A pizza a day keeps the doctor away? Maybe it can, say food chemists at the University of Maryland in the US. They’ve developed a new baking technique, using higher temperatures and longer baking times, which raises the level of antioxidants – those molecules that protect us from cancer and disease-causing free-radicals – in whole-wheat pizza dough.
It may be a while before the technique reaches South Africa but in the meanwhile, there are ways to enjoy your favourite Italian import without feeling too guilty, says Johannesburg dietitian Tammy Flint. ‘Pizza is generally healthier than other fast food because it isn’t fried,’ she says. ‘But the extra kilojoules sneak in when you add meat toppings such as ham and salami – these are generally of the processed variety, so the fat tends to be saturated, and they’re high in salt.’
A plain margharita is best if you’re watching your waist but you can always add interest – and antioxidants – with vegetable toppings such as mushrooms, green pepper and garlic. ‘Portion size also makes a big difference,’ says Flint, ‘so share your pizza with your man or save some for tomorrow.’