Some of the most beautiful Italian women look fabulous no matter their age. Just think of Monica Bellucci or Sofia Loren. It seems like beauty comes easy to them, and in part – it is true. The Italian lifestyle and eating habits offer a great combination that help women preserve their youth and defy their age. Even today, when I walk along the streets of Rome, I see more beautiful, elegant and slim women than anywhere else in Europe. How do they do it? I have researched the matter and found some useful life hacks Italian women follow to preserve their health and attractive looks. So, here is how to stay healthy and fit Italian style.
How to Eat Healthy in Italy… or As If You Were In Italy
Less Junk Food
The Italian food culture for the most part rejects junk food or sugary fizzy drinks. Even though the younger generations consume these foods due to their commercial propagation, the best health is seen in the rural areas of Italy where the traditional diet still prevails. And this diet is particularly important after you are 40 years old. That’s when the metabolism slows down and the risk of cardiovascular disease soars. Something to ponder next time we go to the supermarket.
The Mediterranean diet is one of the main reasons for longevity and good health in Italian women, who very often live past 90 years old. The Italian diet also decreases the risk of heart disease and never promotes obesity. The key characteristics that make this diet healthy are:
- Olive oil used for frying, and not only salads. Italians almost never use butter or sunflower oil to fry things. This keeps their arteries cholesterol-free.
- Wholegrain pasta, bread and pizza dough. The right pizza dough, for example, always uses olive oil, whole grain wheat flour and water, and it is never as fattening as it can be with most pizza dough recipes in the United States.
- Plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, that are available in large quantities everywhere in Italy, and are an integral part of their diet.
Eating in Season
More than their counterparts in other western countries, Italians tend to eat with the seasons. Some fruits and vegetables are only available at certain times of the year. And when out-of-season produce is available, it tends to be much more expensive and less good in taste. In the months of February and early March, include lots of seasonal fruits and vegetables like beets, artichokes, carrots, cauliflower, various kinds of cabbage, chicory, red chicory, onions, mushrooms, curly endive, winter lettuce, potatoes, celery, spinach, oranges, avocados, bananas, tangerines, pears, grapefruits. These are all a good basis for a healthy diet, and available in late winter.
Organic foods are a hot topic in Europe. Apart from offering you the possibility to buy foods produced under rigorously controlled chemical-free conditions, organic farming also allows you to take care of the environment by making sure you buy from environmentally-friendly producers. PS: Organic cosmetics are also a thing to consider, as many of the organic foods are used in the process of making cosmetics.
According to leading Italian nutritionists, eating after 40 requires diet adjustments, because a woman’s body undergoes age-related changes to which we need to adjust accordingly. An Italian diet for this age would first of all include fewer carbohydrates, because it is much easier to gain weight after 40. While eating less pasta, let’s consider adding the following to our diet instead:
- Oily fish, typical for some regions – sardines, mackerel, sprat, anchovies, salmon and other oily fish. In Italy, by the way, these types of fish are called “blue” for the playful blue shades in their scales. It is the source of Omega-3, vitamin D and protein which will help sustain muscle mass.
- Soy-based products have become popular in Italy, just as all over the world, in the recent years. They are a great source of protein and help keep the estrogen levels at bay during the uneven times of menopausal changes.
- Nuts and almonds are a good source of magnesium and calcium, and can help curb your appetite when you crave some chocolate cake at 11 p.m.
Detox is trendy
Just as everywhere in the world, Italian women are embracing the perks of a healthy vegetable-based diet and detox programs offered by licensed dieticians. The hottest topic this spring is beetroot detox. This is in parts due to the availability and affordability of this magical vegetable.
How to Stay Beautiful and Fit
Long walks are a typical Italian pastime, especially at dusk. Italians, being very sociable by nature, love going out in the evening and taking long walks. Even in small cities like Arezzo or Assisi, you can see plenty of people walking along the main streets and squares, even if those are just a few hundred meters long. This type of exercise grows in value when you think about the fact that many parts of Italy are hilly. You are likely to encounter a constant up and down on your passeggiata (=stroll). Such walks, taken before and after dinner, help Italians keep their weight under control. As a social activity undertaken with friends or loved ones, it is never really seen as a sport.
A relatively new kind of physical activity, available to anybody even at the most advanced age. It combines walking long distances and admiring picturesque sceneries in the areas near mountains or lakes. Done with an instructor, it helps engage in a challenging yet enjoyable physical activity without any health risks. The beautiful Italian nature is perfect for such an activity. That’s why this sport has become very popular among especially the northern Italians in the recent years.
It is a great alternative to outdoor jogging. Despite what many people think, Italians care very much for sports. This is a trend of recent years and fitness studios are slowly becoming more popular. After all… Sports is what makes the body beautiful. And who cares more for beauty than Italians? At any age, Italian go jogging or swimming. After 40, however, it is better to opt for less straining exercises, which will still provide your heart with enough cardio load. Activities which are popular may vary from Pilates, fitball or swimming pool gymnastics to dancing, a traditional activity Italian so very much love. The important thing is to exercise 3 times a week 30-40 minutes per day. The rest you can cover with walking and taking the stairs instead of an elevator.
As you can see, the combination of Italian food and exercise can do wonders for your health and beauty regimen. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to change your diet today and live a longer and healthier life. And get inspired by Sophia Loren and Monica Bellucci. Here are some of their most famous works:
This post was brought to you by regular guest author Olga Drobina. Olga is an Italian linguist from Ukraine and an admirer of Italy. Her first encounter with Italy happened during her university years. She won a scholarship to study the Italian language and culture in the small and picturesque Umbrian town of Perugia. Ever since she has kept cherishing her passion for Italy through teaching Italian, mastering the Italian cuisine, and embracing the Italian ways.