You might think of Italy as the land of pizza and pasta, which doesn’t exactly scream “healthy living.”
But actually, Italy consistently ranks as one of the healthiest countries in the world, with one of the longest living populations and low rates of obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Experts attribute this in large part to their diet. It turns out Italians have a range of healthy eating habits, which you can easily incorporate into your diet.
All the olive oil
Every Italian has a bottle (or barrel) of olive oil in the pantry and they use it liberally!
The health benefits of olive oil are well known – it’s high in good fats and antioxidants, has anti-bacterial properties and has strong anti-inflammatory properties, which can help protect against health issues like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis and obesity.
Embrace the Mediterranean
Mediterranean eating has long been known to be one of the healthiest diets known to man. We also think it’s one of the tastiest – full of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, nuts, lentils, wholegrains, high quality (and often locally sourced) eggs and cheeses, heaps of olive oil, plenty of fresh seafood and poultry with the occasional dose of red meat, and (of course) a daily glass of red wine.
Climb aboard the Mediterranean train and start enjoying a delicious, sustainable diet that can improve heart health and help you lose weight.
Italians favour the fresh, seasonal, locally sourced and locally produced. Meaning they get the full nutritional (and taste) benefit from their diet, without the addition of unnatural and potentially harmful preservatives, additives and artificial colourings and flavourings.
Say yes to pasta!
In Australia, we tend to indulge in this carb-o-rific dish as a treat every now and then, but apparently we’ve been doing it all wrong! The majority of Italians eat pasta multiple times a week – the key is quantity. In Italy, pasta is often served as a small first course, followed by a main meal with a protein focus.
Sounds like the best of both worlds to us!
Share a meal with your loved ones
We’re BIG advocates of this!
Sharing a meal around the dinner table with family and friends is an experience that should be cherished. And studies have shown it’s also good for you! Enjoying delicious food and good conversation means you tend to eat slower, which aids digestion and can help with portion control, as you give yourself more time to feel full (and therefore, eat less).
Taking the time to connect with your loved ones over a meal is also a great way to maintain positive relationships and boost your mental health.
So there you have it, fam… turning Italiano may be the best thing you can do for your heart, waist line and taste buds!