New type of pasta can help prevent heart attacks
It could only have happened in Italy, the land of linguine, vermicelli and tagliatelle - scientists in Tuscany have developed a new type of pasta that can help ward off heart attacks.
While health experts might frown on people gorging on too much spaghetti carbonara or creamy linguine, the new pasta is being touted as beneficial to well-being.
It is made from a mixture of standard durum wheat flour mixed with whole-grain barley flour, which is rich in a fibre called beta-glucan which enchances the growth of new blood vessels.
Those blood vessels then form "natural bypasses" in the event of a heart attack, according to the researchers in Pisa.
Scientists tested their theory on laboratory mice, feeding them the newly developed pasta and then inducing cardiac arrest.
Mice that had been fed the barley pasta survived in greater numbers than a group of mice that had eaten ordinary durum wheat pasta.
The barley-munching rodents also sustained less damage to their hearts, examination revealed.
The researchers, from the Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa, revealed the results of their research on the website Scientific Reports.
They said the new pasta "makes the body more resistant to stress and to coronary artery disease".
"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to show that a sustained dietary intake of pasta enriched with [beta-glucan] safely increases coronary collaterals… and reduces mortality," said Prof Vincenzo Lionetti, who led the study.
He added that the pasta had the effect of creating a "biological bypass" that naturally enhanced heart health.
In 2014, a study discovered that pasta is less fattening if cooled down and then reheated before it is served.
doctors fed freshly cooked and reheated pasta separately to volunteers, taking blood samples every 15 minutes for two hours to compare the effects.
They found the reheated pasta was significantly healthier and acted more like bananas, beans or raw oats when absorbed in the gut.