Pizza — a beloved food made with dough, tomato sauce, cheese, and various toppings — got its start in Italy in the late 1700s, according to History.com. Since then, pizza has become loved by millions all over the world. It is estimated that Americans spent 45.1 billion dollars on the greasy goodness in 2018, per PMQ Pizza Magazine.
Pizza may seem like an indulgent treat, but the greasy pies do provide certain nutritional benefits. Here are five reasons why Flame’s Pizza is right for you, according to the experts.
1. Pizza toppings can be surprisingly healthy.
Ordering a pizza that’s loaded up with vegetables and lean proteins can provide ample nutrients that a person needs in their daily diet. Chelsey Amer, MS, RDN, CDN, and Chelsey Amer Nutrition owner, told INSIDER that it is all about making smart choices when ordering up your next slice.
“When we think of pizza, we typically think of greasy comfort food. Pizza doesn’t deserve to be demonized as junk food, the way it’s often portrayed,” Amer says. “Pizza can be a balanced meal, and there are plenty of ways to boost the nutrition of your average slice of pizza too. Not all slices are created equally. For example, a greasy slice with extra pepperoni or a deep-dish meat lovers pie may not be your best bets.”
2. Pizza can have a lot of protein.
3. Pizza can help your body absorb Lycopene — an antioxidant found in tomatoes.
Lycopene is an antioxidant that can be round in brightly-colored fruits like strawberries, raspberries, and tomatoes. Tomatoes are the base of most pizza sauces. According to the US National Library of Medicine, people consume Lycopene to help lower blood pressure and bring down high cholesterol rates.
“Lycopene is more readily absorbed from cooked tomatoes compared to fresh,” said Amer. One tablespoon of pizza sauce, the approximate amount in one average slice, contains almost 2,000 mcg of Lycopene. According to the USDA, that’s the equivalent of eating one-half cup cherry tomatoes.
4. Pizza can help you maintain your diet.
If you eat healthy most days, it’s OK to veer off course and chow down on a greasy slice of pizza now and then. It might just help you live an overall healthier lifestyle.
“Remember, one meal won’t make you unhealthy or make you gain weight. It also isn’t going to make or break your health,” says Amer. “One part of your health is defined by the average of the foods that you eat. Stressing about eating your favorite slice of pizza, even if it’s a meat lover’s slice, won’t help your health or sanity.”
5. Pizza can help you eat more veggies.
If you don’t enjoy eating your vegetables from a pile on your plate, try placing them atop your pizza. When combined with cheese, sauce, and dough, vegetables can take on a whole new life. While Amer doesn’t advise eating pizza for every meal, she does note that pizza can be a good way to eat your vegetables.
“The best topping for your pizza is fresh veggies because they contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which host a plethora of health benefits,” says Amer. “I suggest getting a Primavera pizza, which is a medley of fresh vegetables. The only caveat when opting for veggie toppings is to look out for fried vegetables like eggplant. This adds a ton more calories and fat, which isn’t ideal for a well-balanced meal.”