The Health Benefits Of Pizza

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015
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When people think of healthy food, they often don’t think of pizza. The truth is there are actually some health benefits to eating pizza. And there are plenty of topping and serving options to help it fit into your healthy lifestyle. You can even create a healthier meal by adding a salad on the side.

Not all take-out pizza is created equal

Many people consider pizza fast food and lump it together with all the burger and fries places. However, pizza has quite a few advantages over other take-out foods and is one of the healthier choices you can make when eating out.

The number one advantage pizza has over other fast food is that it isn’t fried. Fried fast food often contains high amounts of saturated fat and trans fat, both of which are known to contribute to a large number of health problems. Most health authorities recommend limiting saturated fat and avoiding trans fats as part of a healthy lifestyle.

It’s no secret that processed food contains fewer nutrients and usually more fat and calories. Not to mention chemical additives and preservatives. Fast food chains are usually just serving stations. The food is extremely processed, made in a faraway factory weeks or months earlier and shipped to the stores. A local pizza place that makes their own sauce and dough and offers toppings such as fresh vegetables and real cheese is serving real food like you would make at home.

The nutrients in your pizza

Increasing your vegetable intake is recommended when dieting or trying to make healthier choices. Pizza undoubtedly contains more nutrient packed vegetables than most take-out choices and can help contribute to your daily requirements.

Tomatoes are the main ingredient in pizza sauce and contain lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant and scientific research has found a link between lycopene and lower levels of certain cancers. Lycopene has also been found to be beneficial to the heart and blood vessels, skin, and bones. When tomatoes are cooked, as they are for pizza or pasta sauce, the lycopene levels are higher and easier for the body to absorb.

Other vegetable toppings also contain nutrients that promote better health. All vegetables contain fiber. Onions also contain chromium and vitamin C, and can help regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol. Bell peppers contain high levels of antioxidants and vitamins C, B6, and A, which help keep cells healthy. Those vitamins also support the immune system, metabolism, digestive health and good vision. Mushrooms contain riboflavin and potassium. Both are necessary for many important functions in the body and help keep the central nervous system healthy. Olives contain vitamin E, polyphenols, flavonoids and healthy monounsaturated fat. Vitamin E helps prevent cell damage, polyphenols and flavonoids help prevent inflammation and monounsaturated fats help increase “good” cholesterol. Combined, these nutrients go a long way to protect your heart and prevent disease.

Other sources of nutrients in pizza include cheese, which contains calcium, protein and vitamin A. Another source of nutrients in pizza is the dough, which contains some antioxidants due to the chemical reactions of the yeast. Pizza dough is made from a higher protein flour than bread dough.

Creating a healthier meal by eating a salad with your pizza

Adding extra nutritional muscle to your meal is easy when you choose pizza. We have already discussed the advantages of vegetables, so opting for more than one vegetable topping can increase the nutrient content and reduce fat. You could even add pineapple too.

Vegetables are great, but many people can’t imagine a pizza without some meat. If you don’t want to skip meat entirely, there are other options. Sticking to a single meat topping with your vegetables would still satisfy your meat craving without going overboard. Choosing meat that is lower in fat, such as grilled chicken or Canadian bacon would also be a better choice.

Adding a salad to your meal can help get even more vegetables into your diet and help keep portion sizes in check. The salad can help fill you up, decreasing the likelihood that you will overindulge.

The menu at Pizza Planet offers several options for making pizza part of your healthy lifestyle. If you are located in Amarillo, Texas and would like to place an order, call us at (806) 352-6666. You can also connect with us via e-mail for more information about the pizza we offer.