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Everything you need to know about ice-cream The home-made stuff is a complete food, with excellent nutritional properties.
In summer it can replace a meal, and is refreshing and easily digested
by Novella Pranzo
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Vanilla ice-cream streaked through with sour black cherries. Photo byDario Ersetti

An ally in raising your spirits, ice-cream has all the necessary qualities to be considered a really balanced and complete food.

What distinguishes the home-made kind from the industrial kind is its freshness, genuine ingredients and, above all, the smaller quantity of air incorporated into it. Home-made ice-cream is almost always prepared with fresh products, while the industrial type uses long-life ingredients and the increase in volume with the incorporation of air can even exceed 100%.

It goes without saying that it is better to eat home-made ice-cream.

In the modern diet, so careful about keeping in shape and well-being, ice-cream has been re-evaluated and reconsidered and can be eaten without great pangs of guilt about your figure since it is less fattening than you might think. And not only that. If you include it in a balanced diet low in fats, every now and again you can eat it in place of a meal, especially on a particularly hot day. As well as giving us a refreshing break and raising our spirits, it has some excellent nutritional properties.

Ice-creams based on creams are more nutritional because they supply fats and milk sugars as well as high quality proteins, as the base is made simply with fresh milk, fresh cream, sugar and eggs (in the case of a good home-made ice-cream, obviously!).

The fruit based flavors, on the other hand, supply fewer calories but more sugars, from the fruit, and they are almost free of fats and protein since they don’t contain milk and eggs. They are only made with fruit, water and sugar.

A fruit ice-cream is an excellent energizing snack and because the sugars are assimilated quickly it is perfect as a snack just before a sports activity.

Ice-cream is a complete food also thanks to its content of mineral salts and vitamins. We also find good quantities of calcium, indispensable for bone health (between 160 mg per 100 g of product in milk-based ice-creams, to 40 mg per 100 g of product in fruit-based ones).

But ice-cream is also a source of phosphorous, a mineral that stimulates brain activity and carries energy to our cells, and vitamin A, that enables a good vision and protects our skin from sunlight and stimulates a tan.

So is ice-cream a food we can all eat? Can it be eaten in plentiful quantities?

Absolutely not. It should be consumed in moderation by everybody and people who are overweight must be careful, as should those who have to keep an eye on their blood sugars, triglycerides and cholesterol levels.

Another good thing is that there are more and more ice-cream parlors springing up where they produce home-made gluten-free or lactose-free ice-cream for people who have allergies and ice-cream with smaller proportions of sugar for diabetics. Ice-cream is also a valid ally in the diet of those people who have no appetite and old people. In old age, in fact, it is a great help because of its pleasant taste, the ease with which it can be eaten and digested, but is also useful in diets which must be hyper-caloric like for anorexia sufferers and people with digestive difficulties. It is an excellent anti-stress and anti-age and in summer it helps us to combat the heat and de-hydration.

Enjoy your ice-cream!

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