Pasta and Depression: Get the Facts

From by Stephanie Meyering
Pasta and Depression: Get the Facts

By Diane Welland, MS, RD

Nutritionists agree that pasta is a perfect foundation for healthy, nutritious and satisfying meals:  pasta is generally eaten with nutrient-dense food partners, such as fiber-filled vegetables and beans, heart-healthy fish and monounsaturated oils, antioxidant-rich tomato sauce and protein-packed cheeses, poultry and lean meats.

When it comes to food and nutrition, the term “GI” refers to Glycemic Index.  GI is a measurement tool that determines a food’s impact on blood sugar levels, specifically how quickly a food causes blood glucose, or “blood sugar”, levels to rise.  A high GI would be a number at 70 or greater.  Recent research suggests that high-glycemic diets may be associated with greater incidence of depression.  At 50-55, pasta has a low GI.

Research also suggests that foods with low GI are associated with lower incidence of depression.  Pasta is often paired with high-fiber vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, such as broccoli, cauliflower, beans and tomatoes, all of which are low GI foods and associated with lower rates of depression and overall good health. 

As an integral part of the Mediterranean Diet, which The New England Journal of Medicine attributes to a reduced risk for a number of diseases, pasta can be an important component of a well-balanced diet.  Current dietary guidance calls for up to 65% of daily calories to come from carbohydrates, such as pasta.  Pasta Fits offers dozens of nutritious and delicious recipes that fit into a healthy lifestyle and current USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

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