Navigating the Bread Aisle: 5 of Your Healthiest Bread Options

By: Samantha Wineke, Functional Medicine Health Coach.

Not all bread is created equal. Some people find that they feel best completely eliminating bread and grain products altogether. This could be due to many issues, including an impaired gut lining, gluten sensitivity, Celiac disease, systemic inflammation, or the quality of the bread they are consuming. (For more information on gluten, listen to the upcoming episode of our podcast, FUNC YOU UP!)

Others find that they can include bread in their diet occasionally. For those lucky bread lovers out there who aren’t bothered by wheat and grain products, we have ranked our top 5 breads to consume. Of course, recommendations vary from person to person. Make sure to always check the ingredient list. If you recognize the ingredients and the list is short, it is likely less processed, which means it is better for you. If you can opt for Non-GMO or organic bread, that’s your best bet!

  1. Sprouted Grain Bread: Sprouted bread is minimally processed and enhances the nutritional profile of the grains, increasing the protein, fiber, vitamin, and mineral content. Additionally, the fermentation reduces the carb content, making it a good low-glycemic option. With the increased protein and fiber, and reduced starch content, a slice of sprouted grain bread is more satiating than your average slice.
  2. Sourdough Bread: Sourdough is created via a fermentation process where lactic acid naturally lowers the phytate levels, making it easier to digest and more nutritionally bioavailable. It has a lower gluten content than most types of bread and more protein per slice. The bacteria used to ferment the bread contains prebiotics and probiotics which are key for digestion. Not to mention, oat or spelt sourdough can be a good option for IBS patients as the fermentation reduces the fructan content of the bread (a trigger for many IBS sufferers).
  3. Rye Bread: Rye is denser than whole wheat bread, and because it is difficult to separate the germ and bran from the endosperm of the grain kernel, it typically retains nutrition, such as manganese and phosphorus. One slice typically gives you around 3 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber, and it has a relatively low amount of carbohydrates, so it is a great option that will keep you satiated and reduce blood sugar spikes.
  4. Pumpernickel Bread: Think of pumpernickel as a crossbreed between rye and sourdough. Similar to sourdough, it can be easier on digestion, and similar to Rye, it has a low glycemic load.
  5. Whole Grain Bread: Whole grains are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Whole grain bread contains wheat, as well as other whole grains like oats or barley. Whole grain bread will not need to be enriched as all nutrients are kept from the original bran, germ, and endosperm of the grain kernel. There is less processing in whole grain bread, resulting in a lower glycemic index, keeping us fuller longer. Tip: look for 100% whole grain to ensure that “whole grain” doesn’t mean there are just some whole grains in the bread.

Still not sure which kind of bread is the right one for you? Feel free to reach out to us by filling out the form below, or give us a call!

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