Sourdough bread is a healthy option of bread brimming with nutrients. The bacteria present in the making of sourdough bread is what makes it so good for you. It’s also easier on your digestive system, which means less bloating and gas. Just grab that slice of sourdough bread and enjoy its delicious taste while getting all the healthful benefits simultaneously. Moreover, if you’re wondering whether you’re making a healthier decision in choosing sourdough bread, then here are some reasons why it is a healthy option!
What is Sourdough Bread?
Sourdough bread is a type of leavened bread created from a starter made from wild yeast, rather than commercial yeast. The sourdough starter allows the loaf to rise and produce a sour, tangy flavor followed by a slightly chewy texture.
Wild yeast contains more flavor as opposed to commercial yeast, as well as the fact that it is completely natural, meaning that it doesn’t contain any additives such as sulfites which can be found in commercial dough conditioners.
How is Sourdough Bread Made?
Sourdough bread is made with a live culture or starter, which is crawling with several strains of favorable bacteria or probiotics followed by wild yeast. Once the active sourdough starter is mixed with flour and water to create the dough, these microorganisms feed on the flour converting it to lactic acid bacteria and carbon dioxide (the same stuff that makes your stomach feel bubbly when you eat homemade bread).
Lacto-fermentation is what provides the sourdough bread with air pockets, a fluffy texture, and slightly tangy flavor – not only because of the presence of acid in the dough.
However, most homemade sourdough bread isn’t entirely tangy at all. Many people assume that the sourness relates only to the taste. But it technically refers specifically to an increase in pH level (around 3).
Why is it Called Sourdough Bread?
It’s simply called sourdough, because it is fermented.
Sourdough fermentation process causes numerous beneficial changes to nutrients found in foods like dairy products. Wheat flour that is commonly used for making bread, contains proteins called glutenin. These are responsible for creating lactic acid bacteria during fermentation, as well as creating gasses inside when heated in future, during the process of cooking anything made out of wheat flour (such as pasta).
This is what makes eating sourdough bread very beneficial for those who are observing a weight loss journey, especially if you opt for healthier ingredients within your sourdough starter such as whole wheat or whole grain flour.
Benefits of Sourdough Bread
Now we’ve got the basics of sourdough, lets go on to its benefits.
Sourdough bread is naturally fermented, which means it contains live cultures such as lactobacillus and yeast. These probiotics are beneficial to your body’s digestive system, immune system, and overall health – especially if you have a sensitive stomach.
- Easier to Digest
- Chemical Free
- Helps Break Down Gluten
Easier to Digest
Sourdough bread takes advantage of the wild bacteria and yeasts naturally formed in the flour, as well as its surrounding environment to ferment the dough.
Unfortunately, we don’t get to keep these beneficial bacteria as they disappear during the baking process. But they do offer their magical attributes during the fermentation stage by pre-digesting the flour, making it easier for us to digest and access all of those healthy nutrients!
Many people who eat sourdough bread find that it is much easier on their digestive system than other breads. This can be especially beneficial if you have a particularly sensitive stomach.
One of the things that can make sourdough bread so appealing is that it’s chemical-free. As long as you are eating real sourdough bread, there are only three simple ingredients: flour, water and salt.
With the absence of chemicals and preservatives, it’s considered healthier than commercial yeasted bread. In comparison, commercial yeasted breads contain many additives which help the dough rise faster and give it a more attractive look. These additives are in no way good for your body, and may leave you feeling a little bloated.
Helps Break Down Gluten
The fermentation process of sourdough helps break down gluten proteins in wheat. Doing this, also makes the protein easier to digest.
Gluten is a difficult protein to break down, so the long fermentation process of sourdough uniquely helps break gluten strands into peptides and amino acids – which are much easier for your body to digest.
This is why sourdough bread is ideal for those who suffer from gluten sensitivity and other digestive issues.
Is Sourdough Bread Good For Diabetics?
For diabetics, the glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how much a type of food will raise blood sugar. Foods with a high glycemic index are those that raise blood sugar quickly, while foods with low glycemic index tend to increase it at a much slower pace.
This is important for diabetics because they maintain a regulated sugar level, so that they can avoid experiencing dangerous side effects.
If you’re concerned about keeping your sugar levels steady, sourdough may be an excellent alternative to conventional breads. With an average slice of whole grain sourdough containing a GI below 48 – a score comparable to that of whole wheat sourdough. In fact, this low score means that a hearty serving of sourdough will keep you fuller for longer than other types of breads – and help maintain steady blood sugar levels too!
Is Sourdough Bread Good For Weight Loss?
Most people try to cut down on bread when they start to look after their health or when attempting to lose weight. White bread is probably the worst type of bread to eat as it’s very processed and has no nutritional value. Whereas sourdough is made in an artisan way that doesn’t involve any chemicals or additives.
Sourdough is around 90 calories per slice with three grams of fiber. This makes it a great option if you’re trying to cut down on the calories but still want something tasty! In comparison, other popular types of bread like brown or whole meal contain a much higher calorie content as opposed to sourdoughs 90 per slice, with up to 130 calories in some cases. Here are some healthier breads to opt for:
- Whole Grain Bread
- Sprouted Grain
- Low Carb Bread
- White Wheat Bread
- Gluten-Free Bread
Whole Grain Bread
Whole grain bread has been shown to have more nutrients than white bread. In fact, whole grains are rich in dietary fibre which helps prevent heart disease by reducing blood cholesterol levels as well as protecting against diabetes.
