7 Healthy Bread Options You Need in Your Life

by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN

Despite what you hear and read, bread is not as bad as you think. Sure, most loaves and bread options are high in carbohydrates without any nutritional value, but let’s face it, they’re undoubtedly delicious. Add a little butter or add some ham or turkey to it with cheese, and it’s like eating a slice of heaven.

If you’re a bread lover, you’ve probably ventured out and found some really interesting loaves from around the world. It is said that there are more than 100 types of bread options around the world, but is there any healthy bread available? The source of the bread is as important as the type of bread when it comes to health. There are certain types of bread that are made from refined grains and have little nutritional value, while others are high in minerals, vitamins, and fiber.

In this article, we will bake up some information on seven types of bread you can eat when trying to live a healthy life.

7 Types of Healthy Bread Options

Below are the top seven nutritious and healthy bread options you should start adding to your nutrition plan.

1.      Sourdough

Sourdough bread is good for your stomach because of its digestion-friendly prebiotics and probiotics produced during fermentation. Nourishing these gut-friendly probiotics, prebiotics play a vital role in digestion and overall wellness. Also, it is great for maintaining steady blood sugar levels and boasting a low glycemic index.

According to a study featured in the 2007 British Journal of Nutrition, it was revealed that sourdough’s bacteria work to slow down starch digestion, preventing sudden spikes in blood sugar and helping make it one of the healthy bread options to consider.

2.      Sprouted whole grain

Sprouted bread is crafted from whole grains that have begun to sprout due to heat and moisture exposure. This sprouting process enhances the availability of specific nutrients. For instance, a study showed that pita bread made with 50% sprouted wheat flour contains over three times the folate compared to non-sprouted pita.

Studies highlight increased antioxidants and reduced antinutrients through sprouting, which also lowers starch and carb content. Sprouted grains might lead to lower blood sugar spikes, making them suitable for diabetes management. They are also rich in fiber and protein, promoting greater fullness and earning their spot on our list of healthy bread options.

3.      100% whole wheat

While many breads are produced from milled and fragmented grains, whole grains maintain the grain’s entirety, encompassing the germ, endosperm, and fiber-rich bran layer containing protective nutrients. Epidemiological studies underscore the association between whole-grain consumption and various health benefits, such as a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and specific cancers.

For authenticity in whole-grain bread, the primary ingredient should be explicitly labeled as 100% whole-wheat or whole-grain flour. It’s worth noting that certain products may feature “whole grain” on the packaging front but incorporate additional components like vegetable oils or added sugars.

4.      Flaxseed bread

When aiming to obtain heart-boosting omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil and oily fish stand out as prime choices for supplementation and animal-derived sources, respectively. Nevertheless, for individuals adhering to a vegan lifestyle, these options are off the table due to the exclusion of animal byproducts. Enter flax seeds, a viable alternative, and hence opting for flaxseed bread becomes an intuitive decision.

Research demonstrates that both flax seeds and flax bread can effectively lower the risks of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes, making it perfect for our list of healthy bread options.

5.      Ezekiel bread

If I were to ask you to name one of the healthy bread options off the top of your head, Ezekiel would probably be top of mind. This bread amalgamates an array of sprouted whole grains, typically including wheat, barley, spelled, and millet, along with legumes like lentils and soya beans. The secret to this loaf’s benefits lies in the process of sprouting or germinating these grains. This naturally reduces phytic acid content, resulting in improved digestion and enhanced absorption of minerals like iron and calcium in the gut.

Also, sprouting initiates the breakdown of protein and carbohydrates in the grains, leading to a minimized impact of carbohydrate spikes on blood sugar levels. Ezekiel bread stands out as an excellent source of protein, fiber, and B vitamins. In fact, it can provide up to three times more folate compared to bread crafted from non-sprouted grains.

6.      Rye bread

Rye bread stands distinct as its own grain entity, with authentic rye bread devoid of wheat flour (although rye itself isn’t gluten-free). This bread, characterized by its tangy, nutty, and earthy flavors, brings forth a multitude of commendable health advantages.

Rye tends to exhibit a lower glycemic index than wheat, thereby exerting a milder impact on blood sugar levels. The nutritional profile of rye is noteworthy, featuring substantial quantities of essential elements such as:

  • Selenium
  • Thiamin
  • Manganese
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Copper
  • Folate

7.      Oat bread

Last on our list of healthy bread options is oat bread. Oats have consistently earned recognition as a prime source of wholesome carbohydrates. Their gradual digestion fosters prolonged satiety. This attribute owes much to the presence of beta-glucan, a cholesterol-lowering fiber abundant in oats. Notably, beta-glucan’s benefits extend to lowering the risks of certain cancers, such as colon cancer, as well as diabetes, digestive ailments, and heart disease.

Comparatively, oats outshine wheat in protein content, boasting roughly twice the amount. This quality proves beneficial for muscle building and repair. Oats also pack an array of essential vitamins, including vitamin E, and vital minerals such as iron and calcium.