Pasta For Your Health

 

National Pasta Association

  • Enriched pasta is a good source of folic acid, a key nutrient for women who may become pregnant. Folic acid helps to prevent some birth defects (i.e. neural tube) that occur in the early stages of pregnancy. Read more about the importance of folic acid here.
  • In addition to folic acid, a typical two-ounce serving of non-egg dry pasta contains valuable levels of iron and the B-vitamins riboflavin, thiamine, and niacin. The same two-ounce serving contains only one gram of fat, no sodium or cholesterol, and roughly 200 calories.
  • Some pasta may contain natural flavorings to produce colored pasta. Tomato and spinach powder are often added to create red and green pastas, respectively.
  • High-quality durum wheat is the main ingredient in U.S.-produced pasta. It is from durum wheat, the hardest wheat known to man, that pasta receives its yellow amber color, pleasant nutty flavor and the ability to retain both shape and firmness when cooked.
  • “Durum semolina” appears on most pasta labels. Semolina is the coarsely ground endosperm of durum wheat that’s golden in color and very coarse and granular in texture. When mixed with water, a variety of macaroni products are produced. Some pasta labels may also refer to “durum flour” which is a finer granulation of durum produced in the milling process and is primarily used in noodle products.
  • The term “enriched” on a pasta label refers to the additional nutrients, considered essential to a balanced diet, which have been added. Pasta is enriched with iron, folate and several other B-vitamins, including thiamine, riboflavin and niacin.
  • Pasta is a low-fat, high-carbohydrate food. Current dietary guidance calls for up to 65% of daily calories to come from carbohydrates.
  • There are Standards of Identity for various pasta products developed by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) as follows:
  • Lycopene, a naturally abundant antioxidant found in tomatoes is another benefit to eating pasta topped with the traditional sauce. Recent research suggests that lycopene helps inhibit certain cancers, including prostate and cervical cancer.
  • In the United States, pasta meals are frequently matched with a tomato-based sauce. Eating pasta with tomato products, which are naturally rich in the antioxidant lycopene, may help reduce the risk of certain cancers, according to experts.
  • For generations pasta has been part of family traditions from weeknight meals to holiday feasts. From hearty lasagna to delicate pasta salad, the recipe possibilities are endless. Make pasta tonight and create a family tradition that will last for years to come.
  • Busy families continue to search for foods that are healthy, satisfying and economical- and they don’t need to look further than the pasta aisle. Pasta is very low in sodium and non-egg varieties are cholesterol-free. Per cup, enriched pastas provide an excellent source of folic acid and a good source of other esssential nutrients, including iron and several B-vitamens. Also, as a food that is low on the Glycemic index (GI) -lowGI foods are digested more slowly- pasta provides a slow release of energy without spiking blood sugar levels.
  • In response to dietary guidance urging Americans to include more whole grains in their diets, manufacturers have introduced nutritionally enhanced pasta varieties such as whole wheat, whole grain and pasta fortified with omega-3 fatty acids and additional fiber. Some varieties of whole grain pasta can provide up to 25% of daily fiber requirements in every one cup portion. There are now more options then everfor consumers to enjoy healthy and economical meals the whole family will love.