Many people still love sourdough bread, and with good reason—the naturally leavened bread saw a boom in production during the pandemic lockdown period. Sourdough bread: is it healthy?
Many people hail sourdough as a superfood and a healthier alternative to regular bread. It’s a mainstay of the dinner that the family with the longest lifespan in the world consumes every day, and for some, it might be easier on the stomach.
Sourdough: Is it better for you than normal bread? Does it offer any advantages for health? To discover out, we talked to specialists.
Sourdough Bread: what is it?
According to Josephine Wee, Ph.D., an assistant professor of food science at Penn State University, commercial or baker’s yeast, a kind of fungus called Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is used to make regular bread and is what causes the bread to rise.
After activating, the yeast is combined with water, flour, salt, and additional ingredients to form a dough that is baked.
Wee says that instead of using baker’s yeast, sourdough bread is made with a “starter” culture, which is created from fresh flour and water and contains living bacteria and wild yeast.
The flour and water used to form the starting, the kitchen in which it was made, and the air all contribute to the population of wild yeasts and bacteria that naturally exist in a sourdough starter. Van Buiten, Charlene.
According to Wee, the lactic and acetic acid bacteria in the sourdough starter microbiome are what give the bread its distinctively sour and tangy flavor.
According to Van Buiten, the starter is allowed to ferment in the jar for a week or more. According to Van Buiten, the fermentation process produces carbon dioxide, which naturally leavens the bread.
Once the starter is prepared, it is combined with the dough and let to rise before baking. The experts point out that sourdough is frequently chewier and more complicated than normal bread.
Wee notes that each sourdough starter is unique since microbial habitats vary throughout individuals. This may have an impact on the bread’s flavor, texture, rise, and crust. Thus, consider each loaf to be distinct and noteworthy in its own right.
Nutrition of Sourdough Bread
The kind of flour used, any other additives, how it’s made, and the brand all affect how nutritious sourdough bread is.
As per the FoodDATA Central database maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, approximately 50 grams, or one medium slice, of a typical sourdough loaf of bread offers approximately:
- 130 calories
- 4 grams of protein
- 1 gram of fat
- 25 grams of carbohydrates
- 1 gram of fiber
- less 1 gram of sugar
- 200-300 milligrams of sodium
As noted by the experts, sourdough bread is an excellent source of antioxidants and prebiotics in addition to vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, and B.
Is Sourdough Bread Better for you than Normal Bread?
There are health advantages to sourdough bread that may not apply to conventional bread. Among them are:
- More Nutrients
- Gradually Increases Blood Sugar
- More Easily Absorbed
- Promotes Intestinal Health
The Health Advantages of Sourdough
The nutritional value of sourdough bread might vary depending on the type of flour used, such as rye, whole wheat, or all-purpose, according to Wee. However, in general, sourdough bread is a healthy choice that may be included on a regular basis in a well-rounded, nutrient-rich diet.
There are several advantages to making sourdough through fermentation, according to Van Buiten. First of all, compared to ordinary bread, sourdough bread inherently has more nutrients.
“Fermentation can improve mineral (and vitamin) bioavailability in sourdough bread compared to conventional bread,” Van Buiten claims. This happens as a result of the breakdown of phytic acid, a “anti-nutrient” that can hinder the absorption of vitamins, by the enzyme phytase, which is created by bacteria during fermentation.
Losing Weight and Managing it
The experts point out that sourdough also has higher concentrations of resistant carbohydrates. They are a particular kind of carbohydrate that “resist” digestion and require a longer time for the body to process, which can aid in managing weight and appetite.
Maintaining a Stable Blood Sugar Level
According to Van Buiten, sourdough has a lower glycemic index than ordinary bread. Low-glycemic foods raise blood sugar levels more gradually and steadily. Because of this, sourdough digests more slowly but more easily.
Enhancing Intestinal Health
According to Van Buiten, sourdough bread has more soluble fiber than ordinary bread, which implies it has prebiotic properties and may be beneficial for gut health.
The heat generated during baking will destroy the probiotics and living cultures in unbaked sourdough, according to registered dietitian nutritionist Frances Largeman-Roth. Still, the prebiotics that make it through will nourish probiotics and aid in the development of beneficial bacteria in the stomach.
An additional advantage of fermenting sourdough? The American Society of Microbiology states that the bread’s pH is lowered by the acids that bacteria make, inhibiting the formation of food-borne diseases. According to Van Buiten, sourdough bread may be more mold-resistant and have a longer shelf life.
Reducing Gluten Could Facilitate Digestion
According to Van Buiten, sourdough bread naturally has less gluten than other forms of bread because gluten, a protein present in wheat, barley, and rye naturally, is broken down during the fermentation process.
According to Wee, this makes sourdough bread potentially simpler to digest, particularly for those who are sensitive to or intolerant to gluten. If you also have other digestive problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome, it can be easier to tolerate than normal bread.
Sourdough bread (and other gluten-containing items) should be avoided by those who have celiac disease or a gluten allergy, as it is not gluten-free. Consult a physician if you have any questions.
How to Pick Bread Made with Sourdough
According to Largeman-Roth, there are some health benefits associated with sourdough varieties; nonetheless, whole wheat or whole grain bread is the healthiest option.
The whole wheat kernel is present in the flour used to make whole-grain bread.Because whole-grain sourdoughs include higher levels of protein, fiber, and minerals, they are more satisfying and generally healthier.
Choose sourdough loaves that contain rye, spelt, or whole wheat, says Rizzo. Some research indicates that a particular variety of “ancient grain,” Einkhorn wheat, might have more nutritional advantages.