Whole grains also take longer for your body to digest than refined carbohydrates like white flour which helps you feel fuller longer leading you to eat less food overall throughout the day!
Additionally, they can help fight inflammation due to their high levels of antioxidants because of the vitamin E present within them.
Though sourdough bread is considered to be a healthier option for a variety of reasons, sprouted grains are another healthy alternative that has become increasingly popular in recent years.
This type of bread is often touted as being more digestible than traditional sourdough loaves. This is due to the fact that it only contains sprouted grain products (as opposed to refined flours).
Sprouting breaks down some starch and increases nutrient density. This creates a lower glycemic product as opposed to other conventional grain products.
If you are concerned about your blood sugars, there are many foods that may be causing spikes in them.
Bread is one of the most contentious foods to navigate when it comes to managing blood sugar. Many people with diabetes or other issues with their blood sugars have had bad experiences with bread when it comes to their deterioration in health.
White Wheat Bread
There is a lot of talk about the health benefits of sourdough bread and how it can help you lose weight. But not much attention is paid to white wheat bread.
That’s too bad because white wheat bread is actually a whole grain. It has been milled differently to produce a lighter, whiter final product.
If you love white bread, do not fret! You can still enjoy it in moderation (and even sometimes on purpose) if you’re aware of what’s going on inside this seemingly refined product.
If you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, it’s likely that you’re already aware of the benefits of eating gluten-free. For many people who are allergic to wheat, consuming anything containing even trace amounts of the protein can cause uncomfortable symptoms.
Gluten is more than just an ingredient in bread – it’s also what gives baked goods their structure and texture. Replacing it can make foods like bagels and pizza crusts seem less fluffy and doughy, making them harder to eat (and sometimes even chew).
But sourdough bread is different. Because it contains fermentation bacteria instead of yeast for rising, there’s no need for gluten in order for it to rise properly!
Does Sourdough Bread Have Probiotics?
The probiotics found in sourdough bread all originate from the starter. In fact, when you purchase a package of sourdough starter, it is likely that it has been manufactured with a specific bacterial strain to which that particular brand’s dough will be inoculated.
However, the baking process of your sourdough bread is what terminates some of these nutritional benefits. Though there are some healthy bacteria that help the sourdough bread rise, giving you the perfectly baked loaf.
Sourdough vs Whole Wheat – Which One is Healthier?
Taking a glance at sourdough bread from a nutritional perspective, we find that has a similar structure to other kinds of bread. But there is a fine uniqueness to your sourdough mixture.
Sourdough requires a prolonged fermentation process before it’s ready to use in making sourdough bread. This method reduces the amount of starch and sugar in the bread.
This is why sourdough bread has a lower glycemic load than other types of bread. You don’t get an immediate spike in blood sugar after eating it. The extended fermentation process also allows us to absorb nutrients better. The microorganisms break down complex carbohydrates into simple ones while they ferment your loaf.
When compared with whole wheat bread, both have similar indigestible fiber contents – around 10-11g per 100g serving size. However, wholemeal does contain significantly more fiber than regular wheaten varieties. It contains the whole grains component which is its primary source of fiber.
This is what could make whole wheat bead a healthier choice when compared to sourdough. Its potential health benefits are good for those who want to amplify the fiber in their diets.
You know that a loaf of bread is considered whole grain sourdough bread if the flour used to make it is 100 percent whole grain. The starter for a sourdough loaf can also be made with only whole grains, but this isn’t always the case. If you want to be sure about what type of flour was used in a particular loaf of sourdough, ask your baker. Or just look at the ingredients list on its packaging.
You may learn that your local bakery uses all-purpose flour when making their sourdough starter. Might be because they find it easier…or they don’t have access to good quality grains.
But others prefer to use one part white flour and one part rye, rye and wheat blend, or 100% rye flour as their sourdough starter. In which case their loaves are made entirely from whole grains!
Sourdough Bread Nutrition Facts
The nutrition facts of sourdough bread vary by brand. While manufacturers make sourdough with different types of flour and ingredients, the nutritional profile of the final product can be quite different.
On average a single slice of medium whole grain sourdough bread made with whole grains weighing 2 ounces contains:
- Calories: 88
- Carbs: 16 grams
- Fiber: 2.2 grams
- Protein: 2.9 grams
- Fat: 1.8 gram
So is Sourdough Bread Healthy?
Overall, sourdough bread is a great option for people looking to reduce their carb intake and/or eat healthier. It is made with whole grains and has many health benefits.
You can find it at most grocery stores or even make it yourself at home!
Sourdough bread contains higher levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants compared to other varieties of bread. It also contains lower levels of phytate, thereby allowing your body to suck in the nutrients more efficiently as opposed to regular bread.
According to some research, sourdough-leavened wholemeal bread can assist in weight loss. This is mainly due to the combined glycemic index, and glycemic load ratings.