Back in the days of the Etruscan Civilization, inhabitants used to blend several types of cereals and grains with water. This mixture was then properly blended and cooked over heat. The dish is what is now known as pasta. The origins dating back to as far as 5th century BC.
Interestingly, there are numerous other legends relating to the history of pasta. The Greeks, on one hand, claim themselves to be the discoverers when Naples was conquered while on the other hand, in the ancient Rome, emperor Roman Cierco introduced the world to lasagna (the ingredients being similar to the modern-day pasta). Meanwhile, Emperor Napolean is championed for introducing this food item all over the globe when he rode on his expansion trail.
Regardless of what the origins of Pasta are, one thing is for sure: it has certainly become one of the most popular dishes around the world! An interesting survey concluded by Oxfam revealed that majority of the people will prefer pasta over rice and pizza. Food chains are earning billions from the sale of this item and with studies revealing the health benefits of it, a boost is surely expected in the near future.
With its increasing popularity, the question that arises is whether having pasta can be beneficial for the body or not? There is still no straightforward answer to that, and nutritionists are still coming up with mixed opinions. This article will consider both the health benefits that studies have shown and the disadvantages associated with its excessive consumption. However, it is always best to keep a balance when eating!
Pasta, when taken in an adequate amount can provide the body with a number of health benefits. One of the misconceptions that need to be shed off is that pasta is necessarily fattening. In fact, one cup of pasta will contain 210 calories. Out of which only one gram will be fat, the rest of the composition is broken down into fiber and protein which the body requires for fighting constipation and growth respectively. Nutritionists even have gone to the extent of validating two or three servings of a bowl of pasta in one go. However, a diet consisting of a lot of unprocessed, canned or fried food items with pasta will not yield a better outcome.
The low glycemic property makes it particularly helpful in fighting against unnecessary munching. Often people who shift to paleo or cavemen diet will include pasta in their initial diet-plan to inhibit the urge to eat more. Food items containing low glycemic index makes a person feel satiated and delays hunger which in turn can help lose weight. Although rich-fiber foods like white rice and bread also have a low glycemic index property, Harvard Medical School gave the pasta a lower GI score compared to both of the food items. the low glycemic response characteristic has even made it popular among people with diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Pasta is known for its rich content in carbohydrates. Unlike sweet items that contain simple sugar, pasta is loaded with complex carbs which slowly releases energy and help it to keep it sustained. It is often included in athletes’ diet who need energy to carry out strenuous physical activities. The energy released by pasta also aid in brain and muscle development. Moreover, it is also low in cholesterol content which makes it a friendly item for people who have heart-related complications.
Furthermore, a cup of pasta will contribute a major portion of folic acid which is an essential item in fighting high blood pressures and anaemia (lack of iron). Doctors will particularly recommend a healthy dosage of folic acid to women who are at the stage of giving birth to their babies. By doing so, the chances of birth defects are significantly reduced. A lot of DNA-related complications generate due to the deficiency of this item. As a matter of fact, some cases of cancer have been reported due to the body’s reduced intake of Folic Acid. Thereby, eating pasta can help solve most of these complications by providing the required amount of this substance.
The Other Side
What led the nutritionists to strongly advise against the frequent eating of pasta was not the high carbohydrate and calorie content rather the concentrated gluten present. Gluten is commonly found in wheat-based products like bread, cereal, cake etc and is what gives these food items their prominent taste. Now the problem with food like pasta that contains a plentiful amount of gluten is that it can be a major contributor towards digestion related complications including intestinal permeability. Studies that have examined the health-related illnesses caused by pasta found that “leaky gut” can be one major consequence. Leaky gut disrupts the intestinal lining which essentially filters out substances that get absorbed into the bloodstream. A patient inflicted with “leaky gut” will increase the permeability of the linings allowing passage of toxins and other harmful items. Further to that, there are known instances where a high gluten content has led to inflammation in the gut region as well. Therefore, pasta is a big NO for people who are gluten intolerant as it can intensify digestive related problems.
Making it Part of a Healthy Diet
The best way to optimize the benefits obtained from pasta is to make sure that it is included in the diet in a reasonable amount. There are however other ways that can be followed to sustain a healthy body development.
Whole grain pasta contains a considerable amount of fiber, vitamin B along with magnesium and iron that make it a better alternative to processed and refined grain pasta. Moreover, a whole grain choice is also suitable in seeking inhibition of weight gain due to the lower glycemic index.
Watching the portion quantity remains the second yet one of the most important keys to making pasta a part of a healthy diet. A half cup of uncooked and a cup of cooked, taken in two or at most three servings, is advised by nutritionists. A cup of cooked pasta will contain around 200 calories and the daily requirement happens to be 1900, therefore, keeping that in mind is important to avoid excessive eating.
Pasta remains incomplete with additional servings and sauces. However, even with the choices of the extras, a person needs to be cautious. Sauces like mayonnaise, jalapeno and toppings of cheese should be avoided as they enhance the calorie intake. The healthiest way of enjoying pasta is to include plenty of vegetables like onions, tomatoes, olives etc. Doing so will help yielding maximum benefits of pasta as well as obtaining loads of minerals that are contained inside these vegetables.
By the time, this article is read, millions of dollars would be earned through the sale of pasta. It is to say without any doubt that the popularity of pasta is surpassing a whole range of food items. Although originating in the European region, it is being enjoyed all around the globe.
Studies have shown that pasta can entail numerous health benefits and may not be as fattening as people comprehend it to be. However one still needs to make sure, like every other food item, that it is included in an adequate amount as a part of a balanced diet.