The healthy benefits of eating a good spaghetti dinner are seldom discussed these days, as talk around health and nutrition currently revolve around the ‘low carb’ and ‘gluten free,’ and how ignoring these things can lead to weight gain and poor nutrition. However, without even having to dissect the whys and wherefores of these trendy inclinations, we can immediately resolve that eating too much of pretty much anything can lead to issues with weight, metabolic disorders and even diabetes. Pasta often bears the brunt of this attack, but the time has come to consider turning back to this tried and true comfort of culinary tradition that has been fed upon since time immemorial! Moderation, as always, is the key to reaping the maximum benefits, but there is really no good argument for eliminating this staple food out of your diet completely, unless of course you are gluten intolerant, or are trying to lose weight.
Marathon runners, cyclists, triathletes, athletes of all kinds in fact, have long known the benefits of enjoying a hearty spaghetti dinner the night before a race or event. The carbohydrates in pasta act as a time-released source of energy, slowly unwinding in your system to provide the kind of staying power that will go the distance. Pasta carbs break down to glucose in your system: glucose is the fuel that your body runs upon, a necessary ingredient that powers your movement, your brain, and with the proper balance will even help you to get a good night’s sleep.
Fiber is also a fabulous benefit to eating spaghetti, as traditional pasta contains plenty of it. Fiber is the ‘other’ type of carbohydrate, distinguished by the fact that it cannot be broken down into glucose. It passes through your system undigested, which may sound a bit odd, but that unique quality contributes to the feeling of being ‘full’ which may lead to one actually eating less, as well as having the added benefit of keeping your colon toned and healthy. Whole wheat spaghetti packs an even bigger punch of fiber, with a typical serving providing up to thirty percent of your daily fiber requirement; the flavor is virtually identical, so making the switch to whole wheat pasta is an easy way to deliver maximum nutrition while not compromising on taste. Pasta has the added benefit of being cholesterol-free, as well as being very low in sodium – an imperative for heart health. Hold back on adding salt to the water you’re cooking the pasta in, and you’ll lower that value even further.
Adding extra vegetables to your favorite spaghetti sauce will boost that fiber even further, providing plenty of ways to supplement the nutritional value of your meal while still enjoying what you love most. The traditional tomato based sauces are the norm in spaghetti, but you can pump up the fiber and the nutritional value as well as the flavor by adding eight ounces or more of spinach to your standard sauce recipe. It effectively amps up the nutrients, providing a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals, including iron, fiber, niacin, zinc, vitamin B and C and too many others to list. Don’t like spinach? You could choose any other vegetable you are enthusiastic about, like celery, carrots, or peas. Alternately, just try adding more of the staples: mushrooms, green and red peppers, onions and don’t forget the garlic! Garlic is a powerful antioxidant that not only helps to lower your blood pressure, but also is proven to cut your risk of contracting a cold or the flu by more than sixty percent.
Be it resolved, then, that eating a traditional spaghetti meal can actually be beneficial to ones health on several levels, and that there should be no cause for concern – barring any serious health issues which might prevent one from indulging in the first place. So, if you feel that this comfort-inducing favorite is getting a bad rap from your friends and family, just whip out some of these fun spaghetti facts, and wow them with a good dose of healthy wisdom.