Eating pasta al dente prevents blood glucose spikes, is more satiating, helps you lose weight, gives you extra energy if you play sports and even takes care of your intestinal flora. And do you know that if you let it cool in the fridge, you multiply its benefits even more?
Pasta al dente is a 100% Italian invention, but in the neighboring country it was not always prepared that way. The usual thing was to boil it enough so that it was very soft. That was until the neapolitans authors of many iconic recipes of Italian gastronomy (including pizza), decided that it was better to prepare it al dente, that is, that could be chewed a little with teeth. The reason was purely culinary, although it is also healthier that way.
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But… why is al dente pasta healthier? And what benefits does it really provide for health?
HOW IS MACARONI MADE?
Today pasta is made from different fonts, including legumes, but the most commercialized is still refined pasta obtained from durum wheat semolina.
This semolina is basically composed of more than 70% carbohydrates (starch) and 12% protein (specifically two proteins, gliadin and glutenin, that form gluten) .
In fact, the refined pasta semolina includes only the inner part of the wheat, then the husk or bran (it is the woody insoluble fiber that surrounds the wheat grain) and the germ (the kernel of the grain, rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids). Whole wheat pasta contains these two parts of wheat (the bran and the germ).
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HOW TO MAKE AL DETE MACARONI
- Boil 1 liter of water for every 100 or 150 g of pasta. When it boils, add the salt. Wait for the water to boil again, pour in the pasta and stir.
- If you want it to be just al dente, a little before completing the cooking time indicated on the package, taste or grate with your fingers: if it is gelatinous on the surface, but a little hard on the inside, it is al dente.
- in some masses you even see a different color between the outside and the inside when you break them because the starch is still crystallized inside.
- remove from fire, strain through a sieve and immediately cool under cold running water to stop the cooking.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU EAT AL DETE MACARONI?
The starch in the dough is composed of crystals like table sugar. If we could look at them under a microscope, we would see that are actually long chains made up of thousands of sugars, and each link in the chain is a simple sugar.
They are very compact, but when we boil the pasta they start to unravel because they trap the water molecules, the more you boil the more they swell with water and the greater the risk end up turning into a kind of jelly. However, the pasta cooked al dente is not overly hydrated and still have starch crystals inside you.
When you eat pasta, the stomach’s gastric juices are unable to break crystals that are still inside, for example a pasta cooked al dente, and it does a great job of breaking down the starch on its surface, even if it is a little softer. All this makes the digestive process slows down a lot and consequently glucose crosses the intestinal barrier slowly and, of course, enters the bloodstream slowly.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF EATING AL DENTE MACARONI?
- Avoid blood glucose spikes. And this is not only good for diabetics, but also for everyone, since a diet that favors an increase in blood glucose increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- You eat slower. It has been proven that foods that require chewing are consumed more slowly, but also less. The reason is that the stomach has time to release the hormones that send the satiety signal to the brain.
- It helps to lose weight. Starch crystals in al dente pasta that we cannot digest do not pass into the blood as glucose, so caloric intake is reduced.
- Extra energy if you play sports. the al dente pasta releases glucose into the blood very gradually so it is a great ally for those who practice physical activity and need extra energy.
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