While some breads are healthier than others, many breads fill shelves at the supermarket and in books; some varieties have high levels of vitamins, fiber, and minerals, while others are made of refined grains that offer no nutritional value. Naturally, you’ll wonder which kind of bread is the most nutritious.
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Let’s start exploring the best breads for your gut health. Following are the 7 best bread for gut health based on our research.
#1. Sprouted Whole Grain
The bread that is sprouted comes from whole grains that started sprouting due to heat or exposure to moisture. The sprouting process has increased the quantity and accessibility of specific nutrients. A study revealed pita bread made from 50% wheat flour that had been sprouted was three times more folate, an essential vitamin for converting food into energy. This was in contrast to pita made with no sprouted wheat flour.
Research has shown that sprouting enhances antioxidants in grains and reduces anti-nutrients, substances that bind to iron-containing minerals and prevent iron absorption. Additionally, the process reduces certain starches contained in grains and reduces the amount of carbs. Thus, the sprouted grains do not affect blood sugar significantly as other grains. This makes them an excellent option for those suffering from impaired blood sugar or diabetes control.
Additionally, the majority of sprouted breads are high in protein and fiber. Therefore, they’re much more nutritious than refined breads.
A Slice (34 grams) of Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole-Grain Bread provides:
- Calories: 80
- Protein: 4 grams
- Amount of Fat 0.5 grams
- Carbs 15 grams
- Fiber 3 grams of fiber
Summary: Sprouting can increase the quantity and accessibility of specific nutrients. Bread made of whole grains is rich in vitamins, fiber, and minerals and could affect blood sugar levels more than other breeds.
Sourdough is created by process of fermentation that depends on yeast naturally found in the environment and bacteria to help this bread grow. Fermentation can reduce the quantity of phytates. They are also known as phytic acids. It bonds to specific minerals and hinders their absorption.
A study showed that sourdough fermentation reduced the amount of phytate by more than 50% compared to traditional yeast. Sourdough could also be more digestible than other breads, perhaps because of its prebiotics and the probiotics created in fermentation.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria found within your body and in certain foods, while prebiotics is fibers that are not digestible and nourish these bacteria. Intake of enough of both promotes healthy digestion and gut health.
Additionally, sourdough bread is believed to have a lower glycemic index (GI), an indicator of the effect of food affecting blood sugar. This is the bacterial present in sourdough that could help lower the speed of digestion of starch, and this makes the bread more likely not to trigger an enormous increase in blood sugar.
The sourdough dough can be created using white and whole wheat flour. Although both provide the benefits of fermentation, whole-wheat sourdough contains higher levels of iron, fiber, and other minerals.
One piece (47 grams) of whole wheat sourdough offers:
- Calories: 120
- Protein: 4 grams
- Fat 0.01 grams
- Carbs 20 grams
- Fiber 3 grams
Summary: Sourdough bread is created by fermentation, increasing the digestibility, improving the absorption of specific nutrients, and decreasing blood sugar levels.
#3. Whole Wheat 100%
Whole grains help keep the entire grain in good condition, including germ, endosperm, and bran. The bran, the tough exterior layer, is rich in fiber. The germ and the bran are rich in proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial plant compounds. The endosperm consists primarily of starch.
This is why whole grains, including whole wheat, are richer in fiber and are considered healthier than refined grains that are processed to eliminate all bran and germ. Whole grains have been associated with numerous health benefits, including a lower risk of developing type 2 heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
But, it’s crucial to be aware that many companies declare the bread “whole wheat” to appear healthier, even though they are primarily made from refined flour. Choose bread with 100% whole-wheat or whole grain flour as the primary ingredient. Also, don’t include unnecessary ingredients, for example, added sugars and vegetable oil.
1 Slice (46 grams) of whole wheat bread has:
- Calories: 110
- Protein: 4 grams
- The fat: 0.5 grams
- Carbs 23 grams
- Fiber 4 grams
Summary: Whole wheat bread is made with whole wheat flour 100% richer in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and vitamins than bread made of refined wheat.
