Wholemeal pasta: nutritional values and benefits
It is very satiating and rich in fibers which are good for the intestines and help keep diabetes and blood sugar under control. With its brown color and full-bodied and rustic taste, wholemeal pasta has many precious nutrients that make it very healthy. That’s why you should consume it more often, alternating it with “normal” pasta. Let’s find out more about nutritional values of wholemeal pastaare what distinguishes it from classic pasta and on positive effects which it can give us if we bring it to the table regularly.
Wholemeal vs “normal” pasta: nutritional values compared
Wholemeal pasta is obtained from processing of wholemeal floursor of flours obtained by grinding the grains of cereals integers, i.e. complete with all their parts. Precisely this aspect distinguishes it from classic pasta, which is prepared with refined flours, i.e. derived from grains without the outer layers, in particular the bran and the germ, both rich in precious substances. This difference causes wholemeal pasta to have some peculiarity which make it nutritionally very interesting: it is very rich in fibrewhich are present in abundance in the bran, the shell that envelops the grain, and compared to the “white” pasta it has higher quantities of some micronutrients such as vitamins and mineralsi, but also of unsaturated fats, which are concentrated in the germ, the embryo of the grain. On the front of calorieInstead, there are no substantial differences between the two types of pasta and both are an excellent source of complex carbohydrateswhich represent the main source of energy for our daily activities.
Concretely, therefore, in an ideal wholemeal vs “normal” pasta comparison, what are the main distinctive elements? Let’s give some numbers with the help of CREA (Research Center for Food and Nutrition), taking durum wheat semolina pasta as a model:
- fibre: durum wheat semolina pasta contains some 7.1 g (of which 1.53 soluble and 5.57 insoluble)the classic semolina pasta 1.7 g (of which 0.72 soluble and 0.98 insoluble);
- potassium: wholemeal semolina pasta provides it 330 mg per 100 g against i 192 mg some classic pasta;
magnesium: a hectogram of wholemeal pasta contains 100 mg, the same amount of classic pasta 51 mg;
- ferro: 2,7 mg per 100 g of wholemeal pasta, 1,7 mg per 100 g of classic pasta;
lipids: there are 2.2 g in 100 g of wholemeal pasta, 1.2 g in 100 of classic pasta;
- calorie: the content, as we have mentioned, is quite similar, on average 330 kcal per 100 grams for wholemeal pasta e 340 kcal per 100 grams for the non-integral one.
How do these specificities affect our health? What are the advantages of this type of pasta? In short, whole wheat pasta is better and if so, why?
The benefits of wholemeal pasta
Let’s make it clear right away that there is no competition, neither between wholemeal pasta and classic pasta nor between one food and another. All foods are important and should be present in a healthy diet because the variety of products we bring to the table ensures us that wealth of nutrients that are necessary for our body to function properly.
There is no doubt, however, that compared to “white” pasta, wholemeal pasta ensures specific benefits that derive precisely from its nutritional composition. Here are the main ones positive effects with which its consumption is associated.
Wholemeal pasta and intestinal health
Like all fiber-rich foodswholemeal pasta also contributes tointestinal balance. The particularly abundant presence of insoluble fibres, in particular, promotes regularity e helps prevent constipation because this type of fiber has the ability to absorb water, making the stool softer and easier to pass. But also soluble fibres, which, albeit to a lesser extent, are present in wholemeal pasta, play an important role in intestinal health because they exert aprebiotic action: they are, that is, a source of nourishment for the intestinal microbiotaor rather for the bacterial flora that populates the intestine and on whose well-being depend not only the balance of the digestive system but also many functions of our body, for example the efficiency of the immune system.
Wholemeal pasta useful for weight control and slimming
The richness of fibers gives the wholemeal pasta a high satiating power which makes it useful for controlling appetite. Soluble fibers also have the power to reduce the absorption of fats and sugars. Both of these qualities make it a useful food for maintaining a correct body weight and for losing weight.
Allied for the prevention and control of diabetes
Thanks to their ability to slow down the absorption of sugars, the soluble fibers of wholemeal pasta are also useful for the control of blood sugar values: eating wholemeal pasta, in fact, causes a less rapid increase in blood glucose levels and this contributes to reduce the risk of developing diabetes and helps keep it under control more easilyor in those who suffer from it, avoiding dangerous glycemic peaks. Compared to the refined one, wholemeal pasta has a lower glycemic indexthat is, it makes blood sugar levels rise less quickly after meals thanks to the hypoglycaemic properties of soluble fibers: this makes it particularly indicated to be included in the diet of diabetics. A tip to enhance this positive effect is eat it al dentebecause overcooked pasta has a higher glycemic index, e combine it with vegetables, which help to slow down the absorption of sugars in the intestine. Try ours wholemeal penne with aubergines.
Beneficial for heart health
Eat wholemeal pasta it is good for heart health because, by reducing the absorption of fats, it contributes to keep cholesterol levels lowwhich if present in excess in the blood increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Whole wheat pasta: does it have contraindications?
As CREA recalls in the Guidelines for a healthy Italian dietat least half of the cereals we eat every day should be wholemeal, therefore alternate wholemeal pasta with that produced with refined flours it is a very healthy habit that does not present particular contraindications. There are only a few situations in which it is advisable not to exceed the consumption of wholemeal pasta: people who suffer from chronic intestinal diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis and Crohn’s disease should limit it because its richness in fiber could exacerbate the ailmentssuch as abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhea.
Wholemeal pasta: not just durum wheat
By way of example, we have focused on the nutritional values of wholemeal semolina pasta comparing it with refined pasta, but wholemeal pasta does not only mean durum wheat pasta: the Whole grains from which it is possible to obtain it, in fact, there are many and each of them has one specific nutritional composition which is reflected in the flours and, therefore, in the pasta. For this reason it is a good habit to alternate them in one’s diet, even bringing them to the table wholemeal pasta made from cereals other than durum wheat or pseudo-cereals. There are varieties of wholemeal based pasta on the market spelled, rice, corn, kamut, quinoa, buckwheat which, within a varied diet, can be a tasty and nutritionally very valid alternative because basically richer in proteins, vitamins, salts and fibersas he points out Humanitas.
For example the spelled pastaname that identifies three different species of the genus Triticum (monococcus, dicococcus and spelled), the oldest type of cultivated wheat, has a higher protein content compared to that obtained from other types of wheat (15.1% compared to 13% of wheat pasta), it is low in fat and rich in mineral salts and vitamins.
The kamut pasteon the other hand, is produced from a variety of wheat called khorasan, ancestor of modern durum wheat, particularly rich in protein (20-40% more than traditional grains) and with a higher vitamin, mineral and fiber content compared to common wheat.
The brown rice pastain addition to being particularly digestible, is an excellent solution for coeliacssince this cereal does not contain gluten. The same goes for the wholemeal buckwheat pastawhich is characterized not only by the high fiber intake, but also by theexcellent magnesium content and for the presence of a substance, the routinegive her antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which make it very beneficial for the cardiovascular health.
In short, wholemeal pasta is good and healthy, so if you don’t already have it, get into the habit of bringing it to the table more often. We at Buonissimo can help you with ours wholemeal pasta recipeswhich you can find in the Ingredients section.
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