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What Are the Benefits of Whole Grain Pasta?

by
author image Michele Turcotte, MS, RD
Michele Turcotte is a registered, licensed dietitian, and a certified personal trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She has more than 12 years of experience in clinical and corporate settings, and has extensive experience in one-on-one diet counseling and meal planning. She has written freelance food and nutrition articles for Trouve Publishing Inc. since 2004.
What Are the Benefits of Whole Grain Pasta?
whole grain raw pasta Photo Credit tycoon751/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

Whole grain or whole wheat pasta, such as spaghetti, is made from flour that contains the entire grain kernel, the germ, endosperm and bran. Whole grain pasta is rich in many nutrients essential for human health and is high in dietary fiber, which promotes regularity and may help lower cholesterol and aid in cancer prevention.

Provides Energy

What Are the Benefits of Whole Grain Pasta?
homemade whole grain feticine Photo Credit photooiasson/iStock/Getty Images

Whole grain pasta is a carbohydrate-rich food. One cup of whole grain pasta, cooked, provides approximately 37 grams of carbohydrates. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 45 to 65 percent of the calories you consume should come from carbohydrates, particularly complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, vegetables and legumes. Macronutrients, such as carbohydrates, are those you need daily in large quantities. Carbohydrates are the preferred source of energy for your muscles, red blood cells and nervous system, according to the McKinley Health Center of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Nutrient-Rich

What Are the Benefits of Whole Grain Pasta?
whole grain spiral noodles Photo Credit Monkey Business Images/Monkey Business/Getty Images

Whole grain pasta is high in B vitamins and minerals, such as copper, selenium, magnesium and manganese. Refined or white flour pasta, while enriched with B vitamins, is not a good food source of minerals. The B vitamins are important for a healthy nervous system and energy metabolism. Copper is needed to form connective tissue, blood cells and promote function of the nervous, immune and cardiovascular systems. Selenium supports immune system and thyroid gland function. Magnesium is essential for regulating blood pressure and building strong, healthy bones while manganese aids in bone formation and the metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins.

Fiber Benefits

What Are the Benefits of Whole Grain Pasta?
cooked whole grain pasta dish Photo Credit dulezidar/iStock/Getty Images

Whole grains are high in dietary fiber, which promotes digestive health; helps lower blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels; encourages regular bowel movements and aids in weight management. The Harvard School of Public Health reports that whole grains, such as whole grain pasta, contain compounds called phytoestrogens or plant estrogens. These substances may help to reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancers -- particularly in conjunction with the minerals found in whole grains -- such as copper, selenium, magnesium and manganese.

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