Because pizza is good for your mood and is a complete single dish

Pride of Italian gastronomy, declared in 2017 intangible heritage of humanity by Unesco, the Pizza it is certainly the most famous dish in the world. In our country we eat about 8 kilos a year each and, according to a research commissioned by Eataly, 60% of Italians bring it to the table at least once a week, while 15% even more often. Favorite recipe? At the top of the rankings is always the tricolor version, based on tomato, mozzarella and basilcreated in 1889 by the pizza maker Raffaele Esposito as a tribute to Queen Margherita.


Synonym of sharing
and contentment

Beyond its gastronomic value, pizza undoubtedly has an indisputable social value. Who has never dined on this food during a reunion with friends, a sporting event or a celebration? «Pizza is a transversal dish, which brings everyone together: it adapts to everyone’s tastes, it’s good in all seasons, it’s loved by adults and children alike. And it is also a food that reflects our national identity, our roots. For this reason, compared to other dishes, it has an added value in terms of aggregation and sharing» he comments Paola Scalaripsychosocial analyst.

«Not to mention that the psychological aspects also contribute to making pizza the queen of the tables. Certainly her colors and her scents are particularly suited to involving our brain, as well as the association with pleasant moments of conviviality ». But not only. According to some scholars it would be comparable to a real one food drug. This is supported by researchers at the University of Michigan for whom pizza is the food that most of all creates affection. The reason lies in its mix of ingredients, in particular carbohydrates, which stimulate the production of serotonin and milk proteins, which intervene on the production of dopamine, neurotransmitters capable of activating the brain circuits of well-being and gratification.

How to include pizza in the diet

In short, pizza is good for our happiness. «But it is also a dish that can be considered complete from a nutritional point of view, as it contains carbohydrates, the basis of the pizza, proteins, supplied by the mozzarella, and lipids deriving from the olive oil. Then there are the antioxidants and fibers present in tomatoes. It is therefore a food capable of providing us with i important macro and micronutrients» he comments Barbara Borzagaspecialist in food science.

Of course, it’s always better not to exceed, considering that a medium-sized margherita pizza, ie between 250 and 300 grams, contains 7-800 calories, to which must be added those of any other ingredients.

How to enjoy it then in a balanced diet and without adding too much weight to the caloric intake? «First of all, by allowing yourself it once a week. Two times are good for those who practice sports at a competitive level. Another tip: while waiting for it to be taken out of the oven, don’t order bruschetta, fried appetizers or dressed with various sauces: at most two slices of defatted raw ham or fish carpaccio. Better still is to precede the pizza with a vegetarian dish, such as a mixed salad or grilled vegetables: this increases the amount of fiber which slows down the absorption of sugars and fats. It would also be better to avoid combining other carbohydrates with those of the pizza, but if you really can’t say no to dessert, one bowl with berriesa kebab or a fruit sorbet are the best, refreshing and low-calorie alternatives».

For the same reason, you should pay attention to what you drink when you eat pizza: since it is a rather tasty dish, it can promote thirst and water is the best choice. The combination with beer is the most appreciated, but it can create swelling due to the presence of yeasts that ferment in the stomach together with the pizza dough. The solution is to settle for a small beer and focus on a quality product, for example artisanal. On the other hand, carbonated drinks should be avoided, as they are decidedly too sugary.

Frozen pizza, a valid alternative

If you don’t have time to knead, roll out, fill and bake, the sub-zero versions come in handy, ready in a matter of minutes. Here’s what to look for on the label if you aim for quality.

276801Frozen pizza began to be marketed in the United States in the 1950s and has since experienced growing success everywhere, including Italy. But how to orient yourself in the choice? Definitely looking carefully at the ingredients and the processing and cooking methods indicated on the package. “There are producers who use wholemeal flour, extra virgin olive oil, mozzarella (and not alternative cheeses of lower quality), buffalo mozzarella and Italian tomato sauce,” explains the nutritionist. «The leavening reaches times comparable to those of the best pizzerias (up to 24 hours) and cooking often takes place in wood-burning ovens. These are all index elements of care and quality that make frozen pizza an excellent product from a nutritional point of view. An advice? Choose the daisy version and then add fresh ingredients to personalize it».

The nutritionist’s choice. Maria Paola Dall’Erta, our biologist-chef has chosen the frozen pizza Senatore Cappelli variety from Le Stagioni D’Italia to make his versions of “giropizza wellness”. Why did he prefer it? The tomatoes are made in Italy, the flour is produced with ancient Senatore Cappelli variety wheat and with 100% Italian wheat (also available in the wholemeal version). Furthermore, the pizza is left to rise for 24 hours and cooked on stone in a wood-burning oven.

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