Italian cuisine is part of a larger gastronomie known as the Mediterranean diet. Evidence is mounting that this is one of the healthiest eating strategies in the world. Consider that women of Greece have the lowest incidence of breast cancer in the world. Also, residents of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea have fewer chronic illnesses, including cancer and heart disease, than those of Northern Europe or the United States. Other statistics shows that Mediterraneans live longer than Northern Europeans and Americans.
The essential elements of Mediterranean diet are whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables (see Healthy Diet) and olive oil (see Essential Fatty Acids and Health). If the "know-how" for incorporating these elements of healthy eating have eluded you so far, look first to the Italians, and branch out from there into other ethnic traditions, including Asian, Indian, Greek, Middle Eastern, Mexican, African and Caribbean cuisines. Not every dish from each of these culinary traditions is healthful rather, applying a basic knowledge of the fundamentals of a good diet can help you find dozens of scrumptious foods to savor within these cuisines.
Often, the more common foods within these cuisines are more healthy than their fancier dishes. Try visiting restaurants, or better yet ethnic markets. Check out the cookbook section of your library or favorite bookstore, or try searching the web for recipes there's thousands of them out there. Flavor can truly compensate for the emotional "comfort" many of us look for in food an aspect of eating that can bind us to high-fat, additive-laden diets.
Healthy adventure awaits you.