It’s likely that you’ve heard of the term “superfood” – a name given to mysterious foods that are said to slow down ageing, prevent chronic disease and help you to achieve an overall better quality of health. From chomping on kale, gorging on blueberries through to drinking mysterious spirulina, incorporating superfoods into your diet is the “in thing”.
What if we said, however, that some of your favourite Italian foods are in fact superfoods? That it’s not just strange smelling smoothies or soups that can help give your body a boost?
Having written a previous post on vegetable and fruit-based superfoods, we thought we’d put together a blog post on the more unexpected Italian superfoods. Foods that you probably eat quite frequently, without realising their health benefits.
Below, you’ll find five of our unexpected Italian superfoods – delicious, easy to get hold of and simple to incorporate into your cooking. The far easier (and cheaper) way to lead a healthy diet!
- Parmesan Cheese
Yes, you’re reading this right! Parmesan cheese does in fact have many unexpected health benefits. As well as the obvious calcium benefit, parmesan cheese actually contains many B Vitamins, which are excellent for brain health, energy and for keeping your metabolism ticking at a healthy rate!
Due to the ageing process (parmesan cheese can be aged from 18-36 months), it is also more digestible than other animal products. Meaning far less bloating, or digestive discomfort.
So good for your health, we recently dedicated an entire blog post to them, mushrooms are a brilliant superfood that’s often incorporated into Italian cooking. High in antioxidants, it is dried porcini mushrooms that are said to have the highest superfood status. Crammed full of Vitamin D, Vitamin B and potassium, mushrooms can play a key part in maintaining a superfood healthy diet.
Take a read of our full blog post on mushrooms for some Italian recipes that incorporate these delicious, healthy fungi!
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Perhaps one of the most well know Italian superfoods, Olive Oil is key to Mediterranean healthy living. Helping to lower cholesterol, fight heart disease and even help with unwanted belly fat, drizzling olive oil over your food is good for your health!
Full of healthy fats (yes, they exist) ‘monounsaturated’ fats make up 73% of olive oil meaning it’s a hugely healthy cooking companion.
- Organic Honey
As well as being a well-known antiseptic for wounds, and a great healer for sore throats, organic honey has many other superfood health benefits. Also rich in antioxidants, honey promotes healthy heart activity and blood vessels as well as aiding digestion. It’s also a great liver cleanse, for those looking for a detox.
The Acacia Honey stocked at Vorrei is also high in fructose whilst low in sucrose, meaning it’s a brilliant sweet alternative for diabetics.
Contrary to popular belief, chillies can actually help your stomach rather than work against it. Containing a whopping 3 times more vitamin C than an orange (who knew!), the chilli pepper is a secret superfood used frequently in Italian cooking. Chillies are also high in ‘capsaicin’, an anti-inflammatory compound that is particularly beneficial to those suffering from arthritis.
Take a read of our full blog post of Calabrian Chillies for more information on their unexpected health benefits!
So, if you’re dreading getting ‘beach body’ ready ahead of summer, fear not! It doesn’t have to be all flax seed and acai berries. In fact, by incorporating some of the delicious ingredients listed above into your Italian cooking, you’ll be helping your body lose weight, keep your heart healthy and leave you feeling energised!
Who said healthy eating had to be a chore?