If carbohydrates are your enemy, bread may have a place in the top 10 foods you avoid. Even so, it should still have a spot on the list of top 10 healthy foods. You do, after all, need carbohydrates as part of a balanced diet. Provided you remember that “balanced” is the key word, there are many breads that aren’t just acceptable, but are outright good for you.
Whole or Multi Grain Bread
Whole grains and grains in general provide many health benefits. Whole grains are a good source of fiber. Flax seed used in bread supplies heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and breads made with whole grain oats or whole oat flour contain antioxidants necessary to help your body fight off stress and disease.
Crisp bread is flat and very dry and can be used in any instance in which you might use a cracker, like topped with tuna salad or cheese for snacking. Most crisp breads are made from whole grain rye flour which contains protein, vitamin B-1 and minerals including calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Quick breads are typically made with fruits or vegetables such as zucchini, pumpkin, or bananas. They can make for a healthy and quick breakfast or later in the day as a snack. The health benefits of quick breads are numerous, depending on the ingredients they contain. Zucchini is a rich source of vitamin C while pumpkin carries carotenoids that boost immunity. Many quick bread recipes rely on the fruit and vegetable ingredients for moisture, so not as much oil or butter is required which can reduce the calories in these breads. Keep an eye on the ingredient list -- some quick breads might contain more sugar than others, but the ones made with fruit won't need a lot of sugar added for sweetening. Honey can be used as substitute for sugar when needed.
Low Fat Bread
A basic bread recipe is made up of flour, water, sugar, salt and some type of leavening such as yeast or baking soda. It is only when you start adding oil, butter and eggs to the mix that the fat content rises. Most crusty breads, such as French or artisan breads, contain no eggs and very little oil, if any at all. A good rule of thumb in determining at a glance whether or not a bread might be low fat is how soft the crust of the loaf is. Crusty or crisp will mean a lower fat content while the softer the crust, the more likely it is to be higher in fat. The exception to this rule would be for quick breads or other types of bread that contain fruits or vegetables, as they lend more moisture to the bread without increasing fat.
- Photo Credit baked bread image by Dmitri MIkitenko from Fotolia.com
- Healthy Bread in Five Minutes A Day; Jeff Hertzberg, MD; October, 2009
- Bread Experience: Healthy Bread Recipes
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