I’m sure we all remember the low-carb craze that swept the nation a few years ago. Since then, bread and bread products have been seen in a bit of a bad light. But not all carbs are created equal! There are many reasons why you should include fresh, locally made, non-GMO breads and other whole grains into your diet. Besides being nutrient-dense and filling, they’re delicious!
What is it exactly?
Sourdough bread is made through the process of fermenting dough. As many of us know by now, fermented foods make an amazing contribution to our gut health, and as such, an amazing contribution to our overall health! Since sourdough is a fermented product, it contains lower gluten and antinutrient contents and has a lower pH than regular bread, which actually helps with digestion. Leaving flour and water out to ferment causes a naturally occurring bacteria known as lactobacilli to produce lactic acid, which is responsible for the slightly sour flavor of sourdough.
Why is it good for you?
- Easier to digest – The presence of bacteria and yeast and the process of fermentation in sourdough helps break down the complex starches and higher levels of gluten that some people may find difficult to digest. Additionally, the fermentation process essentially unlocks B vitamins within the bread and makes them and other nutrients more bioavailable (nutrients become more easily absorbable, which is important for supporting functions such as red blood cell production, energy metabolism, and immune system activation).
- Lower glycemic index – Sourdough is fermented in a way that depletes the bad starches within it, which means that it won’t cause your blood sugar to rise as drastically as many other types of bread, especially highly processed breads made from white flour. Additionally, sourdoughs made with whole grains are recommended for those following the Mediterranean diet due to their dietary fiber content!
- Fuels all the good gut bugs within your body – Sourdough is actually a good source of prebiotics, which help feed your beneficial gut microbiota. Sourdough has also been found to increase levels of satiety. Most likely due to its higher levels of protein and carbohydrate digestibility.
- Promotes healthy aging – According to a study in Aging Clinical and Experimental Research found that habitual consumption of whole-wheat sourdough bread contributed to a lower risk of heart diseases, diabetes, and cancer for older adults when eaten as part of a Mediterranean Diet. Learn more on the Mediterranean Diet in this blog post!
- Jam-packed with nutrients! – Sourdough bread contains iron, calcium, zinc, potassium, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin E. Compared to other breads, sourdough maintains many of its nutrients that tend to be processed out of other kinds of bread.
What can you do with sourdough?
- French toast
- Sweet sourdough recipes like cinnamon raisin
- Savory sourdough recipes like garlic and rosemary
The options are endless (maybe not endless-endless but there are definitely a lot of options to keep you busy!)
For information on how to start your own sourdough journey check out this website and remember to be cautious around grocery store sourdoughs. They may be advertised as sourdough but in reality, be a regularly processed form of bread with just enough powdered sourdough starter to give it a tang. Your best option is to go to a smaller artisanal bakery or better yet, make it yourself!