Health conscious Americans are driving the explosive growth of whole-grain pasta, increasingly found in a variety of forms on grocery shelves. After giving up white bread for whole-grain, white rice for brown, now consumers are expanding their health-conscious choices to pasta.
The New York Times reports, "Not only are there more whole-wheat pastas available than ever before, but some of them show a major leap in quality" and "the best whole-grain brands are firm-textured and tasty."
Behind this change is a growing concern over consuming nutrient-depleted refined wheat flours. The process of refining wheat into white flour strips most nutrition and fiber from the flour. This results in enriching the flour in an attempt to restore some of the nutrient levels lost. Most health-conscious consumers realize that the wiser choice is to buy whole-wheat products. This increasingly includes using whole-wheat pasta in recipes.
In addition to being a great source of natural fiber, whole-wheat pasta also provides many essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Attempting to fulfill the desire for products that provides better nutrition, manufacturers are adding additional ingredients to the product. Flaxseed is added to boost the omega-3 fatty acid content and various other ingredients may be added to increase omega-3, antioxidants and nutrient levels.
Using whole-grain pasta in traditional recipes works best with rich, hearty sauces or simply olive oil and herbs. Artisan pastas made from ancient strains of wheat, which are naturally more nutritious, are increasingly popular. Flours made with spelt, einkorn, and farro enhance the most sophisticated recipes. Whether choosing an artisan brand or just a basic whole-wheat product, the added nutrition and fiber of whole-grain will enhance your health while the rich flavors enhance your meal.