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Whole Grain Benefits

4 Health Benefits of Sourdough Bread, According to a Dietitian

Here at EatingWell we love our carbohydrates. Not all carbohydrates are created equal, but nutritious whole grains deserve a regular place on your plate for a variety of reasons. In fact, whole grains like quinoa, barley, oatmeal, and popcorn all add valuable nutrients to your diet and can even help you lose weight. Several breads are filled with nutrients and can be part of a healthy diet, including sourdough bread. Sourdough bread had a moment when people were baking and cooking more at home, and for good reason. We did the research to find these impressive health benefits of sourdough bread.

Sourdough nutrition

Whether you buy sourdough in-store or make it yourself, he has a pretty impressive nutritional profile (we have this homemade sourdough bread and starter recipe to get you started). Most sourdough is not made from whole wheat flour, but you can use whole wheat flour in your bread if you make it at home. Here is the diet for a slice of sourdough bread:

  • 84 calories

  • 3 g protein

  • 0.75 g fat

  • 16 g of carbohydrates

  • 1 g fiber

  • 7% DV iron

  • 10% DV folic acid

What sets sourdough apart from traditional bread is that it is made by fermenting flour and water instead of adding yeast to make a sourdough. The fermentation process helps release B vitamins in bread, which support the energy metabolism. In addition, sourdough is usually made with fortified flour so it provides iron and folic acid, which are important for women, especially when they are pregnant.

4 health benefits of sourdough bread

Not only does sourdough bread provide a tangy flavor that’s perfect for toast and sandwiches, it’s good for you too! Here are four science-based benefits of sourdough bread.

1. It’s good for your gut

The fermentation process for sourdough bread can lead to an increased number of prebiotic and probiotic properties that help improve gut health. An animal study by the University of Eastern Finland found that sourdough bread made with rye flour increased the number of good intestinal bacteria compared to white bread made with rye flour. Look for sourdough breads made from whole grains, which have more fiber than processed grains, and will add extra gut benefits to your bread.

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2. It can lead to better digestion

Although sourdough bread is not gluten-free, one study found that consuming sourdough regularly can help improve gluten digestion. The fermentation process for sourdough alters the enzymes in wheat and can potentially help counteract adverse reactions to gluten. It’s too early to recommend sourdough bread to people with celiac disease (who cannot tolerate gluten), but people who feel sensitive to gluten should speak to their doctor or nutritionist to see if they can enjoy sourdough bread. Other studies have found that the lactic acid bacteria in sourdough can even help alleviate allergic reactions, inflammation, and autoimmune diseases.

3. It promotes healthy aging

Whole grain products and bread, like sourdough bread, are a staple of the Mediterranean diet. Some research has shown that it could be a crucial food in promoting healthy aging. A study in Aging Clinical & Experimental Research found that regular consumption of whole grain sourdough bread contributed to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer in older adults in the southern Mediterranean.

4. It can help keep blood sugar in a healthy range

Consumption of carbohydrates naturally increases our blood sugar as we digest them. However, rapid spikes and falls in blood sugar can increase the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes. We get these big spikes from eating simple carbohydrates like sugar and refined grains, especially when they’re not paired with protein and fat (two nutrients that slow digestion).

How foods affect your blood sugar is quantified using the glycemic index and glycemic load. The glycemic index shows how much your blood sugar spikes two hours after consuming a food, while the glycemic load shows how quickly the blood sugar spike occurs. Sourdough bread has a lower glycemic index and lower glycemic load than white bread and whole grain bread that is not fermented. Whole grain sourdough contains more fiber, which also lowers your blood sugar load.

Bottom line

Sourdough is becoming increasingly popular for good reason. It’s full of nutrients, healthy carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and vitamins like folic acid and iron. It can improve digestion, lower the risk of chronic illness, and even promote healthy aging. Whether you buy it from a local bakery or make it yourself, try sourdough bread today to take advantage of the flavor benefits.

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