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Health Benefits of Bread

Health Benefits of Bread

Bread has been an everyday food for centuries. In 2020, over 326.91 million Americans enjoyed bread. With so many people eating this staple, many want to know whether it adds any nutritional value to their diets. If bread is a go-to in your home, knowing its health benefits will help you understand how it impacts your body. This guide will dive into the bread nutrition facts of products you consume daily.

Is Bread Good for You

Is Bread Good for You?

Bread is a pantry staple in many households. Many people enjoy its versatility, as you can toast it, make delicious sandwiches or use it in some of your favorite recipes. If you regularly eat it, you may wonder — is bread healthy? Instead of answering that question with a sweeping yes, it’s essential to look at the nutritional benefits of each bread product and type on the market. Not all loaves are the same — some pack more nutritional value than others.

The bread you choose will determine the nutritional value it adds to your diet. Buy from a trusted manufacturer that uses quality ingredients. How you eat your bread will also determine how healthy it is. For example, making a sandwich with whole-grain bread and loading it with ingredients like bacon or cream cheese may hurt your health.

As with all foods, moderation is key when eating bread. Some professionals advise limiting your bread intake to six servings per day, depending on what other grains you eat and the bread you choose. When you buy bread, check for the ingredients the manufacturer uses, nutritional value and the serving suggestions. Adjust your bread intake accordingly if you are following a strict diet for medical reasons.

You can use virtually any sandwich filling or spread on your bread, English muffin or bagel, but your choices impact the ultimate nutritional value. Choose healthier or low-fat alternatives to your favorite toppings for a balanced meal. It’s wise to be mindful of what else you eat during the day to maximize bread’s health benefits.

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9 Health Benefits of Bread

While the fillings and spreads you choose can impact the nutritional value of your meal, bread itself offers several health benefits. The main nutrients in bread products can make it an essential part of your daily diet. The U.S. Department of Agriculture suggests half the grains you eat should be whole grains as part of a healthy diet. If you enjoy bread, you’ll be happy to know it can be part of a balanced diet. You can enjoy the following health benefits.

Bread Contains Fiber

1. Bread Contains Fiber

All bread contains fiber, an essential dietary nutrient. While each product has a different amount, you’ll generally find at least a gram of fiber per serving. You may know the importance of fiber for your digestive health, but there are various other ways it can help you.

  • Feel fuller: As your body works to break down fiber, you feel fuller for longer. Because fiber-rich foods are more filling, you’re less likely to overeat in one sitting and throughout the day, which can help with weight loss. 
  • Manage blood sugar: High-fiber foods tend to have a lower glycemic index, a ranking that reflects how foods affect blood sugar. Having a lower GI means that fiber in some bread products slowly releases sugar into your bloodstream, helping reduce blood sugar spikes after a high-carb meal.
  • Improve heart health: Whole-grain bread is high in fiber, which may help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. U.S. dietary guidelines recommend eating three to five servings of whole grains daily. With whole-grain bread, you can get four to five grams of fiber — 17% of the recommended daily value.

Often, bread has insoluble fiber, which you’ll find in sources such as whole-wheat flour. This fiber is essential in regulating your bowel movements, preventing constipation. Your body can’t break down and absorb insoluble fiber, so it clears your digestive tract as it moves through intact. Some bread products also have soluble fiber from sources such as barley and oats. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, turning into a gel. It lowers your blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Bread Has a Prebiotic effect

2. Bread Has a Prebiotic Effect

Our bodies naturally produce beneficial bacteria known as probiotics, typically within the gut. These bacteria keep us healthy by supporting our immune systems, helping us digest food and protecting us from germs that can make us sick.

The fiber in bread is prebiotic, which means it acts as food for the probiotics. While we can’t digest prebiotic fiber, our gut bacteria can. This fiber gives our gut the nutrients it needs to support healthy digestion, immune function and maintain a healthy balance. Studies link an unhealthy gut with diseases such as diabetes, obesity, neurodegenerative disorders and even cancer. 

