10 Surprising Health Benefits of Pizza
When it comes to comfort food, pizza often tops the list as a beloved favorite. While it's true that some pizza varieties can be indulgent, there are numerous health benefits to this iconic dish. Whether you opt for a classic pepperoni pie or explore the wholesome goodness of vegetarian and vegan pizza, here are ten compelling reasons why you can enjoy your slice guilt-free.
1. Balanced Nutrition
Pizza can easily be a well-rounded meal when it includes a variety of toppings. It typically contains all three macronutrients – carbohydrates in the crust, protein in the cheese and toppings, and healthy fats, such as:
Olive Oil: A drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil adds a rich, savory flavor and provides monounsaturated fats that support heart health.
Basil Oil: Basil oil infuses your pizza with the fresh, aromatic essence of basil while contributing its own set of healthy fats, making each bite a delightful experience.
Truffle Oil: A bit of truffle oil on a pizza not only imparts a luxurious earthy flavor but also adds another layer of healthy fats to your slice. Try it out on the Forest Shroomin’ pizza from We, the Pizza Express.
Seeds: Varieties of seeds like fennel seeds or flaxseeds may be sprinkled on certain gourmet pizzas, offering a source of omega-3 fatty acids and added texture.
Plant-Based Cheese: Vegan pizzas often feature dairy-free cheese alternatives made from nuts like cashews, almonds, or soy, providing plant-based healthy fats.
Add We the Pizza Express’ Farmer’s Market salad packed with local and seasonal greens, green peppers, bean sprouts, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, and Kalamata olives on the side for extra nutrition.
2. Fiber Boost
Incorporating fiber into your diet is a wise choice for overall well-being, and pizza can be surprisingly versatile in this regard. Opting for whole-grain pizza crusts is a simple yet effective way to boost the fiber content of your meal. Whole grains provide a more sustained release of energy, keeping you feeling satisfied for longer and helping to stabilize blood sugar levels.
Fiber aids digestion, supports a healthy gut microbiome, and contributes to a sense of fullness, making your pizza experience not just enjoyable but also a nourishing choice for your body.
3. Rich in Lycopene
Tomato sauce, a pizza staple, is a great source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer.
Heart Health: Lycopene has been extensively studied for its positive impact on cardiovascular well-being. It helps by reducing the levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol and lowering blood pressure, which collectively lowers the risk of heart disease. Incorporating lycopene-rich foods like tomato sauce into your diet is a heart-smart choice.
Cancer Prevention: Lycopene is a formidable ally in the fight against cancer. Research suggests that it may help protect against certain types of cancer, such as prostate, lung, and stomach cancers. Its potent antioxidant properties work to neutralize harmful free radicals in the body, potentially preventing cellular damage that can lead to cancer.
Skin Health: Lycopene isn't just beneficial on the inside; it can also benefit your skin. Some studies have suggested that consuming lycopene-rich foods may provide protection against UV-induced skin damage, reducing the risk of sunburn and promoting healthier skin.
4. Portion Control
One of the often-overlooked benefits of pizza is its natural ability to help with portion control. Each slice serves as a perfectly sized portion, allowing you to enjoy your meal without the risk of overindulging. This built-in portion control makes it easier to manage your calorie intake and helps you stay mindful of your eating habits.
5. Bone Health
While you may not immediately associate pizza with bone health, one of its key components, cheese, plays a crucial role in supporting your skeletal system. Here's why it's good news for your bones:
Calcium-Rich Cheese: Cheese, a prominent ingredient on many pizzas, is a fantastic source of calcium, a mineral essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth. Calcium is not only integral to the structure of bones but also plays a vital role in muscle function, blood clotting, and nerve signaling. Just one serving of cheese can provide a significant portion of your daily calcium needs.
Veggie Pizza Options: Even if you're lactose intolerant or follow a vegan diet, you don't have to miss out on the bone-strengthening benefits of cheese. Many pizzerias, like We, the Pizza Express, now offer vegetarian and vegan pizza options with dairy-free cheese alternatives. These dairy-free cheeses are often fortified with calcium to provide the nutrients your bones need without compromising your dietary preferences.
6. Boosted Immune System
Garlic, a common pizza topping, contains allicin, a compound known for its immune-boosting properties. Regular consumption of garlic may help your body fend off infections and illnesses. Try roasted garlic on the White Pie from We, the Pizza Express.
Pizza is not just a treat for your taste buds; it's also a satisfying source of protein. Protein is essential for building and repairing muscles. When you enjoy a protein-rich pizza, you're supporting your body's ability to recover from physical activity and maintain muscle mass. Examples of common pizza proteins include:
Anchovies (for a salty, umami flavor)
Vegetarian options like tofu or plant-based protein substitutes (for vegan or vegetarian pizzas)
8. Improved Digestion
Surprisingly, certain types of pizza can actually promote better digestion. When you opt for pizzas with whole-grain crusts, you're incorporating dietary fiber into your meal. Fiber, found in abundance in whole grains and some vegetable toppings, plays a crucial role in maintaining digestive health.
Fiber aids in regular bowel movements, preventing constipation and promoting overall digestive regularity. Additionally, it acts as a prebiotic, nourishing the beneficial bacteria in your gut and supporting a healthy gut microbiome. A well-balanced gut microbiome is associated with improved digestion, nutrient absorption, and even better immune function.
9. Nutrient-Rich Veggies
For those seeking a healthier and plant-powered pizza option, vegetarian and vegan pizzas are a treasure trove of nutrient-rich vegetables. These colorful toppings not only enhance the flavors but also provide a host of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support overall health.
Common veggies found on these pizzas include:
Roasted garlic puree
For a veggie-packed pizza experience, try the Vegan Spicy Sicilian from We, the Pizza Express, complete with a medley of roasted peppers, cremini mushrooms, sweet onion, basil pesto, and chopped parsley.
10. Antioxidant-Rich Herbs
Many pizzas are garnished with antioxidant-rich herbs like oregano and basil. These herbs not only enhance flavor but also provide health benefits, potentially reducing inflammation and supporting immune function.
In conclusion, pizza can be a surprisingly nutritious and satisfying meal when prepared with wholesome ingredients and enjoyed in moderation. So, whether you prefer a classic pepperoni, a Honey Ham and Pineapple, or the delightful flavors of vegetarian and vegan pizza, go ahead and indulge – your taste buds and body will thank you!
Contact We, the Pizza Express for the Best Gourmet Pizza in DC
If you're craving an exceptional pizza experience in the heart of Washington, DC, look no further than We, the Pizza Express. Our commitment to crafting the finest gourmet pizza in the capital city shines through in every slice we serve. Made with the finest ingredients and a passion for culinary excellence, our pizzas offer a symphony of flavors that will delight your taste buds.
So, why wait? Contact us today to savor the very best in the DC gourmet pizza scene. Whether it's dine-in, delivery, or a catered event, we're here to satisfy your pizza cravings with quality and taste that's second to none. Order DC pizza delivery online now, or call 202-891-7992.