Olive oil remains an indispensable item in most Italian kitchens, according to a recent survey by the market research firm, Nomisma. Sixty-four percent of respondents said they would never give up extra virgin olive oil.
Survey participants said they preferred olive oil over other cooking oils for its taste, healthy properties and the associated culture. Many respondents pegged olive oil as an integral part of the Mediterranean diet.
The survey, which was funded by the Italian life and health insurance company, Unisalute, asked a representative sample of 1,000 Italians about their eating, exercising and well-being habits.
Along with Italians’ proclivity for olive oil, the survey also found that several other important ingredients in the Mediterranean diet were seen as indispensable. Seasonal vegetables were deemed essential by 53 percent of respondents and 40 percent said they ate fresh fruit multiple times per day.See more: Olive Oil Health Benefits
Overall, one in three participants said that nutritious eating habits are a vehicle for well-being and a way to stay healthy, while 69 percent said they viewed food as a source of satisfaction and happiness.
“Among the most interesting results of the research is the consciousness and knowledge that Italians seem to show when they are asked about their relationship with food and eating,” Silvia Zucconi, the head of marketing intelligence at Nomisma, said.
The results of the survey demonstrated a close relationship between healthy food choices and other healthy behaviors, such as exercising and following doctors’ advice.
Respondents who made healthy choices regarding their daily diet were also more likely to undergo regular health checks than respondents who did not.
“In my experience, compliance by my patients in following a therapy at home is much harder to achieve if he or she indulges in unhealthy nutritional behaviors,” Roberto Tabacci, a doctor in Rome, told Olive Oil Times. “I certainly believe there is a connection between healthy food choices and more general healthy behaviors”.
Conversely, nearly half of respondents did not consider obesity to be one of the main risks of incorrect nutrition and another 75 percent said they did not consider cardiovascular diseases to be one either.
One in five of the respondents, who admitted to having unhealthy eating habits, said they’d prefer to go to the doctor as little as possible. Only 31 percent of respondents said they had been to the doctor for a medical examination in the past year.
“The ability of many Italians to understand which are the healthier food choices does not always line up with their general behaviors and there is still so much to do,” Zucconi said. “In Italy, many deaths are still related to bad habits like smoking or unhealthy eating.”