12 “Magical” Foods that help Italians live longer

12 “Magical” Foods that help Italians live longer –

The Italian Diet 

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#12 – Lemons

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#11 – Pepperoncini – (Hot Chili Peppers)

The pepperoncino probably came to Italy in the early 16th century, after Columbus had taken samples from the New World to Europe in 1492. Like the tomato, the peperoncino was first considered a decorative and possibly poisonous plant before it was adopted into Italian cuisine. It might have become popular as a food long before the cookbooks attest to its use. These cookbooks were written for the upper classes, while the peperoncino was a cheap and convenient food for the lower classes. In Italian cuisine peperoncini are used with moderation and the flavour is considered more important than the heat. As a consequence the Scoville rating serves only as a rough guide to the heat, which is quite varied among the different cultivars.

The peperoncino is especially important in Calabrian cuisine. In late summer, peperoncini are stitched on wires and hung from buildings there. They are left to dry in spots with sunlight and ventilation to conserve them, allowing their use in cooking until the next harvest. They are eaten whole, fried until crisp, crushed, powdered or as a paste. A typical peperoncino from Calabria rates 15,000 to 30,000 on the Scoville scale.

Notable Calabrian dishes which use peperoncini are the condiment Bomba Calabrese and the spreadable pork sausage ‘Nduja. It is also used in dishes of other regional cuisines of Southern and Central Italy, such as the Roman Arrabbiata sauce.

Since 1992 the annual Peperoncino Festival is held in the town of Diamante in Calabria. Organized by the Accademia Italiana del Peperoncino, the festival now attracts tens of thousands of visitors. It is held for four days surrounding the first weekend of September on the town’s seaside promenade. The festival has a large market where local food products made with peperoncini are sold and hosts a peperoncino-eating contest.

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#10 – Chick peas – Garbanzo Beans – Ci Ci Beans –

Ancient people also associated chickpeas with Venus because they were said to offer medical uses such as increasing sperm and milk, provoking menstruation and urine and helping to treat kidney stones. “White cicers” were thought to be especially strong and helpful.

By the Bronze Age, chickpeas were known in Italy and Greece. In classical Greece, they were called erébinthos and eaten as a staple, a dessert, or consumed raw when young. The Romans knew several varieties such as venus, ram, and punic chickpeas. They were cooked down into a broth or roasted as a snack. The Roman gourmet Apicius gives several recipes for chickpeas. Carbonized chickpeas have been found at the Roman legion fort at Neuss, Germany in layers from the first century CE, along with rice.[citation needed]

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#9 – Garlic

In the typical serving size of 1-3 cloves (3-9 g), garlic provides no significant nutritional value with the content of all essential nutrients below 10% of the Daily Value (DV) (right table). When expressed per 100 g, garlic contains several nutrients in rich amounts (> 20% DV), including vitamins B6 and C, and the dietary mineral, manganese.

Some human studies found garlic supplementation to produce small reductions in blood cholesterol, while an NCCIH-funded study found no effect. According to a meta-analysis from 2009, garlic has no beneficial effect on serum cholesterol levels either in healthy people or in people with hypercholesterolemia.

A 2010 placebo-controlled trial, involving patients with hypertension, found a small effect of garlic extract, but such research is considered preliminary and inconclusive.

As garlic may reduce platelet aggregation, patients taking anticoagulant medication are cautioned about consuming garlic.

One news source reported garlic supplements may prevent the common cold,but there is insufficient clinical research to confirm this effect. A 2012 report in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews concluded that “there is insufficient clinical trial evidence regarding the effects of garlic in preventing or treating the common cold. A single trial suggested that garlic may prevent occurrences of the common cold but more studies are needed to validate this finding. Claims of effectiveness appear to rely largely on poor-quality evidence.”

Garlic was used as an antiseptic to prevent gangrene during World War I and World War II.

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#8 – Tomatoes

Up until the end of the eighteenth century, physicians warned against eating tomatoes, fearing they caused not only appendicitis but also stomach cancer from tomato skins adhering to the lining of the stomach.

Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson of Salem, New Jersey had brought the tomato home from abroad in 1808. He had been offering a prize yearly for the largest fruit grown, but the general public considered the tomato an ornamental plant rather than one for food.

