I’ll admit it. I’m not a huge fan of whole grain bread for toast or sandwiches. The toast just doesn’t get that wonderful crisp when you bite into it and sandwiches become more dense for my liking. I realize the message has been to avoid white bread and go for whole grain breads for more fiber and nutrients. For those of you wanting a little change in your bread choices once in awhile there is a white bread that is actually good for you. And…you can eat it daily. This mystery bread is sourdough bread.
Sourdough bread is a fermented food that can provide great health benefits for you. It’s a good idea to make sure you incorporate fermented foods regularly (others include yogurt, sauerkraut, etc) for a healthy gut. These foods provide healthy bacteria called Lactobacillus acidophilus that aids in digestion. Along with intestinal health, recent research shows fermented foods support immune function, provide anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, and may even provide some protection from pathogenic bacteria like salmonella.
Sourdough, specifically, has other nutritional advantages as well. For one, the lengthy fermentation time decreases the phytates, antioxidant compounds, found in the wheat. Phytates can bind minerals such as phosphorus, iron, magnesium, and zinc decreasing their absorption. During fermentation the phytates are broken down in the acidic environment leaving more of these important minerals to be absorbed by your body.
You don’t have to worry too much about your carbs either, especially if you’re insulin resistant. Because of the fermentation process, sourdough has a low glycemic load meaning you’ll have a lower blood sugar and insulin response. Always remember glycemic load is dependent on one serving size. Eating more than the recommended serving will gradually increase your glycemic response.
The sourdough process also breaks down gluten, a protein found in wheat. Studies have shown promising hope for those with Celiac disease, an inflammatory condition of the small intestine caused by ingestion of gluten, but more research is needed before the green light is given to eat sourdough bread. For those with non Celiac gluten sensitivity, with the go ahead from your dietitian or healthcare provider, you can give it a try and see if you tolerate sourdough bread since it has minimal gluten. Some people with non celiac gluten sensitivity may be able to tolerate small amounts of gluten while others may not.
For everyone else, if you love Sourdough bread like me, go for it! It’s absolutely a healthy choice.
About the Blogger
Meri Raffetto is the founder of Real Living Nutrition Services and the author of The Glycemic Index Diet for Dummies®, and coauthor of The Glycemic Index Cookbook for Dummies®.