Making a small change in your diet – such as choosing whole grains more often, may have a big impact on your health. Whole grains foods, such as breads, cereals and pastas, have not been processed and therefore retain and provide us with more nutrients, including fiber, protein, iron and B vitamins.
Whole grains are classified as complex carbohydrates. Our bodies convert complex carbohydrates more efficiently into a source of energy, keep our blood sugars level and are less likely to be stored as fat when compared to refined white flour (PDF, 89 KB) products.
Whole grains offer other benefits, too, by:
- Keeping us from feeling hungry
- Decreasing food cravings
- Avoiding overeating
All of these benefits contribute to achieving a healthier body weight – which can lower your cancer risk.
Keep in mind that portion sizes still count, because excesses in caloric intake still can contribute to weight gain.
Health-e-Recipes, Issue # 494
March 4, 2014
Pep Up Your Pasta
Whole-wheat rigatoni and colorful red peppers are the stars of this simple pasta sauté. Whole grains are rich in fiber, a nutrient important for lowering risk of certain cancers, particularly colorectal. The subtle sweetness of the red peppers is balanced by cherry tomatoes and spinach, adding potent phytochemicals. These natural plant compounds may help protect cells from the types of damage that may lead to cancer.
Rigatoni with Red Peppers
- 12 oz. rigatoni, whole-wheat preferred
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 medium red bell peppers, deseeded and sliced into 1/2-inch strips
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 10 oz. fresh spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
Cook rigatoni according to package directions for al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup water. Return pasta to pot to keep warm.
While pasta cooks, in skillet heat oil over high heat. Stir in onion, peppers and tomatoes. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Sauté, stirring occasionally. After 5 minutes, add spinach and continue to sauté until vegetables are tender and spinach is wilted, about 5 more minutes.
Add vegetables, reserved pasta water and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese to pasta and gently toss to combine.
To serve, top pasta with basil and remainder of Parmesan cheese.
Makes 6 servings.
Per 1½ cup serving: 282 calories, 6 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 49 g carbohydrate, 14 g protein, 2 g dietary fiber, 171 mg sodium.