This is just the excuse you’ve been looking for. Check out the awesome health benefits of pizza:
Pizza is fairly high in calories and fat, and a lot of its calories come from the white flour crust, but don’t let that get you down. We say focus on the positive, like some of the actual health benefits of pizza that make it worth grabbing a slice (but, maybe dab the oil with a napkin):
- Fights cancer — Hard to believe it, but it’s true! Studies have discovered that people who eat pizza more than two times per week had a 59% lower chance of developing esophageal cancer, 34% lower risk of throat cancer, and 26% lower risk of colon cancer. This is due to the extremely high lycopene content of pizza. Lycopene is found in tomatoes, but mainly in stewed/cooked tomatoes. The tomato sauce used for the pizza is very rich in these antioxidants, which have been proven quite effective against many forms of cancer.
- Rich in antioxidants –– Aside from the lycopene in the tomato sauce, all baked wheat products contain a lot of antioxidants. Chicago-style deep dish pizza is particularly rich in antioxidants, as it has a thicker crust and spends more time in the oven. The increased baking time increases the antioxidant properties of the pizza by as much as 82% in some cases! Definitely a good way to get more antioxidants, right?
- It makes lycopene absorption easier — When you eat a raw tomato, there is very little lycopene in it. Stewing/cooking the tomatoes increases the lycopene content, but lycopene is a bit hard for your intestines to absorb. Unless you add fat to the equation. Let’s say you put cheese on your pizza, and suddenly your intestines have a much easier time absorbing all that lycopene. Definitely the way to go!
READ MORE: Breakfast Pizza? Yes Please!
- Boost calcium intake –– Did you know that pizza is a great source of calcium? There’s cheese in every slice, and the fat consumed along with the calcium makes it easier for your body to absorb. When you add more calcium to your diet, you activate your body’s natural fat burning furnace and ensure that it has what it needs to send the calcium right to your bones!
- Increase protein intake –– Make sure your pizza has the right toppings, and you’ll get a lot of protein in your diet. Cheese is an excellent source of protein, though it does contain a fat as well. There are a variety of lean-protein topping choices out there as well, and the Italians are known to crack raw eggs over their pizza!
If you’re serious about your health and still want to eat pizza, it’s best to opt for the thin crust stuff. Thick crust pizza is very heavy on the white flour and dough, and can lead to blood sugar swings, excess calorie consumption, and weight gain. When made the right, old fashioned way with fresh, natural ingredients, pizza can be a very healthy food–not to mention one of the most delicious meals on the planet!