Save Your Heart, Eat Fresh Local Pasta!
It has been common knowledge for decades that eating a balanced diet rich in nutrients made with natural fresh local ingredients can help you live a longer and healthier life but where does pasta fit into that? We will explore the treasured cuisine of Italy and how the culture and the way Italians really eat has a profound affect on the life expectancy, quality and happiness of its people. Is there science behind eating fresh local pasta and staying healthy or living longer? Not all pastas are created equal and the processes used to create different pastas can affect not only the quality of the product but the overall health benefits. Let’s dive in…
The Italian Way of Life
If you have ever had the opportunity to travel to Italy the first thing you may notice is the culture. Italians are happy, loving and sometimes loud people, they enjoy talking with their hands, eating a lot and they live with passion abundant. How do Italians eat all day and still stay fit? The culture in Italy is “Tutto di Famiglia” which means all about family, gathering is just a way of life for most Italians. Meals are often cooked from scratch with local produce, meats and cheese. Americans think of Italian food as heavy pasta and lasagna, when in fact Italians in Italy eat very light, each meal may consist of grazing on cheese and antipasti, a pasta course which is always hand rolled by someone’s Nona, a fish course, and a meat course. They typically always have dessert and let’s not forget about the wine! Their portions are small, and their meals are slow and often take hours as they converse and share, never a mad dash to fit as much in as possible. The life expectancy of an Italian living in Italy is around 84 years old compared to around 75 in the United States. It is apparent that the close family environment and the fresh food, lots of activities, wine and walking have allowed Italians to thrive and live their best lives.
Where is the Proof?
The correlation between eating pasta and living a longer happier life is more than just a theory. The Cardiovascular Institute has been studying the affects of different foods on our bodies for quite some time now and a recent study conducted by U.S. National Institutes of Health-AARP of about 416,000 men and woman showed that over 16 years the people who had diets rich in plants and other complex proteins were in superior health to those who primarily consumed meats and processed foods. Pasta in general is a plant-based process and yes while some pasta’s do have eggs most pasta, especially fresh handmade pasta like Pasta Rea is made up of a mix of flours, purified water & sea salt. Also, in general people who primarily ate things like fresh pasta, vegetables, eggs, cheese and fish lived a more active lifestyle than those who ate mostly red meats and processed dinners. The actual energy and overall feeling of well-being was greater among those people who consumed these nutrient rich foods that were made with simple ingredients and prepared at home.
So Pasta is Good for You, Now What?
Not all pasta is the same, in fact, pasta that is produced in factory’s, dried and boxed and sitting on your grocery shelf is not quite the same as the fresh pasta we make here at Pasta Rea. You will notice a night and day difference upon inspecting the ingredient list on your favorite store brand pasta vs. our label. If only three simple ingredients produce amazing pasta then why do some big companies and manufacturers put things like calcium propionate, potassium sorbate, and sodium dithioacetate in their pastas? That’s not all, a blind taste test showed that 9/10 people preferred fresh whole pasta than boxed/processed pasta. It cooks faster and has a purity in taste that just can’t be manufactured. The best pastas are extruded on Italian machines operated by hand like ours. Semolina and Durham flours create an amazing balance of texture and when made properly with the correct pure water ratio and sea salt it’s a straightforward process. Making pasta at home is easy and fun as well if you have the correct tools. Pasta of any kind really does allow you to live a longer and healthy life, but fresh local pasta will always be our choice!
Eat local fresh pasta, stay healthy & Vive Bene!
By: Sasha Holt