As the story is told, it was Colonel Johnson who on September 26, 1820 once and for all proved tomatoes non-poisonous and safe for consumption. He stood on the steps of the Salem courthouse and bravely consumed an entire basket of tomatoes without keeling over or suffering any ill effects whatsoever. His grandstanding attracted a crowd over over 2,000 people who were certain he was committing public suicide. The local firemen’s band even played a mournful dirge to add to the perceived morbid display of courage.

Johnson’s public stunt garnered a lot of attention, and North America’s love affair with the tomato was off and running.

By 1842, farm journals of the time were touting the tomato as the latest craze and those who eschewed it as “objects of pity.”

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#7 – Onions

In 1919 when the flu killed 40 million people there was this Doctor that visited the many farmers to see if he could help them combat the flu. Many of the farmers and their family had contracted it and many died.

The doctor came upon this one farmer and to his surprise, everyone was very healthy. When the doctor asked what the farmer was doing that was different the wife replied that she had placed an unpeeled onion in a dish in the rooms of the home, (probably only two rooms back then). The doctor couldn’t believe it and asked if he could have one of the onions and placed it under the microscope. She gave him one and when he did this, he did find the flu virus in the onion. It obviously absorbed the virus, therefore, keeping the family healthy.

Now, I heard this story from my hairdresser in AZ. She said that several years ago many of her employees were coming down with the flu and so were many of her customers. The next year she placed several bowls with onions around in her shop. To her surprise, none of her staff got sick. It must work.. (And no, she is not in the onion business.)

The moral of the story is, buy some onions and place them in bowls around your home. If you work at a desk, place one or two in your office or under your desk or even on top somewhere. Try it and see what happens. We did it last year and we never got the flu.

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#6 – Fresh Fruit – Berries, Apples, Oranges, etc.

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#4 – Fresh Greens (Dandelions, Beet Greens, Broccoli, Rapini, Arugula, Spinach, Basil, Endive, Escarole, Romaine, Radicchio, Lettuce, etcetera)

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#3 – Vino
Health Benefits of Wine

Studies of the health effects of wine have focused on cardiovascular health, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, alcoholism, cirrhosis of the liver, and oral bacteria. Although excessive alcohol consumption has adverse health effects, epidemiological studies have consistently demonstrated that moderate consumption of alcohol and wine is statistically associated with a decrease in cardiovascular illness such as heart failure. Additional news reports on the French paradox also back the relationship. This paradox concerns the comparatively low incidence of coronary heart disease in France despite relatively high levels of saturated fat in the traditional French diet. Some epidemiologists suspect that this is due to higher wine consumption by the French, but the scientific evidence for this theory is limited. Because the average moderate wine drinker is likely to exercise more often, to be more health conscious, and to be from a higher educational and socioeconomic background, the association between moderate wine drinking and better health may be related to confounding factors or represent a correlation rather than cause and effect.

Studies have also found that moderate consumption of other alcoholic beverages is correlated with decreased mortality from cardiovascular causes, although the association is stronger for wine.

Red wines from the south of France and from Sardinia in Italy have the highest levels of procyanidins, compounds in grape seeds which could be responsible for red wine’s heart benefits. Red wines from these areas contain between two and four times as much procyanidins as other red wines tested.

A 2007 study found that both red and white wines are effective antibacterial agents against strains of Streptococcus. In addition, a report in the October 2008 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention posits that moderate consumption of red wine may decrease the risk of lung cancer in men.

Wine’s effect on the brain is also under study. One study concluded that wine made from the Cabernet Sauvignon grape reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease. Another study found that among alcoholics, wine damages the hippocampus, a brain area involved in memory processes, to a greater degree than other alcoholic beverages.

Video on the Health benefits of Wine – click below



#2 – Vinegar

According to legend, in France during the Black Plague, four thieves were able to rob houses of plague victims without being infected themselves. When finally caught, the judge offered to grant the men their freedom, on the condition that they revealed how they managed to stay healthy. They claimed that a medicine woman sold them a potion made of garlic soaked in soured red wine (vinegar). Variants of the recipe, called Four Thieves Vinegar, have been passed down for hundreds of years and are a staple of New Orleans hoodoo practices.

Video on the health benefits of Vinegar click below



#1 – Olive Oil

The olive tree shows tremendous longevity and resilience: even through the harshest summers and winters it continues to grow strong and bear fruit. For this reason, olive oil was believed to bestow strength and youth to those who consumed it.

In fact, early Middle Eastern civilizations relied on olive oil to cure everything, and to this day many continue to drink it daily to keep the body healthy.

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What are the health benefits of Olive Oil