When speaking of health and diets, bread often is singled out as an unhealthy option to be rid of. Yet, not all bread is bad. In fact, some bread can even be an essential part of a well-rounded diet. Due to its unique baking process, making sourdough bread is an especially smart and healthy option to add to your daily diet. When eaten in moderation, sourdough bread benefits range from increases gut health to boosting the immune system. Additionally, sourdough recipes can be easily tweaked to make whole wheat sourdough bread for those looking for additional health benefits or even gluten-free sourdough bread for those with gluten sensitivities. Without further ado, discover the top 6 sourdough bread benefits below.
Health Benefit 1: Maintains muscle mass
Despite the common misconception, meat is not the only source of protein. One of the sneakiest sourdough bread benefits is its high level of protein! One slice of sourdough bread can contain up to 7 grams of protein. That is much higher than a standard loaf of sliced bread found at the grocery store. The high protein content of sourdough not only helps keep you feeling full for a longer period of time, eating plenty of protein is also key to building and maintaining muscle mass. For an even greater protein bump, try making whole wheat sourdough bread.
Health Benefit 2: Regulates metabolisms
Though many do not realize it, both standard sourdough and gluten-free sourdough bread offer a variety of B vitamins. An average piece of sourdough bread contains moderate amounts of calcium, folate, zinc, magnesium, and other beneficial nutrients. These naturally occurring vitamins combine to regulate our metabolism and help food nutrients be processed more smoothly. This in turn will also ensure the body feels energized throughout the day.
Health benefit 3: Fortifies the immune system
Sourdough is unique from other types of bread in that it requires special bread starters. A sourdough bread starter creates a living culture that ferments over time. It is during this fermentation process that lactic acid bacteria are made and remain even after the dough has been baked. Lactic acid bacteria contain the same benefits as antioxidants, namely, improved digestion, prevention of intestinal infections, and an overall boost to the body’s immune system. Even gluten-free sourdough bread starters have been found to produce these helpful lactic acid bacteria.
Health benefit 4: Increases mineral absorption
Although standard bread contains many vitamins and minerals, it also has a high amount of phytates. Phytates essentially act as antinutrients, making it impossible for the body to absorb some of the healthy minerals you are eating. Yet, homemade sourdough bread has been found to contain fewer of these harmful phytates due to the fermentation process. This means those that eat sourdough are able to absorb more key nutrients like vitamin E and fiber than those eating other breads.
Health benefit 5: Fights bloating
When it comes to bloating, bread is public enemy number one. Bread earned this reputation because its simple baking process creates carbs that are often hard for the body to break down, leading to irritation in the intestines that causes bloating and gas. However, making sourdough bread is a much lengthier and more complex method compared to sliced store bread. Though the longer process may be daunting to some bakers, it actually becomes one of the best sourdough bread benefits. This lengthy bake creates more complex carb molecules that allow our digestive tracts to work more effectively, reducing the unpleasant side effects such as bloating and gas that regular bread may give.
Health benefit 6: Manages blood sugar
Standard grocery store bread usually has a high glycemic index (GI), which is the speed at which sugar enters the body’s bloodstream. Food with a high GI can cause spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels, as well as lead to an energy crash. This is not the case for sourdough, though! Due to the fermentation of the bread starters, sourdough has a modified carb structure. This results in a much lower GI per slice, giving sourdough eaters more stable blood sugar levels and lower insulin levels. The same positive effects have been found for those eating gluten-free sourdough bread.