Spaghetti, macaroni, fusilli, tortellini, tagliatelle, lasagna, you name it- pasta comes in literally hundreds of forms and shapes. This traditional Italian dish, whose origins can be traced to ancient Greece, China and Middle East, has become extremely popular all over the world. Many enjoy it, some fear it may contribute to weight gain but scientists claim that our health can actually benefit from this delicious food.
Health benefits of pasta
Most health benefits of pasta are related to the kind that is made from whole wheat. Most people use ordinary pasta made from white flour, and given these benefits for the health, it is recommended to switch to whole grain pasta. It is equally delicious and far better for the heath.
Insoluble grains, found in whole grains like rye, whole rice and whole grain wheat, are rich in insoluble fiber. This kind of fiber is believed to reduce the risk of cancer, particularly types that affect pancreas, colon, rectum, uterus, breast, mouth, liver and thyroid.
Switching to pasta and other products like bread, crackers and baked goods that contain 100 percent whole grain will significantly reduce the risk of those diseases and contribute to the overall health.
Foods that are rich in fiber, like pasta, especially if it contains insoluble fiber, can be very useful for people who suffer from constipation. During the process of digestion this fiber becomes bulky, making the stool more lose and stimulating the bowel movement. It is important to consume sufficient amounts of water, otherwise fiber can have the opposite effect and aggravate the constipation.
Prevention of constipation also decreases the risk of hemorrhoids or piles, caused commonly by hard stool and constipation.
Pasta is an excellent source of carbohydrates, which are necessary for body functions, particularly in people who need a lot of energy, like athletes. Depending on the intensity and duration of exercise and strain, athletes need up to 4.5 grams of carbohydrates for each pound of their body weight.
Whole grain pasta should be the pasta of choice for people who suffer from diabetes. This is because high carbohydrate intake temporarily raises sugar levels and insulin.
Some studies performed on patients who suffer from schizophrenia have shown that gluten, a protein found wheat, barley and rye, can aggravate the symptoms of this psychiatric condition. Although the results of those studies have turned out to be inconclusive, it is likely that persons who suffer from schizophrenia could benefit from a gluten-free diet and consume whole grains instead.
Whole grains are also beneficial for persons who are at risk of stroke, especially the ischemic stroke, caused by an obstruction of blood vessels to the brain.