dishes or spaghetti and sautéed with some olive oil, pepper and garlic.