The Healthiest Bread, According to RD

HYou used to sit for a long time in the bread section of your local grocery store trying to find a ‘just right’ loaf of Goldilocks — not so nutritious that it tasted like cardboard but not delicate. to the point of clogging your digestive system — and your eyes start to glaze over? Similar. Despite that, I always try to find a bread of some kind to keep on my kitchen counter when the avocado toast or BLT sandwich comes call time. However, over the years, the type of bread in my cart has changed.

At first it was white, then wheat, then multigrain, and now it has sprouted. I guess you can call me the breadwinner… but the reality is, my purchasing decisions are somewhat more arbitrary than that. To understand which end of the loaf is the most nutritious and delicious, we asked a nutritionist to share her favorite energy-boosting, gut-healthy breads.

What is a healthy bread that a nutritionist can’t do without?

According to Desiree Nielsen, RD, the way to go is sprouted grain bread. “It offers far more nutritional benefits than most other loaves on the market,” she says. “I especially love Silver Hills Bakery’s 100% sprouted grain breads because they’re made with whole grain germinated wheat and are packed with plant-based protein and fiber to help keep blood sugar levels down. and energy levels – at a steady level.”

The brand has several nutrient-packed “sprouting power” breads, including the Squirrel Bread, which contains 12 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber per two-slice serving. (This is, BTW, about a third of your daily recommended fiber intake.)

Health benefits of sprouted grain bread

What makes sprouted grain bread so delicious and exactly RD approved? Well, Nielsen has a lot to say on the subject. For starters, she points out that this bread is made by grinding germinated whole-wheat flour instead of whole-grain flour, which provides higher fiber and protein content because the grain The seeds are still intact. And, of course, we know how important fiber is to support healthy digestion and promote a balanced gut microbiome.

What’s more, sprouted grain breads are rich in a specific type of fiber that contains a compound called arabinoxylans – essentially a gut health superstar. “Whole wheat contains compounds called arabinoxylans that research shows promote production of the short-chain fatty acid butyrate in the gut microbiome, which is associated with many health benefits,” says Nielsen. , including soothing inflammation,” says Nielsen.

“The sprouted grains themselves also provide fortified nutrition. Germination – which initiates the modification of carbohydrate and protein storage in grains – can help improve the digestibility of wheat by altering starch and gluten. Germination also unlocks minerals like iron and calcium in wheat, improves bioavailability, and may even increase intake of vitamins and plant antioxidants like folate and GABA, says Nielsen.

What is the difference between sprouted grain bread and other regular breads?

Let’s go down to the science section. Nielsen explains that the main difference between sprouted grain bread and other popular varieties like wheat or white wheat lies in its processing and anatomy.

According to Nielsen, a wheat grain has three main components: bran (the outermost layer of the grain, rich in fiber, B vitamins and minerals); endosperm (store and contain mainly starch and protein); and germ (an inner cavity that holds fat, fiber, and fat-soluble nutrients like vitamin E).

Meanwhile, white bread is made from wheat flour that has had the bran and germ removed, resulting in little or no fiber and fewer vitamins and minerals. This is why Nielsen says that most white bread available in the US is fortified during processing to improve its nutritional profile.

“In the United States, both whole-grain flour and whole-wheat flour are simply unrefined grains of wheat that are ground into flour. So you’re getting the germ, bran and endosperm found in the wheat grain,” says Nielsen. In short, whole grains contain more fiber, vitamins, and minerals than refined grains. “However, the process of grinding grains into flour – even 100% whole-wheat flour – results in a higher surface area for faster digestion, which leads to a higher glycemic impact,” she adds. , which is one of many reasons why she chooses whole-germinated wheat whenever possible.

So does this mean that white bread is not the question?

Of course not. Like most things in life, it’s all about balance. “All foods can fit into a healthy diet when your foundation is nutrient-rich plant foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and whole grains,” says Nielsen. kinds of bean. However, she notes that commercial white sandwiches tend to have a high glycemic impact, which is more likely to lead to sugar spikes and drop in energy throughout the day.

But that doesn’t mean it’s all bad. Nielsen explains that white bread can provide a number of important nutrients, such as folate – which may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease – through fortification. She also points out that good-quality sourdough bread (yes, even when made with white flour) benefits from slow fermentation, enhanced digestibility, and sugar benefits. intestine and reduce the glycemic impact of the end product.

TL; DR? “Exchanging white bread for sprouted grains is an easy way to increase nutrient density in your diet and help you feel your best. In our house, sprouted cereal is our daily slice, and then we can enjoy a delicious sourdough at a restaurant or during a weekend meal,” says Nielsen.

Finally, the bread-buying information we’ve been needing for our decision parallax problems so far.

PSL season is almost here. We’ll just leave this for you here:

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