“What are the facts? Is pasta healthy for you? If so, what are the health benefits of pasta?
Pasta is either very healthy or very unhealthy depending on which pasta you buy, how you cook and serve it and how much you eat.
The problem is it’s usually made from refined flour. Americans eat an average of 20 pounds of refined pasta a year. And that’s not healthy!
This is because during the refining process most nutrients are removed.
Refining whole grains strips them of their vitamins, minerals, fiber and essential fatty acids, leaving only “bad carb” starch. Although sellers claim that they’ve “enriched” the white flour, it’s a meager attempt.
Healthy 100% Whole Grain Pasta
Pasta is either healthy or unhealthy depending on several factors. Refined white flour pasta smothered in cream sauce is very unhealthy.
Whole grain al dente pasta with a nutritious tomato sauce is very healthy.
Whole grain pasta is much higher in fiber, good fats, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. The nutrition from this healthy pasta is slowly absorbed into your bloodstream without causing a high blood sugar spike.
The nutrients, high fiber and slower absorption helps protect you from:
- Heart disease,
- Type 2 diabetes,
- Insulin resistance,
- Stroke and Obesity.
Numerous studies show that people who eat more healthy high fiber foods from whole grains have a 37% lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome, which eventually almost always leads to type 2 diabetes.
The History of Pasta
Although we generally think of Italy as the origin of pasta, the Chinese have been making and eating noodles from as early as 3000 BC.
And the Etruscans made the first lasagna from spelt flour around 400 BC.
In the ninth century an Arab physician described string-like shapes made from semolina and then dried before cooking. But Greek mythology gives full credit to the Greek God Vulcan for inventing the first spaghetti.
However the first mention of modern pasta (as we know it today) was described around 1150 as being eaten in Sicily by the peasants.
Then, in the 17th century, the tomato found its way into Naples and pasta with tomato sauce immediately became popular. But peasants had always eaten pasta with their hands, which kept pasta dishes off the tables of the Italian nobility who felt this peasant-style was too undignified.
And then, around 1700, one of King Ferdinand’s chamberlains invented the fork. And pasta soon became the rage of Court banquets all over Italy.
From that point on, pasta gradually spread around the world.
How Pasta Can Whittle Your Waistline
Well-documented research done at Harvard Medical School and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that people who eat high fiber foods, especially whole grains like 100% whole-wheat pasta, weigh less than those who eat refined breads and white pasta.
And a study done at Louisiana State University found the single greatest predictor of obesity in middle-aged women was a lack of high fiber foods. Another study at Tufts University showed that women whose diets were rich in fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains weighed less and had lower body fat than those who ate low fiber diets high in meat.
And when purchasing your pasta read the label carefully to make sure it’s 100% whole grain. Cook it al dente (firm), serve it with vegetables and good quality tomato sauce and enjoy the pasta path to better health.
More Commonsense Health for You:
Foods High in Fiber & Fiber Rich Foods
The Mediterranean Diet Plan and Lifestyle
Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables High in Fiber
Diabetes Nutritional Gains from Healthy Whole Grains