The 6 healthiest pastas to eat for menopause
Is there a perfect pasta for the pause?
Quick, easy to cook and very cost effective, who doesn’t like pasta? Great for the younger generation who burn up their calories at a rate of knots, but not so much for their perimenopausal mothers who may be suffering loss of sleep, fatigue and general exhaustion whilst juggling home, family and work-life balance. Pasta may give that much needed burst of energy, but it’s not our friend in the waistband department!
During perimenopause we need to avoid high glycaemic index (GI) foods and refined carbs like pasta made with semolina, or durum wheat, which causes a spike in blood sugars that our sluggish menopause metabolism just can’t cope with.
Results from a survey published in 2018 by Leeds University, show that for each additional daily portion of carbohydrates eaten, in particular, refined pasta and rice, women were more likely to reach the menopause 1.5 years earlier than the average age of 51. Other long-term studies in the United States, Finland, and Norway, found that people who eat large amounts of whole grains have significantly lower rates of heart disease than those who don't.
Today most doctors and registered nutritionists believe in a more balanced approach to a healthy diet, relying heavily on protein and carbohydrates along with fruits, vegetables, nuts, and healthy fats. The focus is now on whole grains. So, now is the time to rethink our menopause diet if we want to be healthy in the next phase of our life.
Most supermarkets, and certainly any good health store, have caught up on this trend and there are plenty of alternative wholegrain and gluten free alternative pastas to accommodate different diets and tastes.
So, how do you choose, and which pasta is really a healthy option menopause?
We give you 6 alternative wholegrain pasta options to choose from.
Whole Wheat Pasta
In general, whole wheat pastas have a higher protein and fibre count than their durum and semolina cousins. They are also a better source of other important nutrients such as selenium, potassium and magnesium. Whole wheat pasta has a nice nutty flavour and is a well-suited for more substantial pasta sauces.
Spelt is an ancient, nutty-flavoured grain made from unrefined ingredients, that's extremely high in both fibre and protein. It’s highly nutritious and one plateful of wholegrain spelt pasta provides 50 percent of the daily recommended protein requirement for women. This wholegrain pasta has a rougher texture than normal pasta, which helps it to absorb flavours better. In addition, it is less slippery and less likely to fall off the plate!
Brown Rice Pasta
This is a favourite of Hot Flush as it’s the best gluten-free option and it can withstand much more cooking before it gets mushy, unlike most other gluten free options. Brown rice pasta also contains about the same number of calories and nutrients as whole wheat pasta. This wholegrain choice has a noticeably milder flavour.
A South American grain that’s extremely high in protein and iron, it boasts a low glycaemic index, resulting in a slower rate of digestion, so you'll be fuller for longer, absorbing more of the food's nutrients.
Buckwheat is a slow-releasing carbohydrate, meaning they're a source of good long-lasting energy. In addition, you can cut calories virtually in half when you switch from regular white pasta to buckwheat.
Red lentil pasta
Made from red lentil flour, this form of pasta is low GI, high in protein, iron and fibre. It’s gluten-free, cholesterol-free, full of essential vitamins and a great source of energy. Worth a try we say.
So, what can we really take away from this comparison?
For one, hopefully you’ll be happy knowing that we’re not telling you to cut pasta out of your diet totally, just re-thinking your choices. Where one boasts fibre, another boasts protein and fast-burning carbohydrates. Really, the answer lies in taste and personal preference. Because each whole-grain option is a giant nutritional step up from typical semolina, or durum-based pastas, you're doing well just trying them out and seeing what you think. Basically, any are perfect pre, peri and post-menopause pastas!
Check out our perfect perimenopause pasta dishes, any of the sauces will work with the different types of pasta.