Is Sourdough Bread Good for Your Health?

Is sourdough bread good for your health? Yes. Actually, it is healthier than many kinds of bread. Learn the major benefits and the steps to make it.

Fermentation is used to create sourdough bread. The levain is started with flour and water; this is colonized by healthy yeast and bacteria. The microorganisms then break the flour down by feeding on it. The result is carbon dioxide from the yeast and bacteria, which causes it to rise. It is an old-time favorite that has come back into popularity. There are many who consider it to be more flavorful and healthier than regular bread. There are those that also believe it digests more easily as well, meaning you’re less likely to see a blood sugar spike. Is there any truth to sourdough bread being healthy?

Is Sourdough Bread Healthy?

The truth is, sourdough is healthy. The type of nutritional value you get from the sourdough depends on the flour that was used to make it. If it was refined, you won’t get as much nutrition as if it was whole grain. The average medium slice will weigh about 2 ounces. This is what you will find in it:

Calories

162 calories

Carbs

32 grams

Fiber

2-4 grams

Protein

6 grams

Fat

2 grams

Selenium

22 % of the RDI

Folate

20 % of the RDI

Thiamin

16 % of the RDI

Sodium

16 % of the RDI

Manganese

14 % of the RDI

Niacin

14 % of the RDI

Iron

12 % of the RDI

There are some unique properties of sourdough that makes its nutritional profile even better.

1. There Are Fewer Phytates

One of the big reasons why sourdough is better is that it reduces your phytate. It also helps with phytic acid and minerals. If the bonds between the two don’t break, you can’t absorb the minerals in the food. In order for us to get everything in the profile of a whole grain, the phytate bond must be broken.

When the dough goes through fermentation, the bonds are broken by the enzyme phytase. If the sourdough acidity dips to 5.5 pH, then phytate is reduced by 70%, allowing minerals such as phosphorus to be ready for assimilation. There are studies indicating the increase or reduction of phytates has a direct impact on the amount of zinc, iron and magnesium assimilated.

2. It Helps the Body Digest Protein

Is sourdough bread healthy? Yes. Phytates help with binding minerals but they also inhibit the enzyme trypsin, which helps break down protein. When these bonds are broken, your body can better digest protein. If your protein isn’t properly digested, you can end up with inflammation, leaky gut syndrome and other stomach issues. One of the main protein in most flour is gluten.

3. Some Gluten Is Broken Down by Fermentation

Lactobacilli in the sourdough will start the process of breaking down gluten. This can be a benefit even to those who don’t have celiac disease because gluten is hard to digest. There are two components that make up gluten: glutenin and gliadin. Gliadin is a problem for those with celiac disease and glutenin gives gluten its elasticity. The lactobacilli will break down the gliadin but doesn’t affect the glutenin. This means it will help remove some of the troublesome bits while leave the structure.

One study showed a four-hour ferment breaks down 80% of the gliadin that is broken down in 8hours. There is another study suggesting that sourdough can break down gliadin enough that those with celiac disease can enjoy it.

It should be noted that this isn’t to suggest celiac sufferers can eat any sourdough. It is to show that the yeast and bacteria in sourdough is powerful and may be able to make the bread more digestible.

4. Sourdough Stabilizes Blood Sugar

When four different types of bread (white sourdough, white, whole wheat, and whole wheat & barley) were compared, it was found that sourdough caused the least amount of increase in blood sugar and insulin levels. In addition, those who ate sourdough at breakfast continued to see lower blood sugar levels after lunch.

Scientists don’t know exactly why sourdough helps blood sugar levels, but they think the fermentation may change the carbohydrate structures, causing the body to assimilate them slower. The dough’s starch gets predigested by the yeast and bacteria, making it easier to digest. So is sourdough bread healthy? Yes.

5. Benefits of Probiotics Last After It's Cooked

The truth is, sourdough that is raw is chock full of good microorganisms. Although baking kills much of them off, they may still be beneficial. There are some studies that show these organisms reduce inflammation, how long you will have diarrhea, and the incident of the common cold.

6. Fermenting Protects Against Mold

Several acids produced by Lactobacillus sanfrancisco, a main bacterium in sourdough, has an antimold effect. General bread can harbor mold and spoil without it being visible. Eating mold can be pretty harmful. Sourdough, however, rarely molds.

7. It Makes You Full

If you’ve ever caught yourself eating one piece of bread after another, you know that it can be easy to gorge on carbs without ever feeling full. When you eat sourdough, you will feel full longer. Even sourdough pancakes can help you feel full for longer. This means you can eat less calories and feel full longer.

8. It Can Be Used as Auto-Immune Disease Treatment

LAB or Lactic acid bacteria (common in sourdough) produce such beneficial compounds as: anti-allergens, antioxidants, and peptide lunasin which prevents cancer. These compounds are thought to also help with auto-immune diseases.

How to Make Sourdough Bread

Is sourdough bread healthy? Yes. There are some people who think sourdough is hard to make but in truth, once you know how the dough behaves, it can be very easy.

Ingredients:

  • 3⅓ cups of flour
  • 2⅓ cups fresh sourdough starter
  • 1-1½ cups water
  • 1 tbsp. sea salt

Directions:

  • Mix the salt, flour and sourdough start together and add a cup of water.
  • Add more water as necessary to get the moist dough you need.
  • Knead the dough on a floured board until it is slightly stretchy between your fingers.
  • Split the dough and shape each half into a loaf. Place loaf in pan and cover with a towel, let rest for 24 hours.
  • Slice an x in top of the loaf so it can split while baking.
  • Bake at 400 degrees F for 30-60 minutes depending on size or until temp is about 200 degrees F. Cool before slicing.

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