Best Bread for Better Health and Aging

Bread is often treated as the enemy of a healthy diet, but high-quality bread is an essential part of optimal nutrition.
Many mixed breads and rolls shot from above.

Some people think the best bread for better health and aging is no bread at all. However, according to the USDA’s 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, grains are a nutritious component of an adult’s daily diet. While the number of grains you need to eat depends on your age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level, the general recommendation for women aged 31 to 60+ is 5 to 7 ounce-equivalents of grains per day, with at least half of that intake being in the form of whole grains. Examples of an ounce equivalent are ½ cup of cooked rice, pasta, or cereal or 1 medium slice of bread, tortilla, or flatbread.

How to Choose a Healthy Bread

There are a few key factors to consider when choosing healthy bread:

Choose bread made with whole grains

Grains are classified as either whole or refined. A whole grain consists of three main parts:

  1. Bran, the hard outer layer of the grain, contains fiber, minerals, and antioxidants.
  2. Germ, the embryo of the plant, contains carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.
  3. Endosperm, the biggest part of the grain, contains primarily starchy carbs and protein.

Whole grains are a good source of fiber, which can help to regulate digestion and lower cholesterol levels. They also contain nutrients such as vitamins B6, magnesium, and iron.

In contrast, a refined grain only contains endosperm since the bran and germ are removed. This results in a grain with less fiber and fewer nutrients than whole grains.

Avoid bread that’s high in added sugar

Breads that are high in added sugar often contain refined flour. The additional sugar can also lead to weight gain and other health problems such as diabetes. Some bread may contain honey or molasses for improved taste, but it’s best to find bread with no more than 3 grams of sugar per serving.

Choose breads that are low in sodium

High sodium intake contributes to high blood pressure, increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Choose a bread that is free of artificial sweeteners and preservatives

Avoid breads that contain processed ingredients such as hydrogenated oils and high-fructose corn syrup. Consumption of hydrogenated oils can raise your bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and lower your good cholesterol (HDL) levels. At the same time, high fructose corn syrup can increase your appetite and encourage sugar cravings.  

Types of Whole Grain Breads

Some great options for whole-grain breads that are low in sugar and sodium include:

Whole Wheat Bread

Whole wheat bread should be made only with whole wheat flour, which is an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Ensure the nutritional label lists “whole wheat flour” instead of “wheat flour” and that it appears at the top of the ingredient list.

Oat Bread

Oat bread is made with oats, a good fiber source, and beta-glucan. Beta-glucan is a type of soluble fiber that has been shown to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Sourdough Bread

Sourdough bread is made using sourdough starter, a leavening agent that uses naturally occurring yeasts and bacteria that allow baked goods to rise. Because the fermentation process produces lactic acid, sourdough bread has a distinctive tangy flavor. The longer fermentation process also decreases the amount of gluten, so people with gluten intolerance may find it easier to digest. Sourdough bread is an excellent source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, folate, and niacin and may improve gut health since it acts as a prebiotic, feeding the healthy bacteria in your intestines.

Rye Bread

Rye bread is made with rye flour, another good source of fiber, protein, and iron. Its high fiber content will make you feel fuller for longer and can help lower cholesterol and improve blood pressure.

Flax Bread

Flax bread is made with flax seeds, which are a good source of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and lignans. Lignans are plant compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Flax seed is high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, essential components of cell membranes and can help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. Typically, fish oil is a source of omega-3, so for vegans who cannot eat fish and non-vegans who dislike fish, flax seed bread is a great alternative.

Sprouted Grain Bread

Sprouted grains are whole grains soaked until they germinate. During sprouting, an enzyme process begins breaking down the grain which makes it easier to digest. Like all whole grains, sprouted grains have fiber, but they also have higher concentrations of nutrients such as folate, vitamin C, magnesium, and B vitamins than whole grains.

Ezekiel Bread

Ezekiel bread is a type of sprouted grain bread made with several types of grains and legumes. Since there are no preservatives in the bread, most grocery stores keep it in their freezer section. If you enjoy baking, try out this recipe for Ezekiel bread.

When choosing the best bread for better health and aging, it is important to read the nutritional label carefully. Look for all-natural bread that’s made with whole grains and low in added sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats. Experiment with different types to find the ones that you enjoy most. Bread can and should be a part of a healthy diet!

Read More:

The 50 Ways to Leave Your 40s: #16 Homemade Bread

Cloud Bread: The NEW Gluten-Free Bread Recipe

How to Make Ezekiel Bread


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