If you're wondering if pasta is healthy food, the answer is, "Yes" and "No." It totally depends on the pasta, how you cook it and serve it and how much you eat.
The bottom line is Ė pasta can be very healthy or very unhealthy.
The History of Pasta
Pasta usually comes with visions of Italy. But Greek mythology gives credit to the Greek God Vulcan for inventing a device that made the first spaghetti from strings of dough.
However research traces pasta's roots back to the Etruscans in 400 BC, where the first lasagna was more than likely made out of whole grain spelt flour.
In the 17th century, the tomato arrived in Naples. Although pasta with tomato sauce immediately became popular with the people, pasta had always been eaten peasant style Ė with the hands. This kept it off the tables of the more dignified royalty.
But around 1700 one of King Ferdinand the 2ndís chamberlains had the bright idea of using a 4 prong fork. With this new utensil, pasta was soon served at Court banquets all over Italy. From there it eventually spread around the world.
Is Pasta Healthy Food?
Pasta can be healthy or unhealthy, depending on its ingredients and how it's served. If it's made with white flour, like most pasta, and smothered in cream sauce, it's unhealthy. If itís whole grain al dente (firm) pasta with unsweetened tomato sauce, it's healthy.
Whole grain al dente pasta is much higher in fiber, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. It's slowly absorbed into the bloodstream and doesnít cause a blood sugar spike.
This extra nutrition, slower absorption and high fiber helps protect against insulin resistance, constipation, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Studies show people who eat more foods from this complete list of whole grains have 37% less risk of developing metabolic syndrome, which generally leads to diabetes. They also have naturally lower blood pressure, triglycerides and can lower cholesterol without drugs.
So eating more whole grains can help people to prevent cardiovascular disease - naturally.
Pasta Can Improve Your Waistline
Research shows that those who eat whole grain, high fiber foods, such as 100% whole-wheat pasta, weigh less than those who don't.
One study done at Harvard Medical School, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, collected data on 74,000 nurses between the ages of 39 and 63 over a 12 year period. Those who ate high-fiber, whole grain foods consistently weighed less than those who ate 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 in their diets.
Another study at Tufts University showed that women whose diets were rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains weighed less and had lower body fat than those who ate low fiber diets high in meat. To choose the healthiest fiber foods use this list of high fiber foods with grams.
Pasta for Better Health
When buying pasta read the label and make sure it's 100% whole grain. Cook it al dente, serve it with vegetables and tomato sauce and enjoy the pasta path to better health.
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Note: The information contained on this website is not intended to be prescriptive. Any attempt to diagnose or treat an illness should come under the direction of a physician who is familiar with nutritional therapy.