In this brief blog, we will answer the query,”Is pasta good for you?” We will look at the nutritional profile of whole-grain pasta and refined-enriched pasta. We will also discuss some ways that you can use to make your pasta healthier.
Is pasta good for you?
Yes, pasta is good for you as it contains nutrients that are beneficial for good health particularly whole grain pasta which is an excellent source of dietary fiber and minerals such as manganese, selenium, copper and phosphorus.
However, pasta is high in carbs which can be detrimental when it is eaten in large amounts. Pasta also has gluten which might cause problems for people with celiac disease and also people that are sensitive to gluten.
Refined pasta is the most commonly used type of pasta and this is pasta that has the wheat kernel stripped of the germ and bran and this results in loss of a lot of nutrients.
Refined pasta tends to be high in calories and also has a low content of dietary fiber. This can cause low levels of fullness after consuming it as compared to consuming fiber rich whole grain pasta.
Some brands of refined pasta are usually enriched by adding essential nutrients such as B vitamins and iron so as to add to the nutritional value.
What is the nutritional value of whole grain and refined pasta?
As previously mentioned, whole grain pasta is more nutrient dense as it has the germ and bran intact which is not the case to refined pasta which has them removed and as a result loses key nutrients.
Whole-grain pasta is also a low-calorie food and is loaded in dietary fiber and other micronutrients as compared to refined pasta.
Fiber is essential for people trying to shed off weight as it aids in promoting fullness. Fiber does this by moving through the gastrointestinal tract undigested making you feel fuller for longer.
This reduces appetite and binging of food in the day.
Let us take a look at the nutrients contained in a cup of cooked whole wheat pasta vs a cup of refined and enriched pasta.
|Nutrient||Whole wheat spaghetti||Refined and Enriched spaghetti|
|Proteins||7.5 g||8.1 g|
|Carbohydrates||37 g||43 g|
|Dietary fiber||6 g||2.5 g|
|Fat||0.8 g||1.3 g|
|Manganese||97 percent of the DV||23 percent of the DV|
|Selenium||52 percent of the DV||53 percent of the DV|
|Copper||12 percent of the DV||7 percent of the DV|
|Phosphorus||12 percent of the DV||8 percent of the DV|
|Magnesium||11 percent of the DV||6 percent of the DV|
|Thiamin (B1)||10 percent of the DV||26 percent of the DV|
|Folate (B9)||2 percent of the DV||26 percent of the DV|
|Niacin (B3)||5 percent of the DV||12 percent of the DV|
|Riboflavin (B2)||4 percent of the DV||11 percent of the DV|
|Iron||8 percent of the DV||10 percent of the DV|
How can you make pasta healthier?
When pasta is consumed in moderation, it can make up part of a healthy diet. Between the 2 choices of whole grain pasta and refined pasta as evident above, whole-grain pasta is a much healthier choice because it is low in calories and carbohydrates and also contains good amounts of dietary fiber and nutrients.
However, you should note that besides the type of pasta that you choose, if you use ingredients that are high in fat and high in calories such as cheeses and cream based sauces this can result in a lot of calories and be detrimental to your health.
You can as well add some protein of your choice so as to make your pasta into a well balanced meal.
For example, you can add in some chicken or fish so as to boost your protein intake so as to make you feel full and satisfied. You can as well add in some veggies such as broccoli, tomatoes or bell peppers so as to reap extra nutrients and dietary fiber.
Some tips that you can use to make your pasta much more healthier are as below:
- Whole-wheat pasta with some fish such as salmon, basil and a lemon.
- Some veggies baked ziti
- Pasta salad with some feta cheese, tomato, kale and olives
You can check out a recipe on how to make healthy and sumptuous pasta by clicking here.
In this brief blog, we have answered the query,”Is pasta good for you?” We have looked at the nutritional profile of whole-grain pasta and refined and enriched pasta. We have also discussed some ways that you can use to make your pasta healthier.