Grains such as oats, rice, rye, barley and wheat are derived from the seeds of grasses. Semolina, or durum semolina, comes from a type of wheat commonly used to make pasta. Pastas and breads containing whole-durum semolina not only provide you with the nutritional benefits of other whole grains, but may also protect your immune system and add a rich source of protein to your diet. Consult your doctor before consuming semolina breads and pastas.
Semolina comes from the endosperm of durum wheat, which contains harder kernels than those found in other types of wheat. Durum semolina is particularly valued by pasta makers due to its high protein and gluten content, which help keep the pasta's shape intact. Durum semolina also contains more of the antioxidant beta-carotene, responsible for its golden hue, than other wheat, according to bakery and pastry instructor Daniel T. DiMuzio, author of the book "Bread Baking: An Artisan's Perspective." Although semolina itself is not a whole grain, you can purchase whole-durum semolina, which contains all the nutritionally relevant parts of the wheat grain. Dr. Mehmet Oz recommends selecting semolina products that come in a package that says 100 percent whole-durum semolina.
Whole grains contain all the essential seed components necessary for optimal nutrition: the bran, endosperm, or kernel, and the germ. These unrefined grains provide a rich source of dietary nutrients, including fiber, B vitamins, iron and magnesium. You can obtain whole grains from foods, including whole-durum semolina pasta and breads as well as from other whole-wheat products. In contrast, refined grains, such as white bread, lose many of their nutritional benefits through the refining process. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends consuming a minimum of half of all your grains as whole grains. The whole grains in whole-durum semolina also may decrease your risk of type 2 diabetes, some cancers and heart disease. In addition to helping your bowels function properly, the fiber in whole-semolina pastas and breads may also help you feel fuller longer to prevent hunger and subsequent overeating. Whole grains also contain healthy complex carbohydrates and are low in cholesterol and fat.
Immune System Benefits
Plant pigments, or carotenoids, such as the beta-carotene in semolina, may help protect your immune system from dangerous pollutants, toxins, diseases and the damaging effects of the sun's ultraviolet rays. Research published in the December 1998 edition of the "Journal of the American College of Nutrition" observed the effects of beta-carotene supplements on immune system suppression resulting from ultraviolet light exposure in 32 healthy older men. Subjects were placed in two groups that received either 30 mg of beta-carotene or a placebo daily for 47 days. After 28 days, half of each group received 12 ultraviolet light exposures. Subjects who received both the beta-carotene supplements and the ultraviolet light sessions exhibited less immune-system suppression than other participants. Findings suggest that beta-carotene plays a protective role in the immunosuppressive effects of ultraviolet light in older male subjects. However, additional research is needed to scientifically prove the immune-enhancing effects of consuming semolina pastas and breads.
Semolina is a rich source of protein that generally contains from 12 to 15 percent of this vital nutrient, according to associate professor of culinary arts and author Paula I. Figoni. Every cell, organ and tissue in your body contains protein, which is essential to maintaining optimal cell, muscle and organ function. Complete protein sources from animal products such as milk, cheese, meat, and eggs contain all the essential amino acids, or protein-building blocks, your body cannot produce itself. Likewise, incomplete sources of protein, such as grains and beans, lack some essential amino acids. However, the abundant protein in durum semolina, when combined with other protein-rich foods can help you obtain all the daily protein you need to stay healthy. A 2011 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention generally recommends that 10 to 35 percent of your daily calories come from protein.