What Type of Bread is Healthier?

Today, we're going to show you what type of bread is the healthiest so that you can include it in your diet on a regular basis, benefiting from the supply of fiber.
What Type of Bread is Healthier?
Saúl Sánchez

Written and verified by el nutricionista Saúl Sánchez.

Last update: 26 March, 2023

Bread is one of the foods that produce the most disagreements among nutrition experts. In general, it’s a wheat flour-based preparation that, as a general rule, has a significant impact on blood glucose levels. Many specialists recommend limiting the presence of this food in the diet because they consider bread to be unhealthy. However, there are various options to choose from when it comes to bread. So, with that in mind, what type of bread is healthier?

Depending on the type of bread chosen, the ingredients may be of a higher or lower quality. In the following article, we’re going to show you which of them you have to prioritize to achieve certain benefits for the body.

Choose a type of bread that contains little refined flour

Flour is a refined ingredient by definition. Now, not all those that are offered in the supermarket are the same.

Whole grains have a higher quality, as they take advantage of the whole grain. Thanks to this, its fiber content is higher.

It’s important to note that this substance is key to improving intestinal health, as it helps prevent constipation. This is evidenced by research published in the journal Nature Reviews.

At the same time, we should remember that many flours exist other than wheat. Among them are corn and spelt. The latter is especially beneficial, as it has a lower impact on blood glucose levels and has a higher concentration of fiber. It’s possible to make bread with it, obtaining a product with good characteristics.

Also, you’ll have to look at the list of ingredients in the bread. Some aren’t only made with flour but also have seeds.

This is considered especially beneficial, as we’re talking about foods that are capable of providing quality fatty acids, such as those of the omega-3 series. These protect against the development of cardiovascular diseases, according to a study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.

It’s important to prioritize sourdough bread

Some breads report on their label that they’re made with sourdough. This gives them better organoleptic and also nutritional properties.

They’ll have a greater amount of prebiotic compounds inside. We’re referring to soluble fiber that ferments inside the digestive tract, serving as an energy substrate for the bacteria that live there.

In addition, from this process, mediated by the microorganisms that make up the microbiota, a series of compounds with anti-inflammatory activity are generated, such as short-chain fatty acids. Among all of them, butyrate stands out. As stated by research published in the journal Nutrients, we’re talking about a nutrient that could reduce the risk of developing inflammatory diseases.

Either way, you always have to prioritize the consumption of fresh bread. Packaged industrial varieties are usually not a good option.

Not only do they have additives among their ingredients, but they can have large amounts of added sugars. These elements are harmful to human health when ingested on a regular basis.

Not all breads are the same.
Not every type of bread is the same in its composition. The variety of ingredients allows you to choose one according to your needs.

Accompany bread well so that it’s healthy

It’s possible to include bread in the context of a healthy diet. You’ll have to choose a quality option and consume it in moderation.

According to the instructions we’ve provided, it’s always preferable to opt for fresh bread made from sourdough and from whole wheat flour. If it contains seeds, even better. But in addition to this, it’s key that you choose a good accompaniment.

It’s common to use bread as a complement to main meals, to dip in the sauce. However, this isn’t a good option.

This will increase the calories and carbohydrates in the preparation, making the overall context more likely to be hypercaloric. Therefore, there will be a progressive fat gain.

At the same time, it’s not a good idea to prepare sandwiches with deli meats that are very fatty and contain additives, as is the case with salami. These processed red meats have low-quality compounds, such as preservatives, inside them. Some of them, especially nitrites, have been linked to an increased risk of developing chronic and complex diseases, according to a study published in the Medical Science Monitor.

It’s best to accompany bread with a food that has a quality protein content, but without additives. Cheese can be a great option, as can serrano ham or turkey breast. Even a fat source, like guacamole or peanut butter, can be a good alternative to consider.

Beware of toast

It’s common to subject bread to certain toasting processes to improve its texture and flavor. However, it’s essential to avoid over-browning or burning.

Otherwise, a number of toxic compounds could be formed, such as acrylamide. This has proven to be detrimental to health.

Another common and harmful custom has to do with spreading the bread with butter prior to toasting. In this case, a transformation of the fatty acids of the ingredient from cis to trans will occur. These elements increase the states of inflammation in the body and are capable of increasing the incidence of various complex diseases, according to research published in Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome.

It’s best to consume bread when it’s fresh, without overcooking. This way, a good part of the resistant starch it contains will be used, a compound that acts as a prebiotic, increasing the density of the bacteria that inhabit the digestive tract.

Bread with fruit

In recent years, different types of bread have started to be made with chopped and dehydrated fruit. These represent a type of bread that increases the simple sugar content of the food. While it also provides more antioxidants, the benefits may not outweigh the harm.

