A processed food nutritionist wants you to eat more often

Chickpea pasta contains slow-digesting, complex carbohydrates and vegetable proteins that keep you feeling full for longer.

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You’ve probably heard tons of warnings about processed foods, how they can be harmful to your health, and why you should throw them out of your diet.

But if you follow this blanket advice and ignore all processed foods, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Foods that are low in can be a surprising addition to your daily diet.

Try the chickpea pasta. While processed (the chickpeas are dried, ground into flour, and then formed into noodles), they are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. Eating it means that your body has many benefits.

Here, the experts share the health benefits of chickpea pasta and delicious tips for incorporating it into your weekly meal plan.

What does “processed” mean anyway?

“The word ‘processed’ gets a bad rap,” says Leslie Langevin, RD, authoranti-inflammatory kitchen cookbookand co-owner of Whole Health Nutrition.

But according to the American Heart Association (AHA), processing simply means altering, preparing, or packaging food in a certain way before it reaches your table.

This processing can range from minimal processing (such as frozen fruit and precut vegetables) to highly or ultra-processing (such as sugar-filled energy drinks and cakes).

We usually hear about health restrictions for the latter. In fact, ultra-processed foods contain sodium, sugar, oils, colors and preservatives. In fact, according to the AHA, commercially processed foods (and restaurant foods) make up most (70%) of the sodium in the average American’s diet.

However, this is just one aspect of the range treated, and changing foods is not necessarily a negative thing.

For example, according to the AHA, some processing involves adding nutrients such as fiber, calcium and vitamin D, and packaging food to prevent spoilage and improve food safety (e.g. , canning produce, pasteurizing dairy products, vacuum-packing meat, etc.).

Certain types of processing can also enhance a food’s digestibility and nutrient absorption, says Langevin. This includes soaking the

And processing foods like chickpeas can create new ways to eat and enjoy them without sacrificing their nutritional profile. “Eating chickpeas in the form of pasta noodles provides the same nutrition as chickpeas in its own form and is a fun way to eat for the whole family,” says Langevin.

6 Reasons Chickpea Pasta Is Healthy

The health benefits of chickpea pasta are plentiful. Here are some:

1. Promotes Healthy Digestion

Depending on the particular brand, common chickpea pasta offers more gut-friendly fiber than white or wheat pasta (2 and 5 grams respectively, versus about 8 grams per serving). Gram), says nutritionist Susie Polgreen, RD, CD. With Whole Health Nutrition.

Here’s why this is good for your gut: Soluble and insoluble fiber help bulk up stool and move it along your digestive tract.

Plus, fiber is a good source of prebiotics, which feeds probiotics (or “good” gut bacteria), Polgreen says. In other words, fiber-rich chickpea pasta is also great for your microbiome.

And just one serving of this legume pasta, with up to 8 grams per serving, can meet your daily goal of 25 to 38 grams of fiber, says Langevin.

2. Stabilizes blood sugar levels

If you crave linguine and need to watch your blood sugar levels, chickpea pasta is the perfect low-glycemic alternative.

“Chickpea pasta is better for glycemic control than white or wheat pasta because its high protein and fiber content slows the release of glucose into the blood,” says Polgreen.

To put it another way, the fiber in complex carbs like chickpea pasta slows down digestion, while simple carbs with less fiber like white pasta are broken down and absorbed quickly by the body.

3. Leads to a lower risk of chronic disease

A high-fiber plate of chickpea pasta also helps protect the heart.

“Eating enough fiber has been shown to be very important for overall health and disease prevention. Specifically, a high-fiber diet reduces the risk of certain cancers and heart disease.” She says it’s possible.

Case in point: February 2019 systematic review and meta-analysis serieslancetPeople consuming a high-fiber diet plan (25-29 grams of fiber per day) had a 15-30 reduction in the risk of premature death from any cause (including heart problems) and a 15-30 reduction in coronary heart disease. A lower risk of disease and stroke was observed. , type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer (for people with low dietary fiber intake).

Similarly, replacing animal protein (particularly red meat) with plant protein (such as chickpea pasta) may help maintain long-term health.Study published in August 2019 Munching on a leaner diet has been found to reduce the risk of certain cancers and heart-related diseases, according to the.Journal of American Medical Association Internal Medicine.

4. Helps Build Lean Muscles

When you think of foods for muscle building, you probably think of meat. But chickpea pasta is a powerhouse of plant-based protein, which is great news for your muscles.

Depending on the brand, chickpea pasta can provide nearly twice as much protein as regular white pasta, and even more than gluten-free rice pasta, which only has about 3 grams of protein per serving, Langevin says. say.

To build and maintain healthy muscle, Langevin recommends consuming 20-30 grams of protein with each meal. Chickpea pasta also contains up to 14 grams of protein per serving, so it can help you fill this protein range, especially if you follow a plant-based or vegan diet pattern. A large bowl of bean noodles can serve as a staple meatless dinner.

But keep in mind: “Like most other beans, chickpeas are incomplete proteins themselves. That means you’re lacking two essential amino acids (methionine and cysteine), she explains.

However, this should not deter you from dining on legume pasta. You can also get essential amino acids by eating chickpea noodles. Just add some toasted walnuts or seeds to your plate, or a few whole grains in the same meal,” says Langevin.

5. Supports Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance

If your goal is to lose a few pounds (or maintain your current weight), chickpea pasta can help you do just that.

Again, fiber is the fundamental factor here. That’s because fiber makes you feel full during and after a meal, says Langevin. Fiber satisfies the stomach and curbs cravings. All of these are important for weight loss or weight maintenance.

Protein is another factor that contributes to this equation. Since protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates, it also helps you feel fuller for longer and reduces the rumbling to reach calorie-rich foods.

6. Is an allergy-friendly alternative

For people with food allergies or sensitivities, chickpea pasta can be a satisfying and safe alternative to traditional pasta.

“Legume-based pasta can be a great alternative for those with gluten or wheat sensitivities,” says Polgreen.

That’s because chickpea pasta is naturally gluten-free, says Langevin.

Double check the ingredient list on the back of the box. Some chickpea pasta brands use only chickpea flour, while others use a combination of different flours that aren’t gluten-free, Polgreen says.

How to Add Chickpea Pasta to Your Diet

“Chickpea pasta is easy to incorporate into any dish that normally uses pasta,” Langevin says. Here are some easy ways to start cooking with bean-based pasta.

  • Served with Pesto, Tomatoes, or Light Alfredo Sauce
  • Add to tuna salad for an exquisite taste and texture combo
  • Use as a base for pasta salads with a variety of vegetables and an oil and vinegar dressing
  • Mix last night’s leftovers into your breakfast frittata for extra texture and protein

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