Okay, I have tricked you with this headline like my mom used to trick me in childhood by saying that medicine is tasty and healthy. Believe me it was not but I always believed her. Well, my mom NEVER said PIZZA IS HEALTHY!!!!! She has always encouraged me to eat healthy and allowed pizza sometimes as a reward for being a good child.
Is pizza healthy?
This Italian export is generally known as junk food as it makes you gain weight but if you have a look at the basic ingredients of pizza then you will find out that they are actually healthy items. You must be thinking that then why you gain weight. The answer is really simple, it is because of the loads of toppings you order or the frequency and quantity of pizza you eat makes you gain weight. If you are a pizza freak but also want to remain on the lean side then you can use these simple tips.
Whole grain crust
Always order for a thin crust made of whole grain to avoid high amount of calories. Whole grain is rich in fiber which makes you full and prevents overeating. Besides that, it will go easy with your digestive system without causing any bloating, gas or indigestion.
Ask for extra tomato sauce on your pizza or along with it to dip the crust. Tomato sauce is a rich source of vitamin C and it has other health benefits like cancer fighting abilities.
I am not telling you to order your pizza without cheese but please don’t overdo it. Go with a single layer of cheese on top of your pizza rather than get its nook and cranny filled with cheese. Cheese contains calcium and a bit of extra calcium won’t harm you but cheese also contains fat means overloading your body with cheese will certainly harm you. So eat cheese in moderate amount.
Be little specific with the toppings for instance, if you are craving for meat then go for turkey pepperoni or Canadian bacon. If you are looking for even better option, then you can order your favorite meat toppings on the veggie pizza. I know you won’t get tons of veggies on two slices of pizza but every little healthy initiative helps to keep you in shape. Don’t you think this idea is better than sausages and extra cheese toppings?
Always order for a side salad along with your pizza and dig into it before relishing the latter one. Order a colorful salad which contains dark and green leafy veggies such as spinach, peppers (red, yellow or orange), yellow chickpeas with lean dressing on top. This side salad will increase the nutritional value of your meal and also make you feel fuller which prevents overeating.
What are the Pizza ingredients?
To make this open, round pie you will need yeast dough, tomato sauce cheese and other ingredients. Let’s have a closer look to the ingredients to know more about its nutritional value.
The crust of pizza is made up of white flour or whole grain. Whole grain is healthier than the white flour as it retains the fiber and other nutrients while white flour loses the fiber component but it still enriched with vitamins and minerals. Sometimes white flour is fortified with fiber and calcium to increase its nutritional value. Yeast is added to the flour along with sugar, salt, olive oil and warm water to make the dough. It is left for an hour at room temperature to rise and then crust is prepared from it.
Ranch, roasted onion, garlic herb, Cajun, sugar and cinnamon blend and flavored butter are used to give flavor to the crust.
Sauce is made from pureed tomatoes along with variety of fresh and dried spices which includes garlic, oregano, marjoram, and basil.
Mozzarella cheese is generally used to make the cheesy layer on top of the pizza. This cheese was originally made from buffalo’s milk but majority of this cheese is now made from cow’s milk. Traditional feta, Parmesan cheese, white American cheese is also used in pizza preparation.
there is an exhaustive list of pizza toppings and it is divided on the basis of food preferences i.e. vegetarian toppings include mushrooms, spinach, olives, broccoli, onions, green peppers, and artichokes while non-vegetarian toppings include sausage, pepperoni, bacon, chicken, and pork.
Dressing and dipping sauce
There are variety of dressing and dipping sauces are used such as ranch dressing, fat free ranch dressing, blue cheese dip/dressing, Marinara dipping sauce, Calzone sub sauce, thousand island dressing, Mayonnaise, Italian dressing, fat free Italian dressing, creamy Italian dressing, Greek dressing, French dressing, Asian wing sauce, buffalo wing sauce and BBQ sauce.
It generally includes croutons, beets, mild banana pepper, green and leafy veggies and salad oil.
What kind of stuff is adding in your body after eating pizza
Till now, you must have a fair knowledge of contents of the pizza but do you know what happens to your body when it enters into your system. According to dietitian – nutritionist Sonya Angelone, spokeswoman for the academy of nutrition and dietetics, 1 large slice of pepperoni pizza contains 311 calories, 13.5 mg fat, 14mg cholesterol, 701 mg sodium, 1.75 g fiber and 12 g protein.
Bite of pizza activates your pleasure centers in the brain and your digestive enzymes will also get activated which break the carbs into sugar within ten minutes of ingestion.