It’s clear that fruits are healthy foods that should appear frequently in the diet, but they should always be fresh. When they’re consumed dehydrated, a concentration of short-chain carbohydrates is produced, which can negatively impact blood glucose levels. Also, a certain amount of phytochemicals will be lost.

This doesn’t mean that raisin bread or other fruits can’t be included in the diet from time to time, but they shouldn’t be the preferred option. It could have a slightly more negative effect than white bread, made from wheat flour.

Nuts are foods with a high nutritional density that provide fatty acids, proteins, and fiber. These three elements delay the speed of gastric emptying and, at the same time, the absorption of sugars. Thanks to this, the impact of carbohydrates on blood glucose levels will be less.

In addition, they increase the presence of essential micronutrients in the bread. Among all of them, zinc and selenium stand out, as these are two elements that cause a positive effect on the immune system.

Sourdough bread.
Sourdough bread acts as a prebiotic, stimulating the healthy aspects of the microbiota.

So, can you eat bread in a healthy way?

If a quality type of bread is chosen and the portions are moderate, it’s possible to eat bread on a daily basis. Now, this shouldn’t appear as an accompaniment to main meals, but as a source of carbohydrates in breakfasts or snacks. It’s possible to prepare toast that contains a source of proteins of high biological value and another of high-quality fats.

In any case, if the objective is to achieve the best possible state of health, the bread will have to be alternated with other sources of carbohydrates that are also capable of providing prebiotics. A clear example is oats, one of the highest-quality cereals. It contains compounds called beta glucans that stimulate the growth of microbiota bacteria.

Although it’s true that bread can also be made from oatmeal, it’s not a very common variety, especially at an industrial level. You could cook this food at home, as it remains in good condition for several days.

It’s possible to consume healthy bread

You have the option of choosing and consuming a good quality healthy bread that generates benefits on a dietary level. It’s a food that provides complex carbohydrates, which are necessary for carrying out sports activities at high intensities. At the same time, it contains the fiber necessary for the microbiota to remain competent.

It can also be a source of essential micronutrients, especially if it contains other ingredients such as seeds and nuts inside. Now, as we’ve mentioned, it will be decisive to avoid using bread as a side to your meals.

It might interest you...
4 Healthy Breakfasts
Muy Salud
Read it in Muy Salud
4 Healthy Breakfasts

We are going to present you 4 healthy breakfasts that can help you improve the functioning of the body in the medium and long term.

  • Vriesman, M. H., Koppen, I., Camilleri, M., Di Lorenzo, C., & Benninga, M. A. (2020). Management of functional constipation in children and adults. Nature reviews. Gastroenterology & hepatology17(1), 21–39. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41575-019-0222-y
  • Innes, J. K., & Calder, P. C. (2020). Marine Omega-3 (N-3) Fatty Acids for Cardiovascular Health: An Update for 2020. International journal of molecular sciences21(4), 1362. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21041362
  • Bach Knudsen, K. E., Lærke, H. N., Hedemann, M. S., Nielsen, T. S., Ingerslev, A. K., Gundelund Nielsen, D. S., Theil, P. K., Purup, S., Hald, S., Schioldan, A. G., Marco, M. L., Gregersen, S., & Hermansen, K. (2018). Impact of Diet-Modulated Butyrate Production on Intestinal Barrier Function and Inflammation. Nutrients10(10), 1499. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10101499
  • Zhang, F. X., Miao, Y., Ruan, J. G., Meng, S. P., Dong, J. D., Yin, H., Huang, Y., Chen, F. R., Wang, Z. C., & Lai, Y. F. (2019). Association Between Nitrite and Nitrate Intake and Risk of Gastric Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Medical science monitor : international medical journal of experimental and clinical research25, 1788–1799. https://doi.org/10.12659/MSM.914621
  • Koszucka, A., Nowak, A., Nowak, I., & Motyl, I. (2020). Acrylamide in human diet, its metabolism, toxicity, inactivation and the associated European Union legal regulations in food industry. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition60(10), 1677–1692. https://doi.org/10.1080/10408398.2019.1588222
  • Islam, M. A., Amin, M. N., Siddiqui, S. A., Hossain, M. P., Sultana, F., & Kabir, M. R. (2019). Trans fatty acids and lipid profile: A serious risk factor to cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. Diabetes & metabolic syndrome13(2), 1643–1647. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dsx.2019.03.033

Los contenidos de esta publicación se redactan solo con fines informativos. En ningún momento pueden servir para facilitar o sustituir diagnósticos, tratamientos o recomentaciones provenientes de un profesional. Consulta con tu especialista de confianza ante cualquier duda y busca su aprobación antes de iniciar o someterse a cualquier procedimiento.