When one thinks of Italians, it is virtually impossible to not consider food! Although food is such an immense part of Italian culture, surprisingly the obesity rate of Italy is considerably low when compared to that of America! This is because the cuisine of Italy follows Mediterranean eating habits. Therefore, it contains a variety of wholesome and natural ingredients. These include but are not limited to eggplant, garlic, red wine, tomatoes, and olive oil. These are 5 Italian foods to incorporate into your diet for many health benefits which are listed below!
Eggplant is used in many traditional Italian dishes, like the classic eggplant Parmigiano, eggplant caponata, and eggplant rollatini. This low calorie, high fiber fruit is delicious and filled with an enormous number of health benefits. Not many are aware that eggplant is considered to be one of the world’s healthiest foods! These health benefits can be revealed when it is cooked the correct way which is by baking it at around 400 degrees. It is filled with Vitamin K, and bioflavonoids, which both strengthen capillaries, therefore, prevent blood clots. Bioflavonoids are also used to lower levels of stress. Eggplant also contains potassium, manganese, and vitamins K, C, and B6. Eggplant is valued so much for its ability to control diabetes, improve blood circulation, and reduce inflammation.
Garlic can be used in numerous ways and provides many benefits. Consumption of garlic has been shown to reverse the effects of early heart disease which is the number one cause of death in America. Furthermore, studies suggest it can lower high blood pressure, treat diabetes, help combat infection such as colds, and potentially help fight cancer. Garlic is loaded with antifungal properties as well as blood purification properties which means it helps to flush toxins from your system. It can be applied topically to treat skin conditions such as eczema. Garlic also protects your hair from free radicals and can help reverse hair loss.
Italy is one the top wine producing countries of the world, and the history of wine in Italy dates back over 4,00 years! Red wine is loved by many and consumed frequently. Not only is red wine a great symbol of Italian heritage, it also has many health benefits. It is high in antioxidants, calcium, and magnesium. Some of the most popular benefits include the ability to lower blood sugar, promote weight loss, sharpen memory, fight cancer, and fight infection! Although alcohol consumption is commonly related to weight gain, red wine is shown to do quite the opposite. Results from a 13-year long Harvard University study indicated that the risk for obesity for women who consumed wine decreased 70% compared to women who did not. Wine can also be used to promote sleep! The skin and flesh of grapes contain melatonin which is a hormone that regulates sleep. As a result, drinking wine makes individuals sleepy.
Tomatoes are one of the most commonly used ingredients in Italian cuisine. They are delicious and wholesome. Tomatoes contain extremely high levels of lycopene which is a red carotene with numerous skin benefits. They are filled with vitamin A and vitamin C which give them their antioxidants that help reduce free radicals. One benefit of these antioxidants is better skin! To get the vitamin C out of them, the must be eaten raw since cooking them eliminates the vitamin. Tomatoes also improve immune function, lower cholesterol, improve vision, and keep hair healthy and strong!
Olive oil is natural oil that has been obtained from olives. It has very high levels of monounsaturated fats, approximately 73%. Olive oil can withstand extremely high levels of heat which make it a great alternative to butter. By simply switching from butter to olive oil when cooking, you can immensely decrease your intake of saturated fats. Furthermore, this amazing oil has vitamins E, K, and remarkably high amounts of antioxidants. Since chronic inflammation can result in a variety of severe diseases such as cancer, olive oil is used so often for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
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