Bread is considered the enemy in certain low-carb quarters. Its “unhealthy” reputation stems from the low-carb diet myth that all carbohydrates are inherently bad. Although it’s true that heavily processed, refined carbohydrates and sugary foods lack nutrients, not all types of carbs or bread fall into this category, says Malina Malkani, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Westchester, New York. It’s possible for bread to be part of a healthy
Healthy types of bread
100 percent whole wheat
Whole wheat is the first type of healthy bread that typically comes to mind. The flour used to make 100 percent whole wheat bread is less processed and retains both the bran and germ of the wheat grain.
Sprouted whole grain
Sprouted bread is made from whole grains that have sprouted from exposure to heat and moisture, says DeFazio. This process increases the grains’ antioxidants. Malkani adds that the sprouted grains in sprouted grain bread have a higher enzyme content, too.
According to Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, these grains contain more protein and more bioavailable, high-quality nutrients than other grains, and may be easier to digest. Most sprouted bread are high in fiber and protein, per research in the journal Nutrients.
Whole wheat sourdough
This bread is easier to digest than others, thanks to the prebiotics and probiotics created during the fermentation process, according to DeFazio. The fermentation process that’s used to make whole wheat sourdough bread helps reduce the number of phytates that bind to certain minerals and impair their absorption in the body, according to a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Flax bread uses whole grain flours and flaxseeds, according to DeFazio. “Flax bread contains omega-3 fatty acids that are good for heart health,” she says. Bread made with flaxseeds is an especially great bread option for vegans who need more healthy fatty acids in their diet.
These super seeds are also a good source of fiber, protein, and antioxidants. One study in the Journal of Food Science and Technology found that eating flaxseed bread and other flax foods may benefit digestion-related health issues.
Sprouted rye bread
Rye looks like wheat bread but is darker and denser. Research in Nutrition Journal found that rye may be healthier in terms of making you feel fuller while not affecting blood sugar. Much like sprouted whole grain bread, sprouted rye is a good source of fiber, especially in comparison to regular rye bread. “Sprouted rye bread is high in soluble fiber, which slows your digestion of carbs and decreases the insulin response,” DeFazio says.
One of the newest types of healthy bread on the grocery store scne is oat bread, which includes both oats and whole wheat flour as the primary ingredients. If cauliflower can turn into a pizza, then your favorite breakfast food can absolutely turn into bread.
The best part is that there are already plenty of benefits of eating oatmeal. Oats are high in nutrients like magnesium, zinc, and iron. Plus, the high fiber content may help lower cholesterol levels and decrease high blood pressure, according to research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Vascular Health and Risk Management.
Gluten-free bread doesn’t have grains like wheat, rye, or barley, according to DeFazio. Instead, gluten-free bread is a mix of gluten-free flour such as brown rice, almond, coconut, tapioca, potato, or corn flour. Gluten-free bread is good for people who need to avoid gluten, like those with signs of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
When manufacturers remove gluten, they add other ingredients to compensate because they need the bread to be chewy and have texture, DeFazio explains. So gluten-free bread often has refined flour, added sugars, gums, and tapioca starch that can cause gas, bloating, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal issues.
Bottom line: What’s the healthiest type of bread?
Bread is not the enemy. “Find a bread you enjoy that is also healthy,” suggests DeFazio. If you hate the taste and texture of one type of bread, move on and find another.
The healthiest bread option for you really depends on a few factors. Bread made with 100 percent whole grains is less processed and offers more health-promoting nutrients per calorie than bread made with refined flour. That alone makes it the best healthy bread option for most people, according to Malkani. Sprouted grain bread and whole grain sourdough are good choices for those with digestive concerns, she adds.
Look for bread that features whole grains and is high in fiber, but low in sugar. If you use the tips from Malkani and Defazio and choose a loaf from one of the healthiest bread brands, you’ll make a foolproof, tasty choice every time.
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