– Portions are key to eating pasta. One serving means the raw pasta that fits in your hands comfortably. This is ideally what you should consume.
– Just because whole wheat pasta is a healthy option does not mean you increase its consumption. There are plenty of Indian staple foods that are just as, or more healthier, easier, and less expensive to include in your diet. For example, it is better to change your white rice to brown.
– Generally, it is not pasta that is unhealthy but the ingredients that are added to it. Go easy on the high fat products such as cheese, heavy sauces and meats. Watch the amount of olive oil you use.
– Regular pasta is made with refined wheat flour. During the refining process, the nutrient-rich outer bran shell and inner germ layer are removed from the grain, leaving just the starchy endosperm, stripping it of much of its fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Some nutrients, including iron and a handful of B vitamins, are added back during manufacturing in some imported brands, but only a fraction of what is initially removed from the grain and fibre is replaced.
– With the extra fibre, whole grain pastas tend to be more filling than traditional white pasta. Whole wheat pastas have a chewier texture but the taste is a matter of getting used to. Regularly choosing whole grains over the refined type (brown rice over white, whole wheat bread over white) can help lower blood pressure and reduce risk of many chronic diseases, including Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
– To check if a pasta is 100 per cent whole wheat, check the ingredient list. All grains/flours should be preceded by the word ‘whole’, not just ‘wheat flour’. The front of the package should also state ‘100 per cent whole wheat’.
(Rita Date shares some interesting recipes and important food facts in her fortnightly column Kitchen Corner in She.)
Nutritionist and Editor of www.realfoodindia.com