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#4. Oat Bread
Oat bread is made from whole wheat flour, oats, yeast, salt, water, and. Oats are extremely nutritious and linked to various health benefits; eating oats is an excellent choice for a healthy diet.
Oats, in particular, contain a high amount of fiber and beneficial nutrients, such as magnesium and Vitamin B1 (thiamine), as well as iron and zinc. Oats’ fiber is known as beta-glucan. It could aid in lowering cholesterol levels, managing blood sugar levels, and reducing blood pressure.
A study of 28 revealed that eating at least 3 grams of beta-glucan from oats daily significantly reduced the LDL (bad) and total cholesterol compared to consuming no oatmeal. The study also revealed that the effects of cholesterol-lowering beta-glucan found in oats were more effective in those with higher cholesterol levels at baseline.
But the fact that bread contains “oats” or “oatmeal” on the label doesn’t guarantee that it’s healthy. Certain oat bread has very little oatmeal and is composed chiefly of refined flours, added sugars, and oils. If you want a healthier Oat bread, search for one with oats and whole wheat flour as the primary two ingredients.
One slice (48 grams) of whole-grain oat bread has:
- Calories: 130
- Protein: 6 grams
- The Fat Content: 1.5 grams
- Carbs 23 grams
- Fiber 4 grams
Summary: Oat bread made of whole-grain and oats boasts beta-glucan fiber, which could lower cholesterol levels and is associated with many health benefits.
#5. Flax Bread
Flax bread, made of whole-grain flour and flax seeds, is among the healthiest breads you could consume. It is because flax seeds are very nutritious and provide a variety of health advantages. They are also top-quality sources of alpha-linolenic acids (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid found in plant foods.
A comprehensive study of 27 studies revealed that eating a lot of food-based ALA was linked to less risk of developing heart disease. Additionally, flax seeds contain substances known as lignans which can be antioxidants within your body and could help prevent certain types of cancer.
A study that included 606 postmenopausal women showed that those who regularly ate flax seeds had a lower likelihood of developing breast cancer when compared to women who did not consume the seeds. It was interesting to note that those who consumed flax bread were found to be 23 percent less likely to contract breast cancer than women who did not consume it.
However, it’s essential to be aware that this study was observational. Further research is required to understand the link between flax seed and cancer risk. But eating flax bread and other food containing flax seeds could provide additional benefits, including better digestion.
Look for flax breads with a minimum of ingredients, like whole-wheat flours and sprouted whole grain flours, as well as salt, water, yeast, and flax seed.
1 Slice (34 grams) of Ezekiel Sprouted Whole-Grain Flax Bread is made up of:
- Calories: 80
- Protein: 5 grams
- Fat 1 Gram
- Carbs 14 grams
- Fiber 4 grams of fiber
Summary: Flax bread contains omega-3 fatty acids from plants that help improve heart health. Additionally, it contains compounds known as lignans, which can help to fight certain types of cancer.
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#6. 100% Sprouted Rye Bread
Rye is very similar to wheat but generally is darker and denser. Traditional rye bread is made from rye flour and doesn’t contain wheat flour. However, most modern rye breads are composed of a mixture of both. Rye breads also usually have caraway seeds baked in them.
If compared with wheat, rye bread is typically thought to be healthier. Research has shown that rye bread can result in more excellent filling and has less effect on blood sugar levels than wheat bread.
A study of 12 healthy adults showed that people who consumed whole-grain Rye bread produced significantly less insulin. This hormone regulates blood sugar levels in comparison to white-wheat bread.
A high concentration of the amount of insulin you have in your blood can be associated with obesity and could increase the risk of having Type 2 Diabetes. Rye’s ability to reduce the body’s insulin response is probably due to its high soluble fiber content.
