Who doesn’t like pizza? It’s popular everywhere around the world, and no matter where you are – home, traveling, school, work – an argument always comes up as to who has the best pizza.
Throughout Europe, pizza has been referred to as “the Queen” of the Mediterranean diet and, along with olives, olive oil and fish, pizza is probably one of the most renowned staples of this diet.
Is pizza healthy?
This question has been argued for years. Here’s what we know:
- Most pizza flours are a complex carbohydrate
- Olive oil is known to reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol
- Mozzarella cheese is high in fats, protein, calcium and sodium
- Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants
- Basil – used to season most pizza sauces – is high in vitamin K, flavonoids and essential oils
- Garlic – used to season most pizza sauces or as a topping – is an excellent source of selenium, manganese, vitaminB6, vitamin C and powerful sulfur-containing compounds – thiosulfinates, sulfoxides, dithiins
- Oregano – used to season most pizza sauces – is a good source of vitamin K, manganese, fiber, essential oils – thymol and carvacrol and contains many phytonutrients
- Meat toppings are high in saturated fat and sodium
Whether pizza is healthy or not is really determined by the quality of ingredients used and the choice of cheese – full fat or skim milk. Most pizzas are high in saturated fat, salt and calories. If you are eating a balanced diet and have an active lifestyle, pizza is probably ok for you. If you are overweight, do not have a healthy lifestyle, and have any significant health issue, pizza is probably not good for you, but you should always consult your doctor.
According to the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmaceutical Research in Milan, researchers claimed that eating pizza regularly – at least once a week – reduced the risk of developing oesophageal cancer by 59%, colon cancer by 26%, mouth cancer by 34%, and provided significant protection against tumors.
Food chemists at the University of Maryland baked pizza at different temperatures and cooking times and determined that by cooking the pizza at a higher temperature and shorter time, antioxidants increased by as much as 82%.
Healthy Pizza Tips
- Use whole-wheat flour and season it with garlic powder, oregano and basil
- Add no sugar or sweetener to your dough or sauce
- Only use oil olive
- Use a tomato-based sauce
- Select skim or low-fat mozzarella cheese
- Add veggie toppings instead of meat toppings, but if you have to have meat, make sure it’s the leanest you can buy
- Make a thin crust pizza
If you are enjoying your pizza at your favorite restaurant or from a take-out place, don’t worry about your diet. Eat no more than 2 slices and make sure your next meal is filled with fruits, vegetables and fiber. Eating is about achieving balance.
Who has the best pizza (restaurant or chain)?
- What makes a good pizza?
- What’s your favorite pizza?
- Which city in the world has the best pizza?