Enjoying an authentic Italian meal for lunch or dinner is always fulfilling, but with more people worried about their health than ever, it’d be hard not to wonder if the food you’re eating is really good for you. Almost any food is okay in moderation, but some foods have some surprising health benefits you may not even realize you’re getting! Let’s dig into one of the most popular Italian dishes that has some major health benefits – caprese.
Health Benefits by Ingredient
Traditional caprese includes three major ingredients: tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella. Caprese salads, sandwiches, pastas, and more variations can be found on different menus, but each variation has to include those main ingredients to be considered a caprese. Check out the benefits of each ingredient in a caprese including:
- Tomato – Tomatoes are a great source of your daily vitamins. One serving of tomatoes gives you about 40% of your daily vitamin C intake. You’ll also be getting a good dose of potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin A. Tomatoes get their signature red color from something called lycopene. Lycopene is linked to better heart and eye health.
- Basil – Basil is packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and natural essential oils. Some of the nutritional value of basil is lost when it’s dried, but fresh basil should always be used in caprese anyways. Those antioxidants, vitamins, and oils can reduce your risk for cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease!
- Mozzarella – When you think about cheese you may not think about health benefits, but when it’s fresh mozzarella that’s minimally processed, you should! Mozzarella is rich in potassium, iron, sodium, and chloride. It also has 18% of your daily calcium needs in just one serving! Another beneficial ingredient in mozzarella is phosphorus, a mineral that allows your body to use calcium. Mozzarella is packed with protein, too. Traditional caprese doesn’t have meat as a protein source, but the protein found in mozzarella will be enough to keep you feeling full and energized until your next meal.
Authentic Caprese in Boston’s North End
Boston’s North End is known for having some of the best authentic Italian cuisine outside of Italy itself. Caprese is a staple Italian menu item, so of course it can be found there! If you’re looking for a quick lunch that will be delicious and good for you, a caprese at Trattoria Il Panino is the perfect solution. With only the best ingredients and traditional methods of serving to maintain the flavor profile of each ingredient, our caprese truly is the best in the North End.