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- - in Olive Oil

The Slow Food Movement originated in Italy. It is no surprise then that Italians rank one of the highest countries in terms of longevity. Italians live to be a whopping 83 years old!

This longevity can be attributed to many factors but one of these factors certainly is Italian food and meals. Here are five easy and healthy Italian eating habits I have learned which may help to increase your longevity:

1. USE HIGH QUALITY EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL. Italians use high quality extra virgin olive oil in almost everything they eat. I say high quality because on the market there is everything and anything with the high quality label. This type of olive oil is not cheap. If you are getting a 5$ bottle (1 liter) of oil, chances are it is not high quality. If it is Italian, make sure it is actually made in Italy and not just bottled there. Also make sure you keep your olive oil away from heat. Olive oil needs to be stored in dark bottles and in cool places in order for it to keep its healthy antioxidants.

2. EAT RAW VEGETABLES. The more the vegetables are cooked, the more they lose their important nutrients and vitamins. In fact, it is best to opt for fresh vegetables and eat them as soon as you can. The more they are in your refrigerator the more they lose their nutrients. Yes, I know who has time for this? Well, make it a habit of purchasing lots of vegetables at one time and then making sure you eat veggies with every meal. Some favorites of my Italian friends: cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, artichokes, tomatoes.

3. CONSUME AND USE GARLIC IN MEALS FREQUENTLY. I was told by my older Italian friends that eating 2 cloves of raw garlic in the evening is a sure way of keeping away colds and illnesses. But I said “It will keep away everyone around me too.” The answer they say is chewing 2 coffee beans afterward. It’s worth a try.

4. EAT LEGUMES. Italians consume many legumes of all types. Lentils, peas, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, soybeans. These can be cooked in even 15 minutes time. Strain, add some salt and a bit of that extra virgin olive oil. This is an Instant healthy meal.

5. AVOID PROCESSED FOODS, CONDIMENTS, FAST FROZEN MEALS. Italians typically cook fresh foods and stay away from already made meals or frozen meals. They are full of preservatives and are not healthy. Condiments for Italians are simple: olive oil, vinegar, salt, and herbs.

ONE MORE AS A FREEBIE:

6. CONSUME SOME DARK CHOCOLATE. YES OF COURSE “WITHOUT EXAGGERATION” AS SOME ITALIAN FRIENDS HAVE NOTED.

6 Simple and Healthy Italian Eating Habits

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