Health? It seems to be one of those great “interests” of the British public. Endless documentaries, and almost all regular national publications have embraced our nationwide concern with good health; super sized, under sized, fast and furious food is all around us.
Almost simultaneously, we have witnessed the fascination on the TV for the “Super Chefs” of our time; they have all begun to wax lyrical, not only about their passion for great ingredients and their preparation, but also for the health aspect of food. Hugh, Jamie, and even grumpy Gordon have all wised up to the TV “watchability” factor that this subject incites.
Many dietary habits are absurd; whilst we are much more aware of the need for healthy eating we are ready to sacrifice this for something yummy! A common misconception about Italian food is that it is terribly unhealthy, however, there are many delicious ingredients used in Italian cooking that naturally lend themselves to really healthy eating as well as teasing and tantalising our taste buds. Historically the essence of the Mediterranean diet belonged to the peasants of the land, yet now it is acclaimed to be one of the richest, in terms of healthy properties.
So what makes the Italian food so healthy? I could write a whole book on the subject, “Fifty Shades of Food”. Maybe not, but it is kind of how I feel about food!
Some of the most used ingredients, in particular tomatoes and olive oil (not to mention the fresh fruit and veg, garlic and fish), are regarded to be of the most healthy in the world; natural in antioxidants, giving in vitamins and full of omega 3, all aid good health and a strong heart, not to mention fabulous skin too! Italians consume more tomatoes and olive oil than any other nationality; I think they are on to something! There is definitely an emphasis on fresh and seasonal produce; the flavours are at the best, the fruits their most succulent and all the goodness preserved. Even pasta is a good component to a healthy diet, in moderation, and with the right sauce!
Some facts; one cup of cooked spaghetti provides about 200 calories, 40 grams of carbohydrates, less than one gram of total fat and no cholesterol. Olive oil contains oleocanthal, which can provide anti-inflammatory benefits to the skin, thus reducing the signs of ageing.
So let the Italian way be your way, watch the benefits unfold, and love your heart!