Italian pasta health benefits are too often compromised by ignorance. Words regarded mostly as incompatible are pasta and diet. The widespread belief is that pasta makes people fat. So Italians should be all fat and even obese. Other nationalities are amazed at how Italians can keep their figure considering their daily consumption of pasta.

Pasta is regarded as responsible for obesity, but increasingly there is a consensus that calories not carbohydrates are to be blamed.

Here are some Italian pasta health benefits found described here:

“SUSTAINED ENERGY: Carbohydrates like pasta provide glucose, the crucial fuel for your brain and muscles. …
LOW SODIUM & CHOLESTEROL-FREE: Pasta is very low in sodium and cholesterol-free. …
FOLIC ACID: Enriched pasta is fortified with folic acid – essential for women of child-bearing age.”

Pasta had a beneficial effect on Sophia Loren, you must agree. She was quoted saying: ‘Everything you see I owe to spaghetti”.

Pasta doesn’t make you fat. How much pasta you eat makes you fat.”   Giada De Laurentiis

The truth is that more or less, everything can make you fat. The secret is to eat in moderation and in diversity. Italians don’t live of pasta alone.

Pasta is the first course and the normal serving is 100 grams (3 and 1/2 ounces) of dried pasta. After that, the meal almost invariably includes salads or vegetables and some kind of meat, all in discrete measure. The fun in the meal is in the variety of foods, not in the quantity of one.

The other secret is the absence of dessert in an Italian meal. A dessert, cake or sweet of any kind is reserved for celebration of big holidays, a birthday or some special event. It is true that during the hot summer Italians often indulge in ice cream. Otherwise fruit can be the dessert.


Italian pasta health benefits: the facts

Nutritional values in a serving of dried pasta (3 and a 1/2 ounces) convert to about 9 ounces of cooked pasta, which is around 360 calories. With a tomato sauce, you have another 40 calories. Add 45 calories more for two tablespoons sprinkle of parmesan and the total comes to 445 calories. Even in a richer sauce like a meat sauce, it is still less than 500 calories.

From statistics, men between 20 and 75 with an average weight of 165 pounds need 2,500 calories in a day; women in the same age with an average weight of 135 pounds need 2,000 calories a day.

So a plate of pasta covers less than 20% of daily calories needed for men and less than 24% for women.

The human body consists mostly of water with proteins, fats, minerals and carbohydrates. To live well, you must constantly replenish those nutrients, some every day.

Calories in those elements are not needed in the same proportions. Also different elements are assimilated differently by the human body.

As you see, a well-balanced nutrition is a science. What can’t be disputed is that a well-balanced diet has to be varied, because no one food contains all the nutrients needed.

It is believed that many cases of cancer and heart problems are related to a poor diet.

Pasta is rich in complex carbohydrates, different from simple carbohydrates – sugars, which are good at giving a quick short boost of energy.

Complex carbohydrates instead, supply a long lasting steady energy, one of the most important of Italian pasta health benefits (opens another window).

Pasta is made from durum wheat. The central part of it, the wheat germ, contains the highest source of vitamin E found in nature. Vitamin E is especially important as an antioxidant and has beneficial effects on sexual glands, prolonging their functions.

In pasta there is also a high percentage of gluten and thiamine (vitamin B1).

Gluten lately is under assault, to be avoided. Some believe that a gluten free diet will help in losing weight. People who have intolerance, certainly do better eliminating it from their diet. Every now and then, a food trend comes up and creates a stir. On the other hand, gluten is a protein that has been around since the dawn of humanity and it is not known to cause any harm.

Thiamine, or vitamin B1, on the other hand, is recognized as beneficial in speeding up metabolism, by breaking down carbohydrates, so they are not stored later as fat molecules. Vitamin B1 is needed for brain functions. Lack of it causes fatigue, sluggish feeling, affects memory, concentration and even mood.

Pasta is poor in proteins in respect to meats. Also lysine a very important amino-acid is lacking in pasta. But pasta is never naked; its beauty is in the dressing given. So, for example, in spaghetti with Bolognese sauce, there are proteins in the meat sauce and lysine is present in the parmesan cheese.

Or take fettuccine alla Ciociara where pasta is a vehicle carrying prosciutto, peas, meat ragu, pecorino, parsley and spices in an en explosion of nutritional values.

Now you know to look at pasta like a carrier of  an infinite variety of ingredients and a supplier of many different sources of nutrients.

Check agian: Why Pasta Is Healthy: Scientists Explain in Plain Language .


More Italian pasta health benefits

One important property of pasta is the excellent digestibility. But it has to be cooked al dente. Longer cooking , contrary to some people’s belief, has a detrimental effect on digestion. It will give pasta good wallpaper adhesive properties.

Another property of pasta very much appreciated by mothers is the attractions kids have to it. The different presentation and shapes are inviting for them. The very American macaroni and cheese is very popular with kids. In Italy there was (I don’t know if still) a small pasta in the alphabet letters shape. The alphabet pasta was served in a clear broth, so kids could see through and tell the different letters.

Another not so light consideration is the cost. A pasta dish covers around a quart or more of the caloric intake of the day and can cost less than 1 dollar. Even if you dress it into an extravagant rich sauce, the cost may just double with calories increase too, of course.

You may come to agree with why Italians love pasta so much.

Considering Italian pasta health benefits of, it looks very difficult to find a food more complete. A nutrition plan that includes pasta in your  diet can certainly help.

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