Pizza has not always been associated with all the good things in life. It is believed to have so much oil and calories but little do most of us know about the health benefits of pizza.
Health-conscious people or the ones advised by their doctor to take a diet do not eat pizza and would not even consider it. That trend continues up to this day.
We say up to this day because ever since pizza was invented, it was looked down upon by most people. See, pizza originated from Italy in the 1700s and was believed to be food for peasants.
As time goes by, it has been glorified and all classes are now enjoying the delicious delicacy. But that does not mean that there are no more complaints about it.
It has been instilled in our minds that a slice of pizza, although delicious, contains a lot of grease, calories, and fats that we would struggle removing.
However, it is true that pizza can be helpful for your health. Compared to fast-food menus such as burgers and fries, pizza has far more health benefits.
First and foremost, pizzas are not fried. Fried foods contain a lot of saturated fat and trans fat which are both associated with at least a couple of health problems.
Pizza removes that by the cooking process it goes through. Pizzas can have less fat especially if it has been cooked in a Neapolitan way.
Pizzas cooked under immense heat quickly burns unnecessary fats and cooks the pizza right away for a crispy crust and perfectly cooked toppings.
So really, pizza can have a lot of health benefits that most people do not know. This article will help you see these benefits by listing them down, so here we go!
Here are the Health Benefits that You can Get from Pizza
1. Nutritious and Flexible Ingredients
The great thing about pizza whether you order it from fast-food restaurants or cook it yourself, you get the freedom of choosing the ingredients especially the toppings.
You can opt for more vegetables or lean fat to make your pizza healthier. This way, you will enjoy your pizza without worrying about too many fats.
What you need to do is to avoid ordering extras. Keep the crust thin, and the meat limited because as we all know, having those extra pieces is purely for pleasure and not health.
An average pizza can have enough nutrients for you to attain the daily intake and requirement of your body so having those extras is really unnecessary.
The important thing about pizzas is you should know what you are putting in it so you can track what health benefits or risks you might get.
2. A Lot of Protein
Now, this might sound contradictory to the previously discussed benefit but hear this out. There is a lot of protein in a pizza mainly coming from the cheese and of course, the meat.
See, the average slice of pizza contains 12 grams of protein and the human body requires 7 grams of protein for every 10 kilograms of your body.
So having 6 slices throughout the day if you are around 120 pounds will be enough for you. Though we suggest that you mix something with pizza and not make it your only meal.
Protein is very important in building and repairing our muscles. So pizza is a great source of protein, but do not eat too much of it.
See, when we put our muscles under great stress, we make microtears on the tissues. Protein helps in repairing them by simply plastering the tears with nutrients hence the build-up of muscles.
The human body is complex and not all people have the same protein requirements so it is best if you seek advice from a registered dietician so you will know how much you need to attain daily requirements.
3. The Cheese Contains other Nutrients
Protein is not the only nutrient that we can get from the cheese that we put in our pizza. As we all know, cheese is made out of milk, and milk contains a lot of calcium.
Our bones need calcium to strengthen the outer parts as well as the inner part of our bone and make it less brittle especially under trauma.
When you get the right amount of calcium, you can be sure that your bones will not get easily broken or damaged. You also have more advantages in making more blood.
See, our bone marrow is responsible for making white blood cells, and having a healthy bone prevents it from malfunctioning that may cause cancer.
Cheese also contains vitamin A which is responsible for improving our immune system and or reproduction as well – that includes blood.
Vitamin A helps the bone in reproducing blood to deliver more nutrients and other vital minerals to help our body function properly.
4. Pizza Helps You Absorb Lycopene
Tomatoes are the main ingredient in pizza sauce. It contains lycopene among other nutrients that our body takes in and helps improve our health.
Lycopene is a very powerful antioxidant that has been linked with a couple of types of cancer. Not linked in a way that it develops them rather it reduces the risk of getting them.
This antioxidant is also considered and proven to help the strength of our blood vessels, heart, skin, bones, and overall bodily health.
Sometimes we put tomatoes in our salad and although we get some of the lycopene out of it, it is better if the tomatoes are cooked whether as a sauce, grilled, or as toppings.
The cooking process allows the lycopene to be reduced so our bodies can absorb it much more easily.
According to USDA, a single tablespoon of pizza sauce contains so much Lycopene equal to a half cup of cherry tomatoes.
5. Get more Antioxidants from the Dough
The dough, as simple as it may seem, contains some nutrients that our body needs as well. It is also proven to have more protein content than bread dough.
