by Maria Liberati - With all the pasta, gelato, and pizza that Italians are stereotyped to be eating, how do they stay thin? Travelers to the Italian lands have witnessed their three course meals that last for hours - and don’t begin until right before bedtime - and wondered what was different about the carbs the Italians are eating and those that the Americans are constantly being told to stave off. The secret is in the Mediterranean diet observed by Italians with its hybrid of simple and complex carbohydrates and the multi-purpose use of olive oil.
We’ve all been told that eating throughout the day actually speeds up our metabolic functions in order to maintain healthy weights and gain lean and strong muscles. Well, the Italians don’t skip breakfast, and certainly don’t dismiss other opportunities to eat throughout the day, but in addition to the frequency with which they consume their structured meals, it’s all in their meal’s Mediterranean influences.
Italy is a Mediterranean country, part of a larger collective otherwise known as the “Mediterranean Basin,” where temperate climates host ideal conditions for fruit, nut, and olive tree production. Modern health organizations and specialists have invested newfound interest and time into learning the ins and outs of the Mediterranean diet as part of a global campaign to get fitter, leaner, and healthier.
The unsaturated fats in olive oils doused on various foods in Mediterranean meal preparations not only contribute to sustaining a healthy weight but are scientifically proven to limit fat distribution and avoid blood clots and other heart disease related conditions. Because the purest types of olive oil are in fact, the juice from the olive trees, their natural and organic qualities actually clear clogged arteries by activating the benefits of their monounsaturated fats and antioxidants.
The Mediterranean diet is not exclusively olive oil oriented because many more harvested crops contribute to the health benefits of this type of cuisine. From the fiber in fruits and vegetables to the omega 3 fatty acids in certain types of fish like salmon, moderate consumption of these Mediterranean diet staples are characteristic of both Italian and overall healthy eating habits.
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