Bread has gotten a bad rap over the years thanks to its high ranking on the glycemic index scale. With white bread specifically, the sugars are quickly broken down and sent into the bloodstream. This causes blood sugar levels to spike and increases your chances for obesity and diabetes. Luckily, there are many other, healthier options for bread than white bread.
No added sugar and sprouted whole grains make Ezekiel bread a top choice. The sprouting process increases the amount and bio-availability of vitamins and minerals, and can be done either dry or wet.
Dry sprouting: Sprout the grain and then dry it to lock in the nutrients when they are at their peak. The sprouted grain can be stored until it is cooked or milled into sprouted grain flour to then make bread.
Wet sprouting: Mash wet, sprouted grains into a thick paste used to make breads, tortillas, and more (often described as “flourless”).
For vegetarians, Ezekiel bread is a great choice. It’s made from wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and spelt, which, when all are sprouted and combined, create a complete protein similar to that found in milk and eggs. In addition, it also contains all nine essential amino acids.
Flax seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, especially for vegans since oily fish and fish oil are not an option. Flax seed and flaxseed bread can help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.
Rye bread is made with rye flour which comes from a wheat-like plant. A study on mice that were fed whole grain diets based on either wheat or rye showed that whole grain rye reduced body weight, slightly improved insulin sensitivity, and lowered total cholesterol in mice. Other studies found that people who ate rye bread for breakfast had decreased hunger and desire to eat eight hours later in comparison to those who ate wheat bread.
Oats are one of the healthiest sources of good carbs as they are slow-digesting, and thus, make you feel fuller longer. Oats also provide a high amount of beta-glucan (a cholesterol-lowering fiber) which has been shown to reduce certain cancers (such as colon cancer), diabetes, digestive problems, and heart disease. They also have more protein than wheat, and contain various vitamins (ex. vitamin E), and nutrients (ex. iron, calcium). Oat bread may contain whole grain oat groats, steel cut oats, and thick oats.
Whole Wheat Bread
When choosing whole wheat bread, be sure to choose 100% whole wheat versus enriched wheat flour. Although the U.S. requires manufacturers to enrich wheat flour with vitamins B1, B2, B3, and iron because processing takes over half of the nutrients out, the same amount that’s been depleted is not put back in. In its original, non-enriched form, whole wheat is a great source of dietary fiber, manganese, and magnesium.
Remember, in order for something to be whole wheat, the product has to be made from the entire wheat kernel. Therefore, whole wheat is one kind of whole grain. While all whole wheat is whole grain, not all whole grain is whole wheat.
Whole grain foods contain a bevy of nutrients, fiber, and healthy plant compounds naturally found in the grain. You want to look for products that list the first ingredient as “whole wheat,” “whole oats,” or a similar whole grain.
For further clarification, whole grains can mean it has one of many types of healthy grains included, while whole wheat labels the specific grain that’s being used.
Multigrain bread is another that may be confused with whole grain bread. Multigrain means a food has more than one type of grain, although they might not all be whole grains. You want to check the label to ensure that you are choosing multigrain bread with whole grains.
Brown Rice Bread
This is a great options for those who are vegan and gluten-free. With brown rice bread, you still get the benefits of fiber, proteins, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and potassium natural to the rice, without gluten or any animal products/byproducts.
With gluten-free bread, the wheat, rye and barley are substituted with cornstarch, rice flour, tapioca starch and potato flour. This bread should be reserved for those with Celiac disease or with gluten allergies since gluten-free diets are often stripped of lots of nutrients. If you have neither condition, try a different type of healthy bread on the list.
The making of sourdough bread is quote labor-intensive. The longer rise time increases the lactic acid and creates and ideal pH for the enzyme phytase. This enzyme breaks down phytates, which bind to minerals like iron, zinc, and manganese, slowing their absorption. The long fermentation process allows the bacteria to break down the carbs and gluten in the bread, making it easier to digest and releasing the nutrients so that they are easier to absorb.
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