When beneficial gut bacteria consume prebiotic fiber, they do several things, including turning it into butyric acid. This short-chain fatty acid is the most abundant SCFA in the gut and gives colon cells the energy they need to function. Eating bread with prebiotic fiber can help your colon produce more butyric acid and keep your digestive system healthy.

protein

3. Bread Contains Protein

The recommended daily allowance for protein is 0.36 grams per pound of your body weight. For example, if you weigh 175 pounds, your RDA would be 63 grams daily. Does bread have protein? While it isn’t as high in this essential nutrient as other foods, it can help you reach your goals. Protein has the following benefits for your body.

  • Reduces your appetite: Of all the macronutrients, protein makes you feel fuller while eating less. It does this by lowering levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, so you can avoid overeating. 
  • Increases muscle mass: Protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass and strength. Consume enough protein if you’re trying to lose weight and gain muscle.
  • Maintains bone health: Eating protein can help maintain bone mass as you age, preventing fractures and other issues.

Bread can be a healthy addition to your protein-rich diet. Most breads are vegetarian or vegan, which is good news if you are looking to increase your protein intake from sources other than meat or dairy.

Bread Can Be Enriched With Micronutrients

4. Bakers Can Enrich Bread With Micronutrients

As you now know, bread alone includes some essential nutrients. But bakeries can enrich their products with additional micronutrients, creating more bread health benefits. When making some breads, manufacturers process and refine grains. That process often removes the outer layer of the grain, which is generally the most nutritious part.

To compensate for that nutrient loss, manufacturers add micronutrients like these into their bread products.

  • Iron: This trace mineral is crucial for many bodily functions. It is part of hemoglobin, a protein that sustains the lungs as they carry oxygen throughout our bodies. Iron also helps you store and use oxygen.
  • Thiamine: Also known as vitamin B1, thiamine turns food into the energy essential for growth, development and healthy cell function.
  • Riboflavin: Also known as vitamin B2, riboflavin works with other B vitamins to aid in red blood cell production, fat metabolism and the release of energy from proteins.
  • Niacin: You may know this nutrient as vitamin B3. Niacin helps our bodies draw energy from the nutrients in our food, creates cholesterol and fats and repairs DNA.
  • Calcium: More than 99% of the calcium in our body goes toward keeping our bones and teeth strong. The rest of this mineral helps blood vessels contract and expand, secreting hormones and enzymes to send messages through our nervous system and muscle function.

Those added micronutrients boost bread’s health benefits, especially for specific products and types.

Bread Contains Folic Acid

5. Bread Contains Folic Acid

Bread manufacturers add folic acid along with other micronutrients to fortify their products. Folic acid is a synthetic version of folate, a type of B vitamin that our bodies can’t produce naturally. Fortified breads give us this essential nutrient that our bodies would otherwise miss. Folate and folic acid offer different bodily benefits, but both play a crucial role in a balanced diet. 

When you eat folic acid-fortified bread, you can enjoy the following benefits:

  • Repairing and synthesizing DNA
  • Promoting cellular division
  • Maturing of red blood cells

The United States and other countries require grain product manufacturers to fortify food with folic acid to prevent folic deficiency. Many diet issues, diseases and other conditions, like pregnancy, can lead to a lack of folate for some people. Fortifying products with folic acid is also essential for promoting brain health and preventing congenital disabilities and pregnancy complications.

6. Bread Fuels Your Body

Low- and no-carb diet trends leave many people thinking all carbs are bad. But some carbohydrates are necessary to fuel your body for the day ahead. Carbohydrates are a macronutrient responsible for giving you energy. Carbs include starch, fiber and sugar, which you can then split into complex and simple carbs. Fiber and starch are complex, while sugar is simple, and bread contains all those carbohydrate types.

