Health benefits of sourdough bread:
Sourdough bread is the oldest type of leavened bread on record. Unlike conventional bread that uses baker’s yeast to rise, sourdough is made with a sourdough starter. This article takes you through the various health benefits of sourdough bread.
A sourdough starter is a culture of wild beneficial bacteria and yeast left to ferment. During fermentation, the flour releases lactic acid and other gases that cause your sourdough to rise.
When ready, a portion of the starter (levain) is mixed with flour to make sourdough.
Sourdough bread tastes pretty good, but more than that, it’s more nutritious and gentle on your stomach.
Keep in mind that most store-bought sourdough breads do not follow traditional preparation, which may interfere with their benefits. So it’s always good to make your sourdough bread whenever you can.
1. It’s highly nutritious and tasty
Plant foods, especially grains, are naturally high in anti-nutrients like phytic acid or phytates. These may make it difficult for the body to absorb the nutrients in that particular food.
Whole grain bread, for instance, is full of minerals including magnesium, potassium, zinc, and phosphate, but their absorption may be difficult. Sourdough bread contains lactic acid, which neutralizes these compounds by lowering the bread’s PH, making the nutrients more available for absorption, especially if whole-grain flour was used.
According to research, sourdough fermentation may lower the phytate content in bread by more than 70 percent. The fermentation and lower PH in sourdough also increase antioxidant content and other nutrients.
Also, the longer the fermentation, the better the aroma, taste, and health benefits.
2. Promotes proper digestion
The natural fermentation involved in sourdough makes it easier for your stomach to digest compared to commercial bread made with baker’s yeast. Furthermore, people consuming sourdough bread are unlikely to report bloating issues, digestion problems, or intolerances.
Fermentation may also break down gluten, the main protein in wheat that is known to cause sensitivity and digestive issues in some individuals.
The process of fermenting splits up any traces of gluten, making sourdough bread more digestible, particularly for individuals who have a hard time digesting gluten.
Nevertheless, individuals with celiac disease must be careful, as sourdough still contains some amount of gluten. Instead, they should consume gluten-free sourdough bread such as from sorghum, brown rice flour, oats, or quinoa.
Moreover, the process of fermenting sourdough causes gluten-free bread to become spongier and also similar to common bread in terms of taste and volume.
Additionally, sourdough bread is full of prebiotics, an indigestible fiber that helps feed your good gut bacteria, thus increasing their population, diversity, and function, ultimately promoting a healthy digestive system.
3. It may promote weight loss
The high prebiotic profile in sourdough improves digestion and absorption of nutrients, which promotes glucose regulation and metabolism, causing one to burn fat and lose weight.
Sourdough bread made with whole grain is rich in fiber and low in the Glycemic index and Glycemic load, making it suitable for anyone looking to lose weight.
Glycemic index or GI is used to measure the rate at which certain foods raise blood sugar levels on a scale of 0 up to 100. Pure glucose or sugar is at 100. GI is quite high in processed foods compared to food high in fiber.
Glycemic load or GL is used to measure carbohydrates in food and how quickly they can raise blood glucose.
Sourdough bread contains a GL measurement of 8 and GI measurement of 54, while normal bread contains a GL of 9 and a GI measurement of 71.
4. Increases phytochemicals
The fermentation in sourdough bread decreases anti-nutrients while increasing valuable phytochemicals.
Research indicates that sourdough bread contains more carotenoids, phenols, and other valuable compounds compared to unfermented bread. Besides, these compounds offer anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, promoting good health.
5. It’s rich in protein
Protein is an essential nutrient that gives structure and support to your cells and supports different immune functions. With a medium slice of sourdough bread containing 8 grams of protein, regular consumption may be a great way to boost your daily protein intake. Keep in mind that this value is for white bread, meaning whole-grain bread may contain even more protein.
6. It minimizes your consumption of yeast
The healthy bacteria that form in sourdough during fermentation help produce the gases that facilitate rising without yeast. This ultimately reduces the risk of overgrowth or infection caused by yeast.
How to make sourdough bread?
Here is a quick guide to help you make your sourdough bread at home
- Prepare your starter a few days beforehand. This involves mixing flour and water and letting it ferment in a closed container. The fermentation process will result in a colony of microorganisms, including yeast and lactobacilli.
The process will take between 5-10 days, depending on the temperature and how sour you like your bread. Also, remember to keep feeding your starter daily by adding a small amount of flour and water throughout the process.
- Once the starter is ready, you can keep it in the refrigerator and feed it regularly (once to two times a week)
- When ready to make the bread, combine your ingredients, including some starter, flour, salt, and water, then let it sit for a few hours.
- You may need to knead the dough a few more times while letting it sit for 15-30 minutes after every knead until it’s smooth and stretchy.
- Let it rest for the last time until it grows to about 1.5 times the initial size.
- Shape and bake in a dutch oven with a lead on to steam the bread, then off to allow it to be crisp.
- Allow the bread to cool for an hour or so before slicing.
Final thoughts on the health benefits of sourdough bread:
Sourdough bread is bread made with a fermented sourdough starter instead of the baker’s yeast used in commercial bread.
The fermentation process in sourdough offers various health benefits, including proper digestion, weight loss, and increased intake of multiple nutrients.
Besides, making sourdough bread is easy, fun, and probably the best since not all store-bought sourdough bread is genuinely prepared with the traditional natural method.
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- 10 Foods That Boost The Immune System
- Vitamins and Minerals to Boost Metabolism
- How To Stay Healthy When Traveling
- Eating Healthy Food On A Budget
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