• Who doesn’t love the tangy flavour and chewy texture of sourdough bread? Beyond its delicious taste and artisanal appeal, sourdough boasts an array of potential health benefits that might just make it your new favourite bread choice.

    Understanding what is sourdough bread

    Sourdough bread is no ordinary loaf; it’s a leavened bread that undergoes a natural fermentation process.

    Unlike commercial breads that rely on baker’s yeast for rising, sourdough utilises a sourdough starter—a mixture of wild yeast and beneficial bacteria that ferments over several days (approximately 5 days). This starter, or levain, is then combined with bread flour to create the distinctive sourdough dough.

    The potential health benefits of sourdough bread
    Image: Pexels

    The nutritional composition of sourdough bread

    According to BBC Good Food,  the exact nutritional composition of sourdough bread can vary depending on the type of flour used, but a typical 100g portion (around two slices) provides approximately:

    • 230 kcals/974KJ
    • 7.8g protein
    • 0.7g fat
    • 47g carbohydrate
    • 2.9g fibre
    • 0.81g salt

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    Exploring the health benefits of sourdough bread

    Supports gut health:

    While some of the beneficial microbes in the sourdough starter may not survive the baking process, the fibre and polyphenols in sourdough become more readily available. These compounds serve as fuel for the good bacteria in your gut, making sourdough a gut-friendly choice.

    Aids blood sugar management:

    The fermentation process and higher fibre content in sourdough make it a suitable option for individuals managing blood sugar levels. Unlike many commercial breads, sourdough has a gentler impact on blood sugar, helping to maintain more stable levels.

    Reduces risk of heart disease:

    With its higher fibre content, sourdough is associated with a lower risk of heart disease. The natural fermentation process further enhances these benefits, especially when whole grain rye flour is used, making sourdough a heart-healthy choice.

    The potential health benefits of sourdough bread
    Image: Unsplash

    Easier to digest:

    Traditional sourdough undergoes a slow fermentation process, which not only increases the bioavailability of vitamins and minerals but also begins breaking down proteins, including gluten. This makes sourdough easier on the digestive system compared to other bread varieties.

    More nutritious:

    Fermentation improves the bioavailability of nutrients in sourdough bread. Compounds like phytic acid, which can inhibit nutrient absorption, are broken down during fermentation, allowing your body to access the grain’s nutrients more effectively.

    May help appetite control:

    Studies have shown that sourdough bread is more satiating than bread made with commercial yeast. Participants reported feeling less hungry after consuming sourdough, suggesting that it may help with appetite control and overall calorie intake management.

    Sourdough bread isn’t just a delicious artisanal treat—it’s a nutritional powerhouse with a host of potential health benefits. From supporting gut health to aiding blood sugar management and reducing the risk of heart disease, sourdough offers a multitude of reasons to make it a staple in your diet.

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    Feature image: Pexels