What Are the Healthiest Types of Bread?
Bread doesn't exactly have a reputation for losing weight or, actually, being generally healthy. Considering the popularity of low-carb and gluten-free diets, you may find it difficult to think of bread in a health-positive way.
But despite criticism that it is fattening or too high in carbohydrates, the right kind of bread can be an extremely healthy food. After all, many pieces of bread have a simple ingredient list that begins with whole grains, and eating more whole grains is associated with lower weight and a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and death from any cause.
Keeping bread with a healthy diet is about choosing varieties with the best nutrition (because definitely not all breads are created equal).
To clearly define which are the healthiest, we evaluated various types based on amounts of fiber, protein, micronutrients, and total calories, as well as what research says about their health benefits.
100% wholemeal bread
It's no wonder that 100% whole wheat bread is packed with fiber and nutrients and is one of our picks for the healthiest variety.
A medium loaf of bread made with whole wheat flour provides 80 calories, 5 g of protein, 0 g of fat, 20 g of carbohydrates and 3 g of fiber.
100% whole wheat bread also contains varying amounts of essential minerals like selenium, manganese, calcium, thiamine, and phosphorus.
Meeting your nutrient needs is fine, but the end goal of good nutrition is, of course, real health results. Whole wheat bread certainly delivers in this department.
Increasing whole grains (such as 100% whole wheat bread) has been shown to reduce the risk of several chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
In addition, several studies have shown the positive effects of whole grains on weight control. A 2018 study found that when adults replaced refined wheat with whole wheat in their diets, they experienced a significant loss of visceral fat.
Pay attention to the labels
Note that many breads that are advertised as whole wheat may not contain 100% unrefined whole grains.
Practice diligently reading the label to determine if store-bought bread is made with only whole wheat flour. A 100% whole wheat bread will be labeled as such or will have whole wheat flour as its first ingredient (and will not list other flours such as "wheat flour" or "enriched bleached flour").
Wheat isn't the only grain that deserves its share of glory for its health benefits. Other whole grains like oats, amaranth, buckwheat, barley, and millet can find their way into multi-grain breads to add fiber, protein, and micronutrients.
Again, adding a variety of whole grains like these is an evidence-based way to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases.
That said, navigating to healthy whole wheat bread can be a bit tricky. When breads are labeled multigrain, it can be difficult to tell whether the grains that included them were actually whole or refined. Look for a multi-grain bread labeled "100% whole grain."
Sprouted grain bread
Whole grains are healthy to start with, but harvesting them at the point of germination, such as when they sprout, further increases their nutrient content.
Sprouted grains contain higher amounts of vitamins and minerals like folate, iron, vitamin C, zinc, and magnesium, making them other healthy bases for bread.
In addition to increasing the micronutrients in bread, sprouted grains also affect the macronutrients. Sprouted beans are higher in protein, which means they can keep you full longer (improving weight control).
In the meantime, if you're trying to keep carbs to a minimum, sprouted grains can help. They tend to have fewer carbohydrates as the germination process breaks down the starch.
With their high protein and fiber content, sprouted grain breads also have a relatively low glycemic index. This means that they won't spike your blood sugar as fast as other breads, like white bread, which has a glycemic index of 75.
Consider sprouted grain breads as a healthy, nutrient-packed sandwich option, or for even more fiber, choose brands that combine sprouted grains with legumes like lentils, beans, or peas.
We hope you enjoy watching this video about healthiest breads
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