Pasta has been a timeless meal and culinary tradition for hundreds of years, likely because of its countless, inherent benefits– it’s healthy, affordable, easy to make, versatile, and one of the most delicious and satisfying meals you can have! Each October, pasta lovers from coast to coast celebrate National Pasta Month by trying new recipes that are packed with nutrient-dense ingredients and part of a healthy lifestyle. Whether you’re using a hundred-year old recipe passed down through generations or trying an innovative dish you found online, by serving pasta, you can be sure you’re providing a healthy meal with unlimited possibilities.
“Pasta offers numerous health benefits that make it a smart choice for any meal,” said Diane Welland, Registered Dietitian. “It appeals to all ages and combined with high fiber veggies and lean protein like meats, fish or chicken, is an ideal way to optimize nutrition.”
This National Pasta Month, you can feel good about your favorite food because it not only tastes great, but is also part of a healthy lifestyle. Celebrate the top five health benefits of pasta, which include:
- Sustained energy: As a complex carbohydrate, pasta breaks down into glucose, which is the primary fuel your brain and your body need to keep you energized and alert throughout the day.
- Low glycemic index: With a low GI, pasta keeps blood sugar levels in check, so you can stay energized throughout the day. If your goal is to maintain or lose weight, foods with a low GI help to keep your appetite in check.
- Increased folic acid: One serving (about 2 ounces) of enriched pasta is fortified with about 25% or 100 micrograms of the recommended daily dietary intake of folic acid. Folic acid helps your body maintain and produce new cells. It may also help prevent colon and cervical cancer.
- Low sodium and cholesterol free: Pasta is low in sodium and cholesterol free so you can feel good about what you’re eating. For an extra nutritional boost, try adding some fresh fish or seafood to your pasta. Seafood contains omega-3s which help lower cholesterol and protect heart health.
- Encourages a balanced diet: Try mixing and matching your pasta with a variety of healthful foods like leafy greens, colorful vegetables, low-fat dairy and lean protein. These foods provide additional nutrition that can help build a strong heart, bones and digestive system. These foods can also give you another bonus: antioxidants which protect cells from damage.
There are so many ways a food lover can celebrate National Pasta Month, from learning how to cook the perfect pasta to how to pair a sauce with a shape. For recipe ideas, tips and resources, please visit www.pastafits.org.