What is sourdough bread?
Let’s start with getting the basics straight. The term ‘sourdough’ refers to a particular technique of preparing bread and is not a grain. Therefore it does not make sense to compare sourdough bread with rye or spelt bread because then you would not be comparing like-with-like.
Sourdough bread is made out of just 4 ingredients: flour (of any kind), water, salt and naturally occurring yeast. The process of baking this bread begins with making a sourdough starter which basically entails a simple fermentation of flour and water. The starter is also commonly referred to as ‘wild yeast’.
The starter eventually serves to ferment the sugar in the dough, helping the bread rise and acquire its characteristic taste. Sourdough bread takes much longer to ferment and rise than other types of bread.
Is it healthy?
For a bread to be considered healthy, it first needs to be made from a 100% whole grain flour such as whole wheat, kamut or rye. As you probably already know, most breads commonly found in our local stores contain wheat flour (or white flour). Wheat flour is processed flour and as such, any food product containing it cannot be deemed to be healthy.
Therefore in determining whether a sourdough bread is healthy, you need to first check the flour it is made from. With that said, the sourdough technique can make a healthy bread even healthier.
The fermentation process in making sourdough bread improves the nutrition profile of the bread in several ways.
Whole grain breads contain a good amount of minerals, including potassium, phosphate, magnesium and zinc. However, unfortunately the absorption of these minerals by the body is limited due to the presence of phytic acid, which is commonly referred to as ‘phytate’. Phytates are considered anti-nutrients because they bind to minerals, reducing your body’s ability to absorb them.
On the other hand, the bacteria found in sourdough bread helps neautralise phytates therefore making it easier for the body to digest the mentioned minerals. Addiationally, as a result of fermention, sourdough bread has a lower amount of gluten (a plant protein that can cause digestive issues).
The bottom line is thus that sourdough bread is easier to digest than normal bread. In concluding bear in mind that sourdough bread can be made out of any type of flour so as we noted above, opt for a whole grain variety and enjoy in moderation, particularly in line with your daily carb requirements.
To fitness with love,