Dining in an Italian restaurant can make you feel like you are eating a home-cooked family meal in Italy. From the moment you enter the restaurant an aroma of herbs, steaming fresh vegetables and olive oil awakens your senses and blends with the ambience to help your body relax and prepare for a fabulous meal.
Americans love Italian food, especially homemade old country Italian foods prepared from family recipes passed down through generations. But aside from the good feeling you get when entering an Italian restaurant, why does the food make you feel so good?
Considering just a few of the health benefits of ingredients used most often in traditional Italian foods, it is easy to understand why eating the food makes you feel better. Many Italian dishes include:
Olive oil – Olive oil is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. Although high in fat, the main fat in olive oil is monounsaturated, which helps lowers your LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise your HDL (good) cholesterol. It helps lower blood pressure and protect against heart disease and stroke. Olive oil can also lower your risks for forming gallstones and may help prevent cancer. It is the more healthy oil.
Garlic – The health benefits of garlic are widely known, and have been for ages. It is a powerful antioxidant and considered a natural antibiotic. Garlic helps thin your blood and lower risks for developing blood clots. Simply put, it is one of the most beneficial herbs. People around the world use garlic for treating everything from colds to snakebites.
Tomatoes – Fresh, cooked tomatoes are great source of potassium and vitamins. They are a powerful antioxidant enhanced by cooking. Tomatoes can lower your risks for cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis. They can also help reduce inflammation, and studies show tomatoes may even help burn fat.
Basil – Basil is also a powerful antioxidant that can boost your immune system and prevent cancer. It helps prevent cholesterol buildup, can improve blood flow, and reduces your risk for a heart attack. The antibacterial properties of basil can help fight colds, flu and other viral infections. The anti-inflammatory properties also help treat stomach problems, including cramps and indigestion, as well as arthritis.
Mushrooms – Fresh mushrooms have been used throughout history for food and medicinal purposes. Full of antioxidants, they help lower blood pressure and can reduce risks for heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, among other conditions. Mushrooms are fat and cholesterol free and low in calories, making them a healthy addition to your diet and helpful in losing weight.
Those are only a few of the healthy ingredients found in many Italian dishes, so it’s easy to understand why eating a traditional Italian meal can make you feel better. It is good for you!
To eat healthier when dining in an Italian restaurant, choose sautéed dishes, not fried. Keep the bread you consume to a minimum (not easy to do at Italiano’s), and enjoy each healthy bite.