How much to eat? How to combine it at the table? Here are the nutritionist's tips to avoid making mistakes
Soft and tasty. Polenta is a typical dish of the culinary tradition of the regions of Northern Italy. Consumed without exceeding in quantity, it is a valid alternative to pasta, bread and whole grain cereals. "If it is prepared with simple and not very elaborate ingredients it can be eaten without risking gaining weight", explains the nutritionist Nicoletta Bocchino, which here suggests what properties it has and how much and how to eat it to make it an excellent ally for shape and health.
"From a nutritional point of view, polenta is rich above all in complex carbohydrates, in particular in starches, but it has a high glycemic index so to guarantee slow-release energy from this food it is necessary to combine it with a protein source and above all with fats, preferably of vegetable origin , explains the expert. To increase its satiating effect, the ideal is to combine it with seasonal vegetables. For example, polenta and broccoli seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, ensures a formidable mix for health. "This dish provides antioxidants including sulforaphane, which thanks to its powerful protective action, defends cells from oxidative damage".
How much to consume: quantity and calories
Polenta has a caloric intake similar to that of bread, pasta and cereals. «One hundred grams can exceed 300 calories. The advice is to consume a portion of maximum 70 grams and avoid combining it within the same meal with foods that contain sugars. For example, eating a plate of polenta and bread (but also potatoes, rice, pasta, pizza) promotes weight gain. Furthermore, if this habit is perpetrated and one is predisposed, the risk of the onset of diseases such as diabetes increases ".
How to eat it
Polenta itself is a simple dish. It is prepared with water and corn or buckwheat flour. However, attention must be paid to the condiments. “Those that are too fat and high in cholesterol (sausage, stew) should be limited. On the other hand, the association with lean meat of chicken, turkey or rabbit is very good. Even the combination with fish (sea bream, hake fillets) is perfect, because thanks to the healthy fats and complete proteins it provides, it is able to increase the satiating capacity of the dish. It limits the body's absorption of sugars and the secretion of insulin and lowers the glycemic index ", explains nutritionist Nicoletta Bocchino. To improve the nutritional profile of polenta, the classic combination with mushrooms and legumes is also promoted. "Mushrooms are an excellent source of minerals, vitamins and fibers of which polenta is poor. Legumes rich in lysine combined with polenta provide proteins complete with all essential amino acids. Combined without exaggerating with polenta and a portion of vegetables, it ensures a complete, energetic and nutritious meal .