The Many Benefits of the Tuscan Lentil Diet
Lentils are legumes along with other types of beans. There are about one or two round, oval or heart-shaped disk seeds per pod in brown and green varieties. They are easy to cook and available year round in all markets in Italy. Tuscans love their lentils especially, adding them to soups and stews as they readily absorb the flavors of other foods and seasonings. Lentils also pack a punch of nutritional values that many of us don’t know. Let’s see.
Lentils provide good to excellent amounts of seven important minerals, B-vitamins, and protein, and virtually no fat. A whole cup of cooked lentils is just 230 calories. You can eat lots and not gain weight. They also are a rich source of cholesterol-lowering fiber and prevents the rapid rise of sugar levels after a meal. As a dietary fiber source, lentils have both soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble form captures cholesterol-containing bile and carries it out of the body, while the insoluble type helps to increase stool bulk and prevent constipation.
The heart, too, benefits from these little beans. Lentils have significant amounts of folate and magnesium. Folate helps lower homocysteine, an amino acid and a risk factor for heart disease if their levels increase, while magnesium is a natural calcium channel blocker, normalizing fluctuating blood pressure in the arteries. In addition to its beneficial effects on the digestive system and the heart, lentils’ soluble fiber are good for diabetics also. They help balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy.
Truly, you can get a lot of nutritional goodness with the Tuscan lentil diet. The Tuscan way is via lentil soup or stew, delicious and filling, such as the ribolita. The beans also combine well with vegetables like kale, cabbage or tomatoes. Sausages pairs well also.
Lentil dishes at IL Bistro Seattle
Conscious about your weight and diet? Have healthy lentils at IL Bistro, your Seattle Italian restaurant in Pie Place Market. Savor other Italian classics and dine and wine Tuscan-style in our soft, romantic setting.
What is Italian food all about?
When the first wave of Italian immigrants came onto American shores, there just weren’t olive oil, balsamico, dried porcinis or prosciutto to replicate their dishes back home. And so they made do with what was available around. This resulted in far more meats and sausages in their dishes. You can say that, hence was how American-Italian food came into being.
Produce rather than protein is what Italian food is really all about. How does a typical Italian meal start anyway? First, there’s the antipasti, which is mostly vegetables, like mushrooms, pepperoni, and artichoke hearts, and cured meats, like prosciutto and capicola. Then you are served a small pasta dish, then a light protein, like a leg of lamb. You will find that as your meal progresses, the more simple it gets. Italian ingredients are so intense a small amount goes a long way.
Italian cuisine is made up of basic ingredients dictated by the season and locality. Traditional products are very important players in the flavors of Italian food. Olive oil, for example is an essential in Italian cooking, and so is balsamic vinegar. Cheeses like Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano are fixtures no decent Italian kitchen should do without.
Experience the Real Italy in the heart of Seattle
If it is authentic Italian cooking you are after, come over to our Italian restaurant in Seattle. We bring the flavors of Italy to your table using only local ingredients in season and cooked in only the proper Italian way. We know great Italian food; we’ve been cooking them in the last 30 years. It’s more than just pizza and spaghetti.
Peppers are a big part of Italian cooking, and a healthy addition to any diet. All pepper varieties are low in calories and high in important nutrients, among which are vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, and fiber. A dish that is rich in peppers serves to strengthen your immune system, keep your blood pressure at a healthy level, and ward off the effects of aging.
At our Seattle Italian restaurant, we make use of peppers in many delicious ways. Try a sausage and pepper pizza, a grilled Italian sausage crostini, or a cioppino with a sweet pepper-tomato broth! It’s a healthy and satisfying way to add a bit of spice to your life.
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