From a cooking point of view, the expression “al dente” means that precise cooking point when, even though the pasta is cooked, it has a little resistance (firmness) to the bite. The result is that the pasta is firm, but not tough. This name has Italian origins and it means “to the tooth”.
Cooking pasta al dente or a little softer tends to depend on personal taste. But what many don’t know is that pasta al dente has numerous nutritional benefits. Here are some of them below.
Health benefits of pasta al dente
It prevents blood glucose spikes
This is not only beneficial for diabetics. It is good for everyone, because glycaemic spikes increase the risk of getting diabetes type 2.
It’s more filling
Given its tougher texture, pasta al dente makes you chew more slowly and eat less. This is because the brain has more time to release hormones that send signals to your brain saying that you are full.
It gives you an energy boost
Pasta al dente releases sugar into the bloodstream slowly and is a great aid for athletes and anyone who needs an extra energy boost.
It helps you lose weight
The starch crystals of pasta al dente that can’t be digested are not absorbed as glucose in your blood, thereby reducing your calorific intake.
It takes care of your intestinal flora
Did you know that if you let pasta cool in the fridge you multiply its benefits? When cold, a thing called resistant starch is created: new starch crystals that travel through the digestive system without being damaged and arrive at the intestinal flora undigested. They are used as prebiotics (the food of your good bacteria, probiotics) and help with digestion and with your health in general.
How to make pasta al dente
- Boil 1 litre of water per 100 or 150 grams of pasta. When it starts to boil, add salt. Wait until it starts boiling again, and then add the pasta and stir.
- Respect the cooking times indicated on the package but, to make sure the pasta is al dente, try it a little before the recommended time: if it looks jelly-like on the outside but it is a little firm on the inside, it means it is al dente.
- Combine the pasta al dente with your favourite sauce or ingredients: a traditional dish like pasta carbonara or pasta Bolognese. Or, why not make a delicious pasta salad with all the ingredients you have in your fridge? A healthy, cheap and tasty meal. Bon appétit!