Ahh pizza. The deliciously cheesy dish that has been satisfying families and frat boys for generations. It’s also a dish that can bring about some serious stomach pains and regret when eaten in large portions. Well not any more. Feeling guilty about downing a deep dish is now a thing of the past. Because it turns out that pizza, when eaten in moderation, of course, contains many of the nutrients necessary for a healthy diet. Yes, you read that correctly. There are some surprisingly healthy things about pizza that should make you feel less guilty about ordering it every week (or daily. I’m not here to judge.)

Now, I know you don’t really need a reason to indulge in pizza. But when the delivery boy is giving you judgy eyes after bringing you your fifth pie of the week, it’s nice to have something to tell him. It goes without saying that pizza is so easily customizeable. That’s not only what makes it so great, but what makes it much healthier than you’d think. You can add on nutrient-rich veggies, meat, or even fruit if you’re the adventurous type. You can swap the traditional crust for a whole wheat option or cut down on the cheese if you desire. But even as the original cheese and pepperoni variety, pizza contains a lot of healthy components that make it a sort-of good for you dish. So next time you think about skipping the pizza for a salad, just remember these seven healthy facts about pizza.

1. Pizza Fights Cancer

Well, a component of pizza can. According to the Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine, tomatoes are packed with lycopene, a radical-fighting antioxidant that has been shown to ward off various cancers, including prostate, lung, and stomach. Sounds like a great reason to order extra sauce, right?

2. Tomatoes Can Save Your Heart

In addition to lycopene, tomatoes contain high amounts of antioxidants and nutrients like Vitamin C, beta carotene and folic acid, all things which have been proven to fight heart disease. Here is reason numero dos to order your pizza extra saucy.

3. Pizza Is Packed With Protien

According to Health.com, most women need about 5 to 60 grams of protein a day. And while every body is different, pizza is one food to turn to if you’re looking to boost your protein intake. Healthy Eating notes that one slice of thin crust, cheese pizza contains 8.4 grams of protein, meaning two slices gives you almost a third of your daily needs.

4. Pizza Is A Calcium Powerhouse

Studies show that most women aren’t getting enough calcium. The good new is it can be found in many different foods, especially dairy. And cheese happens to be a main ingredient in pizza. Coincidence? I think not.

5. Pizza Can Help You Reach Your Fiber Goals

Like calcium, most people don’t get enough fiber. Healthy Eating notes that one slice of pizza with whole wheat crust packs in 4 grams of fiber, about 15 percent of the daily intake for women. Sure you may miss the taste of original crust, but it’s worth it for you health.

6. Toppings Can Make Pizza Even Healthier

What’s a pizza without a slew of toppings? Adding nutritional toppings like veggies or fruit will give your pizza an extra dose of good-for-you yummy-ness.

7. The Garlic Is Golden

Garlic is a virtual superfood– packed with fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and much more. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, this aromatic little veggie can help lower your risk of heart disease, decrease your blood pressure and even fight the common cold.

8. Pizza Tossing Is Helping Scientists Save Lives

Scientists at Monash University have discovered the secrets of pizza tossing and are using the technique to design new motors thinner than human hair to use during brain surgery. Therefore, ordering pizza is helping science. Solid logic? Yes.

9. Deep Dish Pizza Is High In Antioxidants

A study by the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at the University of Maryland discovered correlations between baking time, temperature and the size of the crust having a positive effect on the amount of antioxidants absorbed into the crust. I’m not one to argue with science, so more pizza please!

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