In the wake of the New Year and its accompanying merriment, you may be one of the many who have resolved to get healthy, start exercising and lose some weight – in fact, losing weight is the most popular New Year’s resolution to make. But it’s also notoriously one of the hardest to keep – just think of all the diets which are stuck to for all of two weeks, or those January gym memberships gathering dust by mid-February. If you’re looking for a different way to do things this year, consider incorporating an Italian spin into your diet – research has found that Mediterranean cuisine can help you lose weight, prevent heart disease, and live longer. And with delicious fresh vegetables, the perfectly chosen Italian olive oil and light, tasty pasta dishes, the Italian diet isn’t just good for the heart, it’ll get your mouth watering as well! Here’s how going Italian can help you keep that resolution for the whole year.
Swap the Salt for Italian Flavourings
We all know that too much salt is bad for your health – it causes high blood pressure which can lead to heart disease. But we also find it hard to avoid eating too much of it – supermarket food is often smothered in the stuff, and then we’ll add even more just to get the flavour up. But in Italy, that’s not how we do flavouring at all – we find there’s no need to add salt to what our ingredients already have naturally, instead using herbs and garlic to make our meals more flavoursome. Basil, rosemary and oregano are the traditional flavours of Italian cooking, growing naturally in the Italian countryside, and so have always been a fixture of our cuisine. Consider adjusting your cooking so you don’t need to pour a load of extra salt on your food – you’ll find that the right herbs can be the perfect tasty substitute.
Switch to Healthy Fats
The Mediterranean diet is known to be good for the heart, because it reduces cholesterol. This is down to our preference for vegetable oils, particularly olive oil, over other sources of fat, like butter. Olive oil and other vegetable oils contain monounsaturated fats, while dairy products tend to be high in saturated fats – and it’s the saturated fats that are really bad for your cholesterol. Swapping out the butter for the right Italian olive oil is a tasty way to lower your cholesterol, and it gives you an opportunity to start trying out all those great Italian recipes for which olive oil is a necessity.
Cut Down on Red Meat
In Italy we’re actually not big meat eaters – we’ll indulge in a good steak every now and then, and come Christmas we’ll often enjoy roast lamb with the family, but most of us only have a meal heavy in red meat perhaps a few times a month. And in fact, that’s just what the experts say is good for us, especially since we’re replacing red meat with legumes, wholegrain cereals like pasta or brown rice, vegetables, and white meat in moderation. While you might shudder at the thought of swapping a juicy burger for couscous for the rest of the year, the Italian diet shows that there’s nothing to fear – we know that a meal doesn’t have to be meat-heavy to be delicious, so consider giving it a go. We promise it’ll be easier – and tastier – than you’re expecting!
We at Diforti think spreading the joys of Italian cooking is important – and it’s not just because it’s one of the best cuisines in the world. Going Italian can keep you looking trim and your heart healthy – so whether it’s as simple as replacing butter for good Italian olive oil, or taking a trip down to a fine Italian food shop and changing your diet more radically, you’ll find that the benefits of Italian food aren’t limited to its delicious flavours alone.