Do you want to sample Italian food? One of the best styles or methods of cooking around the World is Italian cuisine. The reason is that it follows the Mediterranean pattern of preparing food out of natural and simple ingredients, for instance, olive oil, whole grains, nuts, garlic, tomatoes, whole grains and dark leafy vegetables.
The result is that you to enjoy a healthy diet that enables you to lose excess weight, control your body’s blood sugar levels and reduce depression risks. This post looks at the benefits of these Italian food ingredients in detail.
Ripe tomatoes are one of the most popular fruits in Italian food. The reason is that you can serve them on top of a bed of fresh greens or make them into Italian red sauce on a bowl of delicious pasta. They consist of Vitamin C and lycopene, which is a heart-protective antioxidant that helps to prevent prostate cancer.
Other benefits of eating them are that they contain potassium, Vitamin A and folate. You can add fresh tomatoes to your soups, pasta dishes and salads to boost your intake. Another way you can consume them is by eating them fresh, with a piece of whole grain toast or a sprinkling of grated parmesan.
- Olive Oil
Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fat and is another ingredient of Italian food. It helps you to lower cholesterol levels and has antioxidants called polyphenols which are good for the heart’s health. You can add olive oil to salad greens as dressing and add a squeeze of lemon.
One staple protein of Italian food is seafood, for example, all kinds of fish and shellfish. The reason is that fattier types such as salmon and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Lean seafood such as sea bass, mussels, squid and shrimp provide you with sufficient protein.
Another benefit of eating seafood is that you can enjoy it at least twice a week. You can also add fish to your Italian food by adding scallops or shrimps to your pasta recipe.
Garlic is a favorite ingredient of Italian food as a result of its antifungal and antibiotic properties. Studies have shown that it lowers risks of cancers such as stomach, colon, throat, lower breast and skin cancers. Garlic is also friendly to your heart as it prevents clotting.
The secret to all these benefits is that it contains sulfides, which are released when the garlic is chopped or crushed and left for 10-15 minutes before cooking or eating. You can add chopped garlic to your salad dressings, homemade spaghetti sauce and sautéed greens.
Beans are other ingredients of Italian food. For instance, you can enjoy proteins from beans such as chickpeas or lentils. They provide you with healthy nutrients such as anti-oxidant rich flavanols and fiber.
You can eat them daily when combined with starches and grains as they provide you with high-quality proteins. Some studies suggest that beans can help to manage diabetes, reduce heart diseases and prevent colon cancer.
- Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens, for example, broccoli babe and an earthy bitter brassica are other favorite ingredients of Italian food. They pair well with hot pepper, anchovy and sausage.
They provide you with plenty of Vitamins A, C, and K in addition to cancer-fighting antioxidants and heart-healthy fiber. You can include dark leafy green such as kale, collards, escarole in your salads, sautéed with olive oil, lentil or garlic and a touch of crushed red pepper.
- Whole Grains
Consider whole grains if you want to enjoy Italian food. For instance, unrefined grains such as whole grain bread, whole wheat pasta and barley are good to have in your diet. The reason is that whole grains are digested more slowly and gently, producing a gentle rise in insulin and glucose than the refined versions.
Diets rich in whole grains enable you to prevent heart diseases, other chronic illnesses and diabetes. You can top whole-grain bread, which is toasted with garlic, diced tomatoes, basil and then toss whole wheat pasta together with garlic, parmesan cheese and olive oil.
Italian food consists of nuts which are enjoyed as snacks, sprinkled on salads and ground into sauces. They have lots of monounsaturated fats, are rich in proteins, Vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and fiber.
Nuts contain an amino acid, arginine, which helps to maintain healthy blood vessels. You can add your salad with chopped nuts; nuts to your baking or use them to make nutty sauce such as pesto. That’s by using almonds, pine nuts or hazelnuts.
Enjoying Italian food should be easier using the above informative post. One Italian drink you should consider when enjoying Italian food during dinner is red wine. The reason is that one glass of red wine helps to regulate blood sugar, helps in digestion and increases your body’s good cholesterol.