Complex carbs are better for you because they provide your body with more nutrients. Your body digests these carbs more slowly, resulting in a steady release of glucose into the bloodstream. These carbohydrates give you energy that lasts longer as your body works harder to digest them. Simple carbs will also give your body energy, but that fuel burns more quickly than starch and fiber. That makes bread products beneficial for starting your day — you may have the stamina to make it through the usual midmorning slump onto lunch.

carbohydrates

7. Bread Is Low in Fat

Trans and saturated fats are unhealthy fats in butter and margarine. You’ll find zero grams of these fats in many bread products. Use those spreads sparingly on your bread to enjoy a low- to no-fat meal. In general, you should avoid trans fat and reduce your saturated fats. Eating foods with high levels of those fats can contribute to these negative health impacts:

  • Increased LDL, or bad cholesterol
  • Increased blood cholesterol
  • Higher risk of inflammation
  • Increased heart disease risk

Bread Can Decrease the Risk of Cancer

8. Bread Can Decrease the Risk of Cancer

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, some evidence suggests whole grains and foods with dietary fiber can decrease the risk of colorectal cancer. The AICR explains this discovery as indication of a relationship between some nutrients and their potential to reduce cancer risk. 

This research applies to whole grains, not just whole wheat. While whole wheat and grain maintain the three components of a kernel — the bran, the germ and the endosperm — that provide nutrients, whole grains include products in addition to wheat. You can find whole-wheat bread that contains ingredients that fall under the whole-grain category, like barley and rye. Those can potentially provide this significant health benefit.

bread can increase serotonin

9. Bread Can Increase Serotonin

Serotonin is an essential hormone for regulating our moods. When you’re upbeat and happy, you’re feeling its effects. On the other hand, many people with depression have low serotonin levels.

Our brains produce this hormone, which is responsible for several other functions like sleep, memory, regulating body temperature and digestion. 

It is possible to increase serotonin levels in your body by eating complex carbs. The resulting insulin boost helps your muscles draw in more amino acids, which gives tryptophan — an amino acid that plays a vital role in serotonin production — a better chance of reaching your brain. Tryptophan also plays an essential role in producing melatonin, which regulates your sleep-wake cycle.

You can enjoy improved moods and sleep by including complex carbs in your diet.

Health Benefits of Different Bread Products

Health Benefits of Different Bread Products

With those various bread health benefits in mind, you’ll want to select the best products for you and your family. So which type of bread is the healthiest? That will depend on what bread nutritional benefits you want. Luckily, every bread product offers different health advantages when you enjoy them in moderation according to the serving size.

health benefits of white bread

Health Benefits of White Bread

This product is a staple for many households, but is white bread good for you? You’ve probably heard the claims before that white bread doesn’t have the nutritional benefits other bread varieties do. But a study comparing sourdough to white bread found no significant differences in clinical effects. Researchers found similarities between how sourdough and white bread affected:

  • Cholesterol levels
  • Fat levels
  • Kidney and liver enzymes
  • Various nutrient levels

In most cases, manufacturers balance the nutrition in white bread by enriching it with micronutrients lost during grain refining. That means the health benefits of white bread include essential vitamins and minerals, like iron and various B vitamins.

You might also be surprised at white bread’s nutrition facts. For instance, Gold Medal Bakery’s premium white bread has zero grams of saturated and trans fats and zero milligrams of cholesterol. And our white bread provides a few grams of protein in every serving, helping you reach your daily protein needs. You’ll also find similar nutrition facts among other types of white bread.

Health Benefits of Wheat Bread

Since half of your daily grain intake should be whole grains, you know wheat bread has health benefits. Wheat bread is often high in fiber and micronutrients that benefit various body functions. Micronutrients like these help your body get the health benefits of wheat bread.

  • Manganese: This trace mineral helps your body metabolize amino acids, carbs and cholesterol.
  • Selenium: You need this trace mineral to defend your body against oxidative damage and to benefit thyroid health and reproduction.
  • Folate: Folate, or vitamin B9, promotes proper cell division.
  • Potassium: This macromineral is an electrolyte that benefits muscle function and nerve transmission. It also