the Authentic Italian issue

LA DIETA MEDITERRANEA by Esther Ellis, RD T he Mediterranean diet reflects tra- ditional eating patterns of those countries surrounding the Mediter- ranean Sea: Italy, Greece, Southern France, Spain and Portugal. Research has shown that following the Mediterranean diet can reduce heart disease and is also associated with a lower risk of cancer, Parkinson’s dis- ease and Alzheimer’s disease. What I like most about this way of eating is that it generally requires small swaps and changes over time instead of drastic food restrictions and fluctuations. Here are a few changes you can make in your own diet to better follow the patterns of a healthy Italian diet: Use more olive oil.Varieties that come in tin or tinted bottles are best, because they stay fresh longer and retain more vitamins and minerals. For a high-quality olive oil, try our new Rouses brand Sicilian extra virigin olive oil or Italian extra virgin olive oil. Eat more vegetables and fruit. Some of the commonly used vegetables in Italian cooking include tomatoes, garlic, onions, artichokes, bell peppers, broccoli, eggplants, mushrooms and zucchini.

Incorporate more seafood, which is a good source of heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Replace salt with herbs and spices. Basil, bay leaf, crushed red pepper, oregano, parsley, rosemary and thyme are common ingredients in Italian cooking. The Mediterranean diet touts the value of moderation. It’s not always what you eat, but how much you eat. Typically, Italian dishes involve some form of pasta, but the key is to keep the serving size small — just enough to enjoy the taste and not feel overstuffed. Of course, you can’t think Italian and not think cheese! While some cheeses are deemed a bit healthier than others, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano, this is another aspect of moderation, where smaller portions every now and then are perfectly fine. Some of the most popular Italian cheeses include Asiago, mozzarella, Pecorino Romano, provolone and ricotta. Wine is also an integral part of the Italian diet. Moderate consumption is thought to help raise “good,” or HDL, cholesterol. Higher levels of HDL cholesterol are associated with lower risks of heart attack. Moderate consumption of alcohol has also been linked to better blood-clotting functions, which could help decrease the incidence of both heart attack and stroke. I’ll toast to that!


LOOK FOR THE LOGO Our Rouses registered dietitian has handpicked more than 500 grocery items that have lower sodium and saturated fat, healthier fats, more fiber and less sugar. Just look for the easy- to-spot Eat Right logo on the shelf tag or package. New! GOOD-TO-GO Food that’s good for you and tastes good too! Our Eat Right with Rouses meals, side dishes and snacks are created by our in-house chefs and registered dietitian. They’re sensibly sized, made with better-for-you ingredients, and suited to specific dietary goals or restrictions. Options include high protein, low sodium, low calorie, dairy free and no added sugar. Available in Rouses Deli. GROCERY STORE TOURS Complimentary tours designed to teach you how to effectively shop your local Rouses are available by appointment. To schedule a tour, email EAT RIGHT HEALTH FAIRS Our Eat Right health fairs are fun and educational and a great way to learn how healthy can taste good, too. Visit to see what Eat Right events are going on in your neighborhood. ​ SIGN UP FOR OUR E-NEWSLETTERS Our monthly Eat Right emails include health and nutrition information, plus easy recipes from our registered dietitian, Esther. Sign up at to get our Eat Right emails, food finds and recipes, as well as weekly specials delivered right to your inbox.



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