The Italian Almanac


Italian News - September 22

Health-conscious pizza-fans will soon be able to tuck into their favourite dish with fewer worries, Italian nutritionists announced here this week. A team of culinary experts have developed the first "anti-oxidant pizza", which is not only low in cholesterol, it also promises to fight aging.

The secret of the pizza, according to Eugenio Luigi Iorio, President of the International Observatory for the Study of Oxidative Stress, lies in the addition of fresh vegetables to the dough. "Vegetable flour isn't digested immediately and if mixed with water, it swells," he said. "This extends the digestive process, thereby slowing the absorption of carbohydrates and blocking the absorption of cholesterol.

"This in turn, can help prevent illnesses such as diabetes and artiosclerosis." The slow digestion and swelling of the dough also encourages people to eat less, said Iorio, as a sense of "fullness" develops faster. While normal pizza dough contains natural yeast, salt, water and flour, the anti-oxidant dough contains fresh, raw vegetables, as well as 23% whole-wheat flour, double the amount used in standard pizza.

The finished base contains seven types of fresh vegetable: carrots, red onion, red and yellow bell peppers, tomatoes, spinach and courgettes. "While these vegetables are common additions to pizzas, the difference lies in the fact that they haven't been cooked, a process which destroys the nutrients," said Iorio.

Despite expectations that the combination might taste "too healthy", the pizza has proved a hit.