As a result of the Keto diet and the negative focus on gluten, bread has largely fallen out of favor. In terms of problematic foods, carbohydrates lurk at the top of the list. And, unfortunately for bread lovers, bread ranks among the highest in terms of carbohydrate richness.
Thus, many Americans have given up bread or have at the very least consumed less bread to improve their health. Though bread has a bad reputation in the United States, it is a vital part of many diets throughout the world. Interesting to note, in these bread-consuming areas, the residents tend to live longer and healthier lives.
But why? Perhaps the key lies in the type of bread they eat as opposed to the basic white loaf Americans generally find on grocery store shelves.
Is there such a thing as healthy bread? Let’s find out.
Bread: To Eat Or Not To Eat That, Is The Question
It doesn’t take a master baker to recognize that standard American white bread cannot match artisan loaves. Unlike bread made from scratch, mass-produced white bread generally has highly processed grains that are stripped of essential nutrients.
People living in areas referred to as “Blue Zones,” including Okinawa, Japan; Icaria, Greece; Sardinia, Italy; Loma Linda, California; and Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica, enjoy a diet including freshly baked bread. As a whole, people in these parts of the world tend to live longer, prompting researchers to examine their diets more closely. Nonetheless, you can be sure that the bread they enjoy contains whole grains and doesn’t contain any refined flour.
Furthermore, researchers are learning that whole grain consumption and successful aging go hand in hand. So, if you’re a bread enthusiast, there’s no need to be concerned about consuming it. But, before you buy that crusty loaf, find out which types of bread will help you live a longer, healthier life.
Best Breads For Your Health
1. Corn Bread
Corn bread is not one of the first things that comes to mind when one thinks of good health. However, it is packed with vitamins and minerals. Just as with the other breads on our list, how the corn bread is prepared is important. So, in this case, we’re not talking about highly processed mixes you find in the grocery store. Rather, Loma Linda cornbread, which comes from one of the five blue zones, should be praised for its nutritional benefits.
While it doesn’t come from a box, Loma Linda cornbread is still simple to prepare. It includes cornmeal, spelt flour, flaxseed meal, vegetable oil, milk of choice, salt, baking powder, and maple syrup.
Loma Linda’s cornbread star ingredients are cornmeal, flaxseed, and spelt. Among their benefits are fiber, which promotes gut health, and omega-3 fatty acids, which aids in heart health.
Sourdough may come as no surprise on this list, as it’s one of the oldest forms of bread. Due to its simplicity, combined with its unique fermentation process, it has a very impressive nutrition profile. During the the sourbread’s fermentation process, the phytate in the bread is reduced, allowing the body to absorb more nutrients.
The process of preparing sourdough is also simple. Sourdough can be made with just a few ingredients, and while the starter does require a bit of patience, the end result is well worth the effort.
Additionally, sourdough has the added benefit of containing less gluten than other breads, even though it is not gluten-free. Due to this, it may be easier on those with gluten intolerance.
3. Pita Bread
In the world of bread, pita bread is a hidden gem. However, anyone who enjoys Greek or Middle Eastern cuisine already knows what an amazing side it is. Besides complementing dishes such as shakshuka, and chicken shawarma, pita stands out for its impressive nutritional value.
However, how pita is made makes or breaks its nutritional value. Luckily, the vast majority of pita is made from whole grain or whole wheat. As well as being nutritionally dense, research has shown that pita made with sprouted grains can dramatically boost folate levels, which are desirable for healthy cell growth.
4. Whole Grain Bread
Whole grain bread, not to be confused with multi-grain bread, contains all three components of a grain kernal: bran, germ, and endosperm. Also included in whole grain are other grains such as barley, corn, and rye. In contrast to refined bread, which has been stripped of the nutritious components, whole grain breads still contain them all. Those living in the blue zone love whole grain bread, as you might expect.
Even though blue-zone residents are more likely to grind their grains, it is also possible to enjoy the benefits of whole grain bread with minimal preparation. A loaf of whole wheat bread can easily be prepared with yeast, whole wheat flour, and water, all which can be found in the grocery store.