Soluble fiber can be described as a carbohydrate that is not digestible and dissolves into water, then turns into the consistency of a gel inside your digestive tract. Consuming foods containing insoluble fiber can slow down carbs’ digestion, reducing insulin release and decreasing insulin levels and blood sugar surges.
The most nutritious rye bread comprises 100% whole-grain sprouted rye and other sprouted flours. Because growing increases the grains’ fiber content, rye that is sprouted is rich in fiber and more nutritious than rye that is not sprouted.
One piece (28 grams) of sprouted rye bread will provide:
- Calories: 60
- Protein: 4 grams
- Fat 1 Gram
- Carbs 12 grams
- Fiber 3 grams of fiber
Summary: Sprouted Rye Bread is rich in soluble fiber. It assists in slowing the digestion of carbohydrates and reduces the body’s insulin reaction.
#7. Gluten-free Bread with Gluten-free Flavor
Gluten-free bread is produced without gluten-containing grains such as wheat, barley, rye, or rye. They are safe choices for those who have to avoid gluten, like celiac disease or gluten sensitivities. Although the specific ingredients used in gluten-free breads vary based on the kind, they are composed of gluten-free flours, including brown rice or coconut, almond, and tapioca. Potato or corn flours.
Many people mistakenly believe Gluten-free products are healthier than ones that contain gluten. However, many gluten-free versions are made with refined flours and high in sugars added to them and other unneeded additives.
However, loaves made of coconut or almond flours like Barely Bread are likely lower in calories and carbs but more in protein and fiber than loaves made of other grains like wheat. The higher protein and fiber content of these products could aid in filling you up more than other breads while also providing fewer calories and less starch.
A piece (36 grams) of Barely Bread 100% grain-free bread will provide:
- Calories: 90
- Protein: 3 grams
- 5 grams of fat
- Carbs 6 grams
- Fiber 5 grams
Summary: Some gluten-free breads contain refined flours high in sugars and starches. They also contain harmful sweeteners, so select ones with healthier ingredients, fewer carbs, and more fiber.
How to Select the Best Bread for Gut Health?
For a healthier bread, Look for bread that contains:
Whole-grain and sprouted grains are the primary ingredients, along with a few other ingredients of 3-5 grams of fiber as well as 3 to 6 grams of protein in each slice. There are no sweeteners added.
One way to ensure you choose nutritious bread is to bake it at home. That way, you can determine the ingredients. Many recipes for bread made from scratch are available online to satisfy most dietary requirements.
Remember that even though the bread featured on this list is more nutritious than other breads, it is not as nutritious as other whole food items. The fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds, in addition to whole grains that haven’t been processed into flour, contain more fiber and nutrients than bread.
Additionally, many breads are made using added sugars and vegetable oils rich in omega-6 fats like soybean oil. The excessive consumption of these components has been linked to chronic inflammation, leading to various illnesses such as heart disease.
Furthermore, some individuals might need to cut down on their intake of carbs and reduce their bread consumption, for example, people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes or those following a low-carb diet. But, bread is a food that can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet that includes a range of healthy food items.
Summary: When selecting healthy bread, make sure you choose breads that contain 100% whole-grain or sprouted flour. They should also be free of sugars or vegetable oils.
Summarining the Best Bread for Gut Health
Certain breads are healthier than other types of bread. For the best bread, choose ones comprised of whole-grain and sprouted grain flours. Ensure that the bread you choose has no added sweeteners and vegetable oils.
There are several options, including flax, sourdough, and oat bread. Be sure to consume bread in moderation as a part of a balanced and balanced diet in conjunction with a range of healthy whole food items.
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Scientific Studies and References
Hefni M, Witthöft CM. Enhancement of the folate content in Egyptian pita bread. Food Nutr Res. 2012;56. doi: 10.3402/fnr.v56i0.5566. Epub 2012 Apr 2. PMID: 22489220; PMCID: PMC3321255.
- FoodData Central
- Oregon State University
- Mayo Clinic