Pizza has never had a reputation for being the healthiest food. But is that fair? Some Italian scientists say no, on the contrary.

A new study published in the research journal Nutrients found that eating pizza had a positive effect on those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. The cross-sectional study included 365 participants from Italy between the ages of 18 and 65 who were suffering from the autoimmune and inflammatory disease.

The study found that participants eating half a pizza more than one time per week, versus less than two times per month, reported beneficial effects on disease activity. Nutrients further reported that 70–80% of participants eating more pizza found a positive correlation. The study noted that mozzarella cheese and olive oil were likely the key drivers of improved disease activity.

Related: Here’s why pizza is good for you (no matter what anyone says)

This is not the first time the potential benefits of eating pizza has made the news lately. A recent deep dive into the subject by PMQ found that pizza can give eaters both a mental and physical boost. It has been established that comfort foods carry positive psychological benefits, and pizza is not different.

“Some foods get a bad rap as being ‘unhealthy’ or ‘bad,’ yet we overlook the simple fact that each food provides some type of nutritional, cultural or social component that shouldn’t be ignored,” Lindsay Wengler, registered dietitian at Olive Branch Nutrition in New York City, told PMQ earlier this year. “When we start to break down pizza for what it really is—dough/bread, tomatoes, cheese and olive oil—we can see how it doesn’t deserve the stigma. When we analyze those ingredients even further, we can see the nutrition and health benefits that pizza actually provides.”

The Nutrients study did note that “future cohort studies are needed to confirm this beneficial effect of pizza and related food items/groups on [rheumatoid arthritis] disease activity.” In other words, some future lucky souls may also get to eat more pizza in the name of science.


Food & Ingredients