In the next 10- 15 minutes, sugar will hit the bloodstream but the protein and fat in the pizza will reduce the surge. Belly bloating can be observed in this period since your body is digesting the food and releasing the residual gases especially in case of fast eating, overeating or food sensitivity.
In another 15 – 20 minutes, the body cells start absorbing sugar from the bloodstream and thus raise the level of leptin (fullness hormone). You will feel full but if you keep on eating then your cells will reject the sugar and reroute it to liver so that it can turn the extra sugar into fat.
In 30 minutes of pizza eating, you will feel satiated and fully charged since ghrelin (hunger causing hormone) production has been stopped. The triglycerides or fat rises in the blood stream due to the digestion of fat by the body.
In 45 – 60 minutes, your blood pressure rise temporarily. Unless you have grossly overeaten, you will feel energetic. If you eat only crust then you can feel sleepy as it elevates the level of serotonin hormone which is released on the digestion of carbs.
In 3 – 4 hours of eating, your blood sugar will become normal and ghrelin production will restart but your triglyceride level will remain elevated for a few more hours. So try to eat a low fat snack or meal.
If you follow a healthy lifestyle then eating few slices of pizza won’t harm you or affect your weight.
What are the possible diseases if you eat pizza regularly?
This flat bread is loved by people of all ages and on all occasions whether you are in party mood or just want it as a cheat meal or in case you have burnt your dinner, Pizza is the perfect solution of your hunger pangs. But if you are regularly gorging on it then you should reconsider your food choice because it has several ill effects on your body such as:
Pizza is available in market in my forms like commercial pizza offered by pizza outlets or frozen pizza which offers a variety of crust and toppings combinations. You can gain 250 – 350 calories and 10 – 17 grams of fat from a slice of 14 inches regular cheese pizza. Calorie intake can be increased to two fold up to 500 calories per slice and 26 grams of fat by adding pepperoni, sausages and cheese stuffed crust to the regular pizza. The smaller individual pizza offered by the “gourmet” pizza restaurant contains 1400 – 1700 calories and 30 grams of the fat. Regular intake of so many calories can cause you to gain extra weight. Besides that, the high fat content in the pizza can pose threat to your heart condition as these are the saturated fat or the bad fat.
High blood pressure
Pizza is also high in sodium content with 500 – 700 mg per slice in regular version while frozen pizza exceeds this salt figure per serving as it contains 900 mg of sodium content. The recommended amount of sodium is below 1500 mg and indulgence in take out or frozen pizza can over the recommended limit which will cause water retention and hike in blood pressure that can be risky for health.
Some people complain stomach pain after eating pizza which can be caused by food allergy, lactose intolerance or celiac disease. Since pizza contains milk product, wheat and soy which can trigger various digestive complications if you are sensitive to any one of these.
Gastro intestinal reflux disease
Some components of pizza like tomatoes, sauce, pepperoni or onions can aggravate this disease and cause discomfort after eating pizza. You can eat the pizza without toppings to see if the symptoms still persist in case you are allergic of any kind of toppings.
How long should you walk to burn the calories every day?
You have eaten lots of Pizza, now it is time to go and walk for 30 minutes or more regularly can burn out the extra calories. You should walk everyday for minimum 30 minutes to burn about 1000 – 3000 calories per week and it will also improve your metabolism. You can cover a distance of 2.5 – 3.3 kilometers in 30 minutes at a brisk walking pace. Walking is the best exercise and very beneficial for your mental and physical health.
What are the alternatives of pizza or healthy options?
Although, it is very difficult to keep the hands off from cheesy, creamy delicious pizza but you can try some healthy alternatives of pizza to put off your cravings. Here are some suggestions which you can try if you are avoiding pizza
Top up the whole wheat English muffin with your favorite toppings to create a minipizza and eat it in breakfast. It is a tasty way to stay away from the cravings.
This is a light and gluten free alternative of pizza which also retains the classic flavor of it. You can bake them in a muffin tin and they will hold the cute shape after being cooked.
Meatball or meatless meatball
You can make a batch of meatballs with tomato sauce or veg meatballs which are lighter than the non-veg version. If you want the crusty pizza effect then you can serve the meatball on thin crust or slider flat bread.
Make delicious and low calorie mini pizza with eggplant slices by sandwich it between two whole grain toast. You can also top the roasted round slice with a layer of veggie toppings or creamy layer to get the pizza effect.