Is bread the forbidden food?
If you read a lot of social media posts about food and nutrition you would think bread is the forbidden food. Whether it’s the anti-carb, paleo, clean eating or whatever the newest food fashion is, many trendy folks advocate for no grains (of any kind).
While there are genuinely many people who can not tolerate wheat based foods (like bread) including those people with coeliac disease and those with an intolerance, it doesn’t necessarily mean we all should be avoiding them. This blog post isn’t really about that debate anyways. ( I would suggest watching this quick video below from Michael Pollan as a start on that topic).
Today I actually wanted to talk about some positives for the humble loaf of bread. A staple of many civilisations. There are some real nutritional benefits in bread which are often overlooked.
This post is for those folks who:
a) like bread
b) have not noticed any ill-effect from eating bread
c) want to eat a variety of foods in moderation
Ok. What’s good about bread?
We need fibre. It helps with keeping us full, keeping us going and above all is awesome for gut health (for a host of different reasons).
Most wholegrain breads have at least 2 or 3 grams of fibre in a slice.
Ha ha – many people would see this as a negative. I guess if you eat too much carbs it’s not great for your blood sugars. However, we do need some carbs (it gives us energy and our brains definitely wouldn’t tick without it). So I’m labelling carbs as a positive. Importantly, there are probably more ideal carbohydrate/bread choices if you do have Diabetes. For instance a wholegrain bread will have a lower glycemic index (GI) so will help avoid peaks in our blood sugars.
It has a key role of growth and repair in our body. It is also one of the things in food that makes us feel full and/or satisfied. Not many people know bread actually contains protein (it’s much more well known for it’s carb content).
A slice of bread usually contains about 3 or 4 grams of protein per slice. To give you a sense of what this means, an apple gives you about 0.4g, an egg gives you about 5 or 6g protein and a small tin of salmon about 20-25g.
Wholegrain bread contains…….
- Iron – really important for oxygen transport in our body
- Magnesium (involved in loads of reactions in our body including bone maintenance and growth, muscle health and nerve health)
- B vitamins like folate, niacin and thiamin
- Zinc – Important for our immune system, wound healing and with DNA and protein synthesis.
- Phosphorus - particularly known for involvement with bone health
- Manganese - involved with loads of things like the processing of cholesterol, carbs and protein plus it’s involved with our bone health
So there you have it. There is some nutritional goodness in this ancient staple. So please don’t feel guilty if you eat it.
If you like it and don’t have ill-effects from eating it, then enjoy