What is Italian food? Pasta! I never knew there were so many different types of pastas until I came to Florence! Tuna pasta? Yes, even tuna pasta exists. But there is more than pasta. Pizza is another Italian favorite. And no, American pizza is not the same as Italian pizza. Italian pizza is the size of a plate, and you eat it with forks and knives instead of eating slices with your hands. Tuna pizza? Yes, tuna pizza also exists! If you haven’t figured it out, I love tuna!
The reason why I am writing about pasta and pizza is to focus on the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet is known for being heart-healthy because it controls your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The Mediterranean diet is wholesome in that it focuses on food and exercise. Regarding food, extra-virgin olive oil is used in almost all cooked dishes. In addition, Italians consume food that is fresh and in-season. Seafood and red meat are also commonly seen in the Mediterranean diet. Moreover, there is an emphasis of enjoyment in meals. For example, it is normal for a group of friends to spend hours at a restaurant talking and eating food. If they want to, they can spend the whole day at their table! No one will force them to leave after they have finished their food. In addition to food, exercise is also an important component of the Mediterranean diet. People in Italy really do walk/bike everywhere. Even the Florentine mayor bikes to work every day!
Then, what are the long-term health outcomes? Well, Italy has one of the highest life expectancies in the world—82.8 years! This number is higher than the American life expectancy of 78.7 years. So, maybe we should consider following the Mediterranean diet to help our bodies feel a little better in the long run?