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Apr 11, 2013

Benefits of the Italian Diet

Mayo Clinic, a well-known non-profit medical research group, has recently announced that the Mediterranean diet proves to have significant benefits for the heart. This is due to a healthy balance of fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. Who wouldn't want a heart-friendly diet so we can have a long life free of illnesses?

Currently, most Americans only get 3 servings of fruit and vegetables each day, or even less than that. The recommended serving is 5-13 servings daily, depending on how much you eat. For example, if you consume 2000 calories in a day, you would need 9 servings or 4 and half cups of fruits and vegetables. Now, when was the last time you ate that much leafy greens?

If you're not used to eating a lot of vegetables or if you don't even like most of them, you can start out slow and work your way up. You already like Italian food, so why not start from there? Usually when we think of the word "Mediterranean", we would automatically associate it with Greek food. But geographically-speaking, Italy is a peninsula in the Mediterranean. They share many commonalties in regards to what ingredients they use such as:

Olive oil - This is the most used oil for cooking or for drizzling over salads. It lowers blood pressure and lowers cholesterol levels. Unlike butter and canola oil which has saturated fat, olive oil has monounsaturated fat. Just be sure to control the amount you use as it's still all about balance.

Red wine - A glass a day has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease just like olive oil. However, it's mostly because of its high amounts of antioxidants that can increase the good cholesterol levels and protect arteries from being damaged. (We care about your health here in Capri, that's why we have an extensive wine menu.) And if you're a non-drinker, consider grape juice as an equally delicious alternative.

So if you've already given up your resolution to eat healthier months ago, you can still do it now. Make sure to limit sweets and red meat. Instead eat fish like our Atlantic salmon and other seafood such as mussels and clams, included in our special dish "Zuppa de Pesce". Check out our menu for more heart-healthy Italian dishes!