Recently, we found a new study that revealed “when eaten as part of a healthy Mediterranean diet, pasta is your weight-loss friend.”
As we approach the new year, it’s the time to make resolutions. In 2015, Nielsen revealed that the top new year’s resolutions in the US were to “Stay fit and healthy” (37%) and “Lose weight” (32%). The third one was to “Enjoy life to the fullest” (28%).
With these top three resolutions in mind, we propose a way for you to tackle 2017 all three by incorporating Italian foods into your diet. Earlier this year, Self magazine published an article, “12 Things Registered Dieticians Ordered at an Italian Restaurant.” Elements of Italian cuisine bring many health benefits to a balanced diet, and of course, eating Italian food is just one of many ways to enjoy life to the fullest!
Italian salads are full of leafy greens – an excellent source of antioxidants and folic acid. Fresh vegetables provide fiber and vitamins, depending on the toppings. Ask for dressing on the side, which will help to reduce calories.
At Cucina Toscana, we offer several classic Italian salads. Our barbabietole insalata is full of roasted purple and golden beets, which are high in vitamin C (great for your immune system) and potassium, which helps your nerve and muscle function. We also offer a salad of mixed greens (la mista Italiana) and the classic Caesar Salad, both of which provide lots of lettuce for a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folic acid and fiber.
As we previously discussed, a new study revealed that a moderate level of pasta with a meal is an important element to a healthy Mediterranean diet. Two different dieticians in Self suggest pasta dishes with an olive oil and tomato base, which simultaneously provide the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A, C, and B6, along with potassium and folic acid. Pasta, when eaten as a first course, is usually modest in size and helps keep you full. Pasta also provides an excellent source of protein.
Italian cuisine has no shortage of fresh seafood. Dieticians recommend going for fresh fish on the menu – preferably cooked in olive oil, grilled, or roasted. Fish are full of excellent nutrients, from protein to vitamin D. Fish are also excellent providers of omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation and benefit brain function. Nutritionists recommend that we meet our omega-3 requirements by eating fish 1-2 times a week.
At Cucina Toscana, we offer two special fish dishes: pesce al forno con porcini e piselli (seasonal fresh fish, served with clams, shrimp, and peas) and pesce in umido (fresh fish of the day, calamari, clams and scallop in a spicy tomato sauce).
Bruschetta is a simple Italian starter, which combines bread with tomato, basil, and olive oil, with a sprinkle of salt. This delicious and fresh item packs a punch when it comes to nutrients. Basil, one of the go-to Italian herbs, is known for a number of health benefits. It provides antioxidants, antimicrobial properties that fight viruses and infections, and acts as an anti-inflammatory and an immune-booster. Combined with the vitamins from tomatoes and the omega-3s from olive oil, it’s no wonder bruschetta is a favorite of nutritionists.
At Cucina Toscana, we offer bruschetta as an appetizer! Try our version the next time you stop in.
Red wine truly combines nutrition with enjoying life. The tradition of wine goes back hundreds of years in Italy, which is one of the world’s largest producers of red wine. Nutritionists recommend one glass of red wine with dinner. A study from Oregon State’s College of Agricultural Studies found that a glass of red wine a day could lead to weight loss, as well as lowered blood pressure.
Red wine is also high in the antioxidant resveratrol, which could protect your memory against Alzheimer’s disease. This same antioxidant improves your physical performance at the gm and benefits your cardiovascular activity. The tannins in red wine have been found to lower the risk for heart disease, and other chronic diseases.
To complement your meal at Cucina Toscana, ask us about our wines.