Not just delicious, pasta has some great health benefits too!
It’s up for debate whether pasta originated in Italy or was brought over from China in the 13th century. Either way, this particular food item has been around for quite some time! Traditionally, pasta is made up of a combination of flour, eggs and water. Depending on the particular variation you make or buy, the ratio and the specific ingredients used may be altered slightly.
The shape of pasta also frequently varies. Some common pasta shapes include, penne, linguini, spaghetti and fusilli. Nowadays, there are also quite a few non-traditional pasta options such as bean-based pasta, chickpea pasta and whole wheat pasta. Nutritionally speaking, whole wheat pasta has the most similar consistency and make-up to traditional pasta yet more nutrition to boast of.
Nutrition Benefits of Pasta:
For our purposes, we’ll focus primarily on whole wheat pasta due to its added health benefits and close proximity to traditional pasta. Due to the fact that the entire wheat kernel is kept intact, whole grains have quite a few nutritional benefits. The husk, bran and germ all carry vitamins, minerals and antioxidants with them. White pasta on the other hand is stripped of these components and left with just the endosperm. The endosperm is what gives white pasta the fluffy, smooth texture.
Whole grains have been known to help reduce chances of developing heart disease, obesity and some types of cancer. It can also help increase satiety and regulate blood sugar levels. It is significantly higher in protein, selenium and manganese than white pasta.
Nutrient Breakdown of Pasta:
*Per 1 cup whole wheat pasta
- Carbohydrates | 37g
- Protein | 7.5g
- Fat | 1g
- Manganese | 97% DV
- Selenium | 52% DV
How To Use:
Pasta can be used in pasta salads, it can be mixed with red sauce and vegetables or added into a casserole or lasagna. There are so many alternatives to traditional pasta dishes that are much higher in nutrients!
If pasta is a frequent flyer in your diet, opt for options like whole wheat, brown rice, lentil, black bean or quinoa pastas as much as you can to really optimize your nutritional intake. But remember, everyone is different! It all depends on what works for you and your individual wants and health needs.