See, the dough undergoes a process that includes chemical reactions from the yeast that is activated in it. With that process, there is a production of antioxidants that help our bodies.
Antioxidants help in preventing or fixing damaged cells. Cells that are left unattended sometimes make complications and mutations that cause cancer among other diseases.
If you are a smoker, antioxidants also help in fixing the cells that are damaged by nicotine and other harmful substances from tobacco smoke.
Antioxidants basically reduce the health risks that you get from free radicals when your body breaks down food or when you are exposed to harmful radiation.
6. Nutrients you get from pizza toppings.
We have talked about the dough, the sauce, the cheese and they all have health benefits but how about the toppings?
Essentially, the health benefits that you get from the pizza toppings comes down to what you put in it and how much you put.
Vegetable toppings are, obviously, the most beneficial toppings that there is. First, all vegetables contain healthy fibers that help improve our digestive system.
Fibers help improve the lining of our digestive tract and their roughness also helps in breaking down other foods that pass through them.
Toppings such as onions contain vitamin C that helps in our cholesterol control, blood pressure, blood sugar, and overall immune system health.
There are also a lot of nutrients that are not mentioned here so you can check out our article specifically about the best nutritious pizza toppings.
7. Pizza helps in maintaining your diet.
As most of us call it, pizzas can be food for cheat days. See, if you are eating healthy food all the time, it is not wrong to take some rest and choose pizza every once in a while.
You can observe that if you eat one recipe for a long time, you get tired of it and you either want something to drink or other food that tastes different.
See, pizzas contain a lot of nutrients and it packs a lot of flavors so you can eat it once in a while so you do not get tired of the same diet that you are having.
A single pizza meal will not do a lot of damage to your health. When you eat too much, that is what makes your health at risk.
So make sure that you eat just the right amount in order to clear or give your palate a new taste just to reset it for the next session of health-food-eating.
8. Pizza is a Good Way to Encourage Eating more Vegetable
Let’s admit it, seeing a pile of greens on your plate is not very appealing. However, we need vegetables to get many nutrients and boost our immune system.
So pizza is a very great combination of healthy as well as our favorite tastes to help us eat more healthy ingredients.
If you put vegetables along with toppings that you like, then a time will come that you will eventually ignore the taste because it does not really taste that bad.
Or even if you do not seem to develop the liking of vegetables, you can still eat them one in a while with the help of pizza.
It is a great way to eat a cheat-day-meal while also convincing yourself that it is not that unhealthy since it has vegetables. No matter how small the portion is, you still get nutrients and that’s what matters.
Eat Healthier Pizzas
So as we have mentioned above, there are so many health benefits that you can get from pizza so why not make it even healthier?
Surprising as it may seem, it is true that you can eat healthier pizza. Here are some of the ways to help you choose how and what pizza you need to eat to make it healthier:
1. Thin Crusts
Yes, the pizza dough helps us in getting more antioxidants but there are also a lot of calories that come with the dough.
So if you do not like working out to burn all those calories that you got from your pizza, then skip the thick crusts and make or buy a thin-crust pizza for a healthier meal.
Besides, you get a crispier crust when you buy pizzas with a thin crust, and isn’t that what we all love? Thins crusts have a better balance of the antioxidants, carbohydrates, and fats.
2. Simple Slices
Originally, pizzas are pretty simple and that may be a better way to get a healthier slice. See, most restaurants put so many toppings that not only sog the dough but also make it unhealthy.
A simple combination of dough, sauce, and cheese will give you the most basic parts of a pizza and the least health risks from ingredients that contain harmful substances.
You can add some vegetables as toppings but sticking to those three ingredients will give you enough nutrients and still enjoy the essence of a pizza.
3. Add a Salad on the Side.
If you prefer raw vegetables to cooked vegetables, then you can combine the two and make a healthier meal. Order an all-meat pizza and put salad on the side.
As we have discussed before, vegetables bring so many nutrients that our body needs to improve the immune system and other bodily functions.
You can choose meats with a lower fat content as your toppings while compensating it with a healthy vegetable salad.
The salad also helps in making your stomach full so you can avoid eating larger portions of unhealthy food.
Having the right amount of food, any food, will give you enough nutrients so your body can function properly and reduce health risks.
Pizza, contrary to common belief, is healthy food. Just make sure that the nutrients that you get are enough by putting ingredients that contain vitamins and minerals.
So it is not wrong to put in some slices in your meal even if you are on a diet. You will still get to eat healthy as long as you do not overindulge.
It will also help you maintain your diet and so do not take too much guilt in eating pizza, just control your intake and you will get more benefits than you might actually think.
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