Pasta Blog Part 2 - Health Benefits
Fresh/Dried Pasta – Is it Healthy?
Recent research found that the process of cooking pasta and then cooling it down changes its structure, turning it into something called ‘resistant starch’. This means that it’s more resistant to the enzymes in our gut which break down carbohydrates and release glucose – this normally causes a rapid increase in blood sugar.
According to scientist Dr Denise Robertson, from the University of Surrey, cooked-then-cooled pasta acts more like fibre in your body. This creates a smaller glucose spike (resulting in better blood sugar control), helps to feed the good bacteria in your gut and also means that you absorb fewer calories from the same quantity of pasta.
Even more surprising, when the leftover pasta in the study was reheated, it became even more of a resistant starch, reducing the rise in blood glucose by a huge 50%.
The NHS recommends that one third of our diet should be made up of starchy foods such as pasta, and that the higher-fibre wholemeal varieties are the healthier option. As a guide, about 90-100g is a good-sized portion – about two large handfuls.
To have pasta as part of a balanced meal, it’s best eaten with some protein such as chicken, beef or a little cheese, as well as several portions of vegetables, such as a veg-packed tomato sauce or a large green side salad. Creamy or cheese-based sauces can add significantly to the fat, salt and calorie content of the dish, so these should be eaten as an occasional treat rather than as an everyday option.
Wholewheat pasta is by far the best pasta option, thanks to its high fibre content – this will help to fill you up for longer, support digestive health and lower the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. You can simply swap white pasta for wholewheat pasta in any recipe. Fresh pasta is lower in calories than dried, but also lower in fibre.
You may also see different coloured pastas on the shelves such as red, green or purple. These have usually just had different vegetable powders added to them such as tomato, spinach or beetroot to give colour rather than any additional health benefits.
Pasta does contain gluten, so look for varieties such as brown rice, chickpea, green pea or buckwheat pasta for a gluten-free alternative.
Hyperlink to Gluten free pasta limoncello.co.uk
After cutting fresh pasta, you can cook it immediately or refrigerate it. If not cooking pasta noodles right away, let them dry on a baking sheet for 1 to 2 minutes, dust well with flour so the strands will not stick together
As a general rule, fresh pasta is better with butter-based sauces and fillings. Their delicate flavour makes way for the texture of the pasta, soft yet retaining a gentle bite.
Credit: Theo Turvill