Who doesn't love bread; it is one of the few luxuries in life. Unfortunately, not all bread is healthy, or at least as healthy as it could be. Still, there are several bread options you can indulge in on occasion.
1. Sprouted Whole Grain
Heat and moisture force grains to sprout. Sprouting increases the availability and amount of nutrients. Sprouted bread has more nutrients and more antioxidants than most bread.
Sprouted whole grain bread is an excellent source of fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Additionally, the product has less impact on blood sugar and decreased carb content.
2. Whole Wheat (100%)
Whole wheat bread is whole-grain bread, making it healthier than other bread. A whole grain is an intact grain, including the bran, endosperm, and germ.
Despite the starchiness of the endosperm, the bran and germ represent beneficial ingredients. Each grain component contains vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and other beneficial compounds.
According to several studies, actual whole grains decrease several health risks, including:
Type 2 diabetes
Check the label for 100% whole-wheat or whole-grain flour when shopping. Manufacturers try and trick consumers with whole wheat labels but use refined flours.
Sourdough is a popular option because it is easier to digest than other bread. Manufacturers use a fermentation process to make the bread rise. The fermentation also ensures the bread is a good source of pre-and probiotics.
Probiotics are the healthy bacteria that make up some of your gut flora. Prebiotics are food for good bacteria. Both ensure a healthy and stable digestive tract, allowing you to absorb nutrients.
4. Flax Bread
Made from flax seeds and whole-grain flours, flax bread is among the healthiest bread. Flax seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid. Studies suggest ALA can reduce the risk of heart disease.
Additionally, flax seeds contain antioxidant compounds called lignans. Lignans can protect against certain cancers. One study claims eating flaxseed bread can reduce a woman's breast cancer risk by 23%. The claim requires more research.
5. Sprouted Rye (100%)
Many people cannot distinguish between rye and wheat bread based on sight alone. Still, there are differences between the bread. Traditional rye bread does not contain wheat flour, only rye, but modern ryes contain a mix.
Rye contains more soluble fiber than wheat, making it healthier and more filling. According to studies, rye bread releases less insulin, helping regulate insulin levels.
When selecting rye bread, look for bread using 100% whole-grain sprouted rye flour. Sprouting results in a higher fiber content, making the option healthier than non-sprouted.
6. Oat Bread
Oats contain several beneficial nutrients, including thiamine, zinc, magnesium, and iron. Additionally, oats are a fiber-rich food with several benefits. The oat fiber beta-glucan can help:
Reduce high blood pressure
Regulate blood sugar
As with any bread selection, you need to read the ingredients label. Many oat breads contain refined flours, added sugars, additives, and oils. A healthy oat bread option should include a combination of oats and whole-wheat flour.
7. Gluten-Free Bread (Health Options Only)
Some people need to avoid gluten because of allergies or health issues. If you don't know, gluten-free breads do not contain glutenous grain — barley, wheat, or rye.
Gluten-free options can be healthy, but you need to be careful. Many GF options contain refined flours, added sugars, and unnecessary additives. When looking for quality GF bread, consider those made from coconut or almond flour.
Too many people focus on the negatives of bread. Still, you can improve your health and indulge with the right bread.