Friday, August 19, 2011

A recipe for Happiness – Feed your noodle some pasta

Pasta has gotten such a bad rap when it comes to eating healthy. It is seen as the culprit in weight gain. It’s not Pastas fault – pasta doesn’t make you gain weight. Eating too many calories and not expending enough energy is what causes weight gain.

 Semolina Pasta, the kind most of us buy is made from durum wheat and is almost always enriched with iron and vitamin B complex. Whole wheat pasta is made from whole grains and although not fortified it is a  good source of fiber. Organic spinach pasta is rich in nutrients. Or you can choose a pasta made of soy, spelt or brown rice for those allergic to wheat. Pasta comes in many varieties all packed with good nutrition. Most pasta dishes are made with fresh vegetables and lean meats and fish making it doubly nutritious. So why the bad rap on pasta?

Pasta is carbohydrates and carbohydrates are seen as the enemy when it comes to weight gain and weight loss. However we need carbohydrates to maintain health and to get a well balanced diet. Carbohydrates provide glucose which is a fuel that is necessary for good brain functioning.

Glucose is the form of sugar that travels through your blood stream fueling the cells of your brain. We get glucose from carbohydrates. The only form of glucose we get from animal products is from dairy. Because neurons cannot store glucose they depend upon the bloodstream (us eating carbohydrates) to supply them.

Too much refined sugar (here’s the problem with carbohydrates) can actually deprive the brain of glucose, depleting energy and compromising the brain’s ability to think and remember. Mental activity takes a lot of power. In fact about 400 calories of what we consume each day goes to powering the brain.

Complex carbohydrates slowly release glucose into the blood stream allowing for balanced energy. Refines sugar is like a quick shot of sugar that spikes and drops quickly. The best complex carbohydrates are those that are low on the glycemic scale which measures how quickly blood sugar increased after eating a particular food.

Special K has a 54 rating while linguini has a 50 rating! It’s not the pasta that makes you dizzy and lazy…it’s the junk food!

So if pasta is good for memory and brain functioning and it doesn’t make you fat that should be making you pretty happy about now. Energy and a sharp memory makes most people feel good, young and happy. But remember like everything in life it’s all about moderation. Eat a lot of anything and you’ll throw your body-mind out of balance.

 So next time you noodle says “I’m tired and my memory is slipping”, make a healthy pasta meal.
Doctor Lynn

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