5 Italian Healthy Living Secrets That Will Change Your Life

Don’t forget your daily passeggiata.


You’d be forgiven for thinking that eating lots of carbs, drinking alcohol, being unemployed, and possibly smoking would be a recipe for poor health. But in its most recent Global Health Index, Bloomberg just revealed that the Italians—even with their struggling economy, relatively high tobacco use, and low spending on healthcare—are in fact the healthiest citizens on earth.

Using data from the World Health Organization, the United Nations Population Division, and the World Bank, the study’s authors graded 163 nations on factors like life expectancy, causes of death, and various health risks—obesity, malnutrition, and high blood pressure among them. Italy ended up with a score of 93.11. For comparison’s sake, the United States ended up in 34th place (just before Croatia but behind Costa Rica) with an abysmal score of 73.05.

In light of this news, we caught up with Natalie Kennedy, proprietor of the delightful expat blog An American in Romeand a contributor to Live Like an Italian, for her on-the-ground advice for any Americans who might wish to adopt a more Italian way of life for the sake of their health. She suggested these five lifestyle changes to make for you to be number one while your fellow countrymen dilly-dally all the way down in 34th place. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to check out The 100 Easiest Ways to Be a Healthier Man Right Now.

Yes, Adopt a Mediterranean Diet

There’s a reason Italy has an obesity rate more than 5 points lower than nearby Great Britain. And no, this does not mean you should start chomping on pizza every night. It simply boils down to one core concept: “everything in moderation.” No one counts calories or cheat days. Italians just focus on eating well—fresh meats and vegetables, and sauces that are “homemade,” says Kennedy, “rather than canned atrocities loaded up with cream, salt, and sugar.” For more healthy eating advice, here are 10 Painless Ways to Upgrade Your Diet.

Work Less

“Leisure time is taken very seriously in Italy,” says Kennedy. The average Italian puts in 36 hours per week. On top of that, national laws cap labor at 40 hours per week, with no more than 8 additional hours of overtime. If any employee exceeds those limits, their employer faces fines. Oh, and Italians also get a blessed four weeks of vacation time per year. “The first thing Italians like to ask Americans is, ‘Is it true you only get two weeks of vacation a year!?’ ” Yes, it’s true. And yes, we’re jealous.

Connect More with Your Loved Ones

By working less, you get the added benefit of enjoying time with the wife, kids, friends—maybe even the folks. Alone time is essential, but “nothing can bum you out faster than feeling isolated,” says Kennedy. “Italians rely upon friends and family.”

Also, they’re not afraid to reach out to their social networks to stay connected. If an Italian ever needs help with something, they—in the vein of every mob movie, ever—“always know a guy.”

Go on a Pre-Dinner Walk

Start taking a passeggiata—what the Italians call a daily walk before dinner—which is something of a national pastime. “It is the break between work and play, a chance to catch up with friends and neighbors, and a good excuse for a bit of exercise,” says Kennedy. “But not too much exercise. Remember: everything in moderation.”

Develop a Healthy Relationship with Alcohol

“Italian living is about enjoyment, not excess,” says Kennedy. To that end, most Italians will uncork a bottle of wine and enjoy a glass or two with dinner—without even thinking about it.” On the other hand, the binge drinking that is so prevalent in America and elsewhere in Europe is basically unheard of. So enjoy that glass, don’t chug it. And for more amazing advice for living smarter, looking better, feeling younger, and playing harder.

Source: http://bestlifeonline.com/italian-healthy-living-secrets/?utm_source=kwbl&utm_content=kwauto_italian-healthy-living-secrets&utm_medium=paid_social&kwp_0=551746&kwp_4=2006747&kwp_1=839119

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Chill on the Hill 5k Run November 18th, 2017 @ 8:30 AM – 11:00 AM


November 18
8:30 am – 11:00 am
Event Category:


Hill 2000


St. Ambrose Church on the Hill
5130 Wilson Ave
St.; Louis, MO 63110 United States
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What is Il Giorno dei Morti (All Souls’ Day), and why is it important in Italy?

By Rachel

What is All Souls' Day

All around the world, the end of October and early November is a time to celebrate the enduring connection between the dead and the living.

In the U.S., we celebrate Halloween on October 31 every year, and while it may seem so, this isn’t just a randomly selected day by candy manufacturers.

It’s the night before All Saints’ Day or La Festa di Ogni Santi, in Italian.

All Saints’ Day in Italy, as well as other places around the world, is a special and sacred holiday. In Italy, it is always November 1st and it is the day to honor all the saints found in Catholicism.

The origins of this holiday in Italy date back to the very beginning of Christianity, and Catholics and Italians everywhere attend mass to honor their favorite saints.

For me, however, as a resident in Italy, I find the day following All Saints’ Day to be the more interesting holiday.

November 2 is Il Giorno dei Morti, which translate to All Souls’ Day or Day of the Dead.

Although this sounds like a scary tradition, it’s actually beautiful.

After celebrating and honoring the lives of saints, the day after is dedicated to honoring the lives of the people close to us who have passed on.

Last year, I was lucky to be in my family’s hometown in Southern Italy, where traditions are still deeply rooted, and was able to take part in this beautiful celebration.

On the morning of All Souls’, while I drank my cappuccino and blearily eyed my cousin who somehow was way more awake than me, I was informed it was a sacred holiday and that we had to hurry up and get ready.

When I asked where we were going, my cousin enthusiastically informed me that we were going to the cemetery, and I was gently reminded to wear my absolute best.

I couldn’t understand her happiness, or why I needed to get so dressed up, but I went along with it anyway and trudged off to prepare for the day.

Upon arrival at the town cemetery, I was shocked at how many people were there with us; we barely found parking four blocks away!

Everyone donned their Sunday best, the women in heels and stockings and the men in top hats and ties. Children were dressed impeccably and some had brought balloons and flowers.

Entering the cemetery was like going to a subdued party.

Everyone was chatting happily and children were running around gleefully.

I didn’t really understand what was happening or what I was witnessing until I heard a little girl, tugging on her mom’s coat, “Mamma! Hurry up! I want to visit grandma and thank her for my new toys! Hurry up! HURRY UP!”

Once my cousin saw my open mouth and lack of comprehension of how a dead grandmother could have left gifts for this child, she explained to me that on this day, the dead visit their family and leave little gifts for the children all around the house.

I remarked how in America, a cemetery is almost never a happy place filled with children’s laughter, and my cousin then pointed out that she had seen that in movies and she thought it was because our ideas about death were inherently different.

She told me how death isn’t a scary ordeal for them because at least once a year, everyone comes to clean your grave, say hello and thank you for their ancestral heritage.

They’ve accepted it as a normal part of life.

I was nearly moved to tears by the beauty and peace in which these people had accepted the inevitable flow of life, particularly from such an early age.

And, as I was lead around the cemetery that day, my cousin patiently pointing out every aunt, uncle, great great great grandparent, cousin and fourth aunt twice removed that rested there, I felt an intense sense of peace instead of sadness.

Because of this beautiful tradition, these people aren’t forgotten, but honored, appreciated and loved.

I visited at least 20 relatives that day. Per tradition, I kissed all of their headstones, and followed my cousins lead as we stopped at each gave, silently thanking each one of them for living their life many years ago, that lead to mine, today.


About Rachel

Rachel graduated with a degree in Italian language and literature. After falling in love with Italian art as well, she went on for a master’s in art history focusing on the Italian Renaissance. She currently lives in her favorite place in the world, Florence, Italy with her bilingual dog, Stella.

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