The Nutritional Significance of Pasta in Mediterranean Diets
Pasta is said to be a cultural food borne by the blending of rich cultures in the Mediterranean basin, which according to historians is the “cradle of society.” The Mediterranean diet for one has its origins in the ancient world but its complicated history does not follow a specific health plan. It is simply a collection of eating practices traditionally followed by Mediterranean folks, which typically include the regular consumption of pasta.
In the 1950s, the hypothesis introduced was that consumption of Mediterranean diet is linked to low incidences of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and low mortality rate. Since then researches continued to support the theory. The most recent of which are the MOLI-sani Study and the Italian Nurses Health Study, which support findings that increased consumption of semolina pasta as part of traditional Mediterranean diet can lower mortality rate.
Semolina pasta is a key component of Mediterranean meals, which studies claim, can also lower risk of metabolic syndrome and development of some types of cancer. Other findings also attributed consumption of semolina pasta to improvements in biomarkers of aging.
Knowing the Nutritional Value of Semolina Pasta
A cup of cooked semolina pasta (about 2 ounces) provides an equivalent of 25% or higher, the Daily Value of folic acid, an excellent source of B vitamin and iron. At the same time, it’s cholesterol-free and naturally low in sodium.
Pasta made from purees of vegetables like carrots, lentils, spinach, or zucchini, supply as much as ½ serving of the related vegetable. While whole-grain pasta can furnish up to 25% of recommended daily fiber intake, it is not fortified with folic acid present in semolina pasta. Commercial dry pasta manufactured in the United States is deemed healthier, as the pasta are enriched not only with folic acid but also with iron, thiamine and riboflavin.
In a Mediterranean-style diet, pasta can be consumed alone. However, following traditional preparations in Italy and in neighboring regions, it is typical to eat pasta served with olive oil, tomato sauce, herbs, spices, lean meat, vegetables, beans and/or lentils. As such, pasta dishes is an efficient way of incorporating other nutrient-rich ingredients into the diet.
However, semolina pasta cannot be served to individuals with celiac disease as it is a source of gluten.