Can Pasta Really Be Part of a Healthy Diet?


Pasta lovers don’t rejoice just yet! There is a catch about the new Italian study claiming that pasta is actually good for you. What is it? Well, pasta should be consumed in conjunction with a healthy diet, and always in moderation.

1- It’s Part of a Good Diet

Pasta is made from grain, one of the basic food groups in a healthy diet that also can include vegetables, fruits, fish, and poultry. It’s a good source of energy and can give you fiber, too, if it’s made from whole grain. That can help with stomach problems and may help lower cholesterol.

2- It Makes You Less ‘Hungry’

It’s filling, which means it can curb your desire for food for a long time. That’ll make you less likely to get snippy or grumpy — you know, “hangry.” Try a round pasta called orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe, a traditional Italian dish with a red chili kick.

3- It’s Affordable

The basic ingredients are simple and cheap: flour, water, salt, and maybe some eggs. Whether you make your own or buy it at the store, pasta is a great way to feed the family without breaking the bank. Try a traditional spaghetti Bolognese — the meat simmers in milk and then wine.

4- It’s Versatile

You can serve it as a starter, a side dish, or the main event. How about a pasta salad with mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives? It’s tangy and delicious, and you don’t have to make it at the last minute. 

5- It’s Easy to Make

Keep some fresh angel hair pasta in the freezer for quick meals. Once the pot of water boils, you’re pretty much done: Because it’s so thin, the pasta cooks in seconds. Toss it in a pan with some olive oil, black pepper, and pecorino cheese for a traditional Roman dish: angel hair cacio e pepe.

6- There Are a Million Shapes

OK, not literally a million, but you get the idea: bow ties, shells, ribbons, tubes, bowls, and ravioli that hold fillings from butternut squash to wild boar and more. This opens endless possibilities for dinner, even if you have just a few minutes. For something unusual, try some rigatoni with eggplant puree.

7- It May Help Prevent Cancer

Whole-grain pasta can give you all sorts of health benefits. It has several things that can help protect you against certain kinds of cancer, especially stomach and colon cancer. For a special treat, try spaghetti carbonara with whole-grain pasta. But don’t make this rich dish a regular meal. It’s made with bacon, butter, egg yolks, and Parmesan cheese. It’s like mac and cheese for grown-ups.

8- It Can Help You Lose Weight

Pasta has gotten a bad rap because of its carbohydrates. But research shows that carbs don’t keep you from losing weight — as long as you don’t overdo it. In fact, in one study, people who ate pasta as part of a Mediterranean diet had a lower body mass index (BMI) — a measure of your body fat based on your height and weight — than those who didn’t. They also had less belly fat (which is worse than other fat). Fresh-cut tomatoes with garlic and basil and a touch of olive oil work well on any pasta for a healthy meal.

9- It Doesn’t Have many salts

Too much of this mineral can play a role in heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other health problems. Pasta is low in it, but that won’t matter if you add it back in the sauce. Spicy penne arrabbiata has plenty of punchy flavor without any salt.

10- It’s Low in Fat

Pasta has just over half a gram of fat per serving. Of course, all that goes out the window if you drench your noodles in butter, cheese, and olive oil. A simple farfalle — “bow-tie” pasta — with marinara and basil makes a healthy, light, and satisfying meal. But keep that sprinkling of Parmesan to a minimum.

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