Look at That Loaf: The Best Breads for Your Body
Tuesday, February 21, 2023
Peanut butter and jelly.
Make these delicious meals with bread bookends – easy, right? It used to be. Now, with endless choices on the bread aisle, the most difficult part of sandwich prep happens in the middle of the grocery store. Labels like whole grain, multigrain, sprouted grain, gluten-free and more can confuse hungry customers.
But have no fear. Researchers have put forth a tremendous effort to determine which breads in the basket are best for our bodies.
Whole grain breads top the charts for most nutrition, but don’t be fooled – make sure the label contains that word “whole.” Made with intact grains, whole grain bread maintains rich vitamins, minerals and fiber innate in whole wheat, barley, brown rice, oats and other grains.
A study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health discovered that people who ate about four servings of whole grains per day had lower risks of premature death, heart disease and death from cancer compared with those who eat little or no whole grains. Talk about a power food.
While multigrain sounds healthy, the word does not guarantee 100% whole grains. As the name suggests, multigrain loaves contain more than one type of grain, but those grains may have been processed to remove bran and germ (which means they’re stripped of their nutritional value). On the other hand, if the label says it’s multigrain and made with whole grains, that bread comes with a variety of nutritionally packed goodness.
With heat and moisture exposure, grains sprout. A study on the National Library of Medicine website shows that breads made from sprouted grains have more availability for certain nutrients. High in antioxidants, folate, fiber and protein, these breads are not only better for us, they’re more filling.
Made without glutenous grains like wheat, barley and rye, these breads offer safe options to people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivities – but the gluten-free label doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy. Many gluten-free breads contain refined flours, added sugars and unnecessary additives.
The bottom slice: Read the labels. Avoid refined flours and added sugars so you can enjoy healthy bread as part of your well-balanced diet.
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