A pizza is an oven-baked, round-shaped flat bread that is generally topped with tomato sauce and cheese. Aside from these basic toppings, additional toppings like meat or vegetables are also added to it. Pizza originated in Italy, and is in fact one of the country’s national foods.
The healthier types of pizza are those that have more vegetable and fruit toppings and less meats and cheeses.
Neapolitan pizza is a traditional type of pizza that is topped with only mozzarella cheese and tomatoes. The pizza marguerite is an example of Neapolitan pizza.
Pizza Romana is pizza topped with tomato, anchovies, oil, mozzarella and oregano. Pizza Capricciosa is topped with mozzarella, mushrooms, cooked ham, oil, tomato, artichokes and olives. These types of pizza are all considered Lazio-style pizza.
These are only the two basic types of traditional pizza. There are still a number popular pizzas that are sold today, most of which are variations of traditional ones.
Nutrition in Pizza
Pizza is considered a source of high-energy because of its calorie content. A regular slice of thin crust, cheese pizza has around 200 calories. If there are additional toppings like pepperoni, another 100 calories is added. For a regular slice of thick crust cheese pizza, the calorie content should be around 275 calories, not including any additional toppings.
Pizza has high carbohydrate content, has moderate fat and protein (although this can be changed to high if a lot of meat toppings and cheeses are added) and very little vitamin content. It is also not a good source of mineral nutrients.
As for Glycemic Index, pizza is considered to have a medium GI value.
Health Issues in Pizza
Because pizza is high in salt, calories and fat (depending on the toppings), this type of food has raised concerns about the negative health effects that it can bring.
A research on European nutrition, as well as the eating habits of cancer patients (mouth cancer, colon cancer, throat cancer), revealed that people who ate pizza at least once every week had a lesser chance of having cancer. This could be attributed to the lycopene in the tomato sauce in pizza. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent the occurrence of cancer. The types of pizza involved in the studies however, are the traditional types that are rich in fiber, fruit, olive oil and vegetables.
Popular types of pizza that are high in cheeses and meats are considered to be major contributors to obesity, as well as a risk factor for the development of cancer.