It’s been drilled into our minds that pizza isn’t healthy. Well, like most blanket statements, that’s not necessarily true. With the right ingredients and healthy choices, you can enjoy pizza pretty often without seeing negative effects on your health. Here are a few legitimate reasons you might want to enjoy a slice for your health.

Cancer Protection

Some researchers have found that eating pizza on a weekly basis is associated with a lower risk of cancer in the esophagus, colon, and mouth.

This is largely attributed to the amount of lycopene in pizza, an antioxidant that tomatoes have in great supply. However, there may be other factors lurking in the magical pie-shaped meal we all love.

“We knew that tomato sauce could offer protection against certain tumors,” Dr. Silvano Gallus said. “But, we did not expect pizza as a complete meal also to offer such protective powers.”

Extension of the Mediterranean Diet

One possible explanation of it being healthier than expected is that pizza is a type of Italian food, but it has many Mediterranean characteristics. The Mediterranean diet has lately been recognized as one of the healthiest in the world. The diet is rich in simple ingredients that carry plenty of antioxidants and probiotics.

If a pizza is made of simple, light, or unprocessed ingredients, like the pizza at Hollywood Pizza Cafe, then it can be a healthy addition to your weekly diet.

It’s Less Processed Than Other “Fast” Foods

The base of the pizza we’re all used to is very simple and doesn’t require much alteration. Wheat strands are broken down into flour, tomatoes are broken down into sauce, and milk is turned into cheese, the basic ingredients in pizza are found in nature without the need for chemical or biological enhancement.

Pizza can be as healthy as a chef or owner so chooses, unless you’re going to a chain restaurant that puts quantity and speed above all else. Pizza is almost always a healthier option than what you’d get at a typical fast-food establishment.

All That Cheesy Protein

A typical large piece of pizza has somewhere between 11 and 14 grams of protein in each slice, which equates to roughly 20 to 25% of the recommended daily intake. Along with all those carbohydrates packed into the crust, pizza can actually be a quality pre- or post-workout meal.

It Disguises Healthy Ingredients

Not everyone loves veggies by themselves, but many of those people are willing to accept them if they’re laying on a bed of pizza. Pizza provides a tasty vehicle to drive some nutrition into your diet.

Pizza provides a flavor that can blend with almost anything. There are a number of ingredients that can be thrown on a pizza to make it rich in nutrition. Aside from traditional veggies like olives, peppers, onions, and broccoli, pizza blends well with ingredients like capers, sardines, artichoke hearts, garlic, and many other boldly flavored foods that have numerous health benefits.

It Can Be Made as Healthy as You Want It

Every pizza is a canvas and you can paint it however you’d like. Toppings are really what makes the difference in how healthy your pizza can be, and you can go as indulgent as you’d like or keep it clean while still having something delicious. You could even go with a vegan pizza and still have a mouth-watering piece of pie.

Gluten-free and cauliflower pizza crusts can provide for a little more pep in your step than a traditional flour dough, but even with a flour-based dough, pizza could be enjoyed on a near-daily basis as long as you’re moderating what goes on top.

White and Mediterranean pizza slices are arguably as healthy as your typical sandwich, and maybe even more so because of the hard-to-find antioxidants that many of them come with.

As long as you’re avoiding options that use low-quality ingredients and not overdoing it on the red-meat toppings — both of which will result in a fattier, greasier pizza — the idea that pizza is inherently unhealthy is a myth.

Don’t be afraid to power your day with a slice of pizza, and stop in to Hollywood Pizza Cafe to review all of your healthy choices, including a variety of toppings, gluten-free, and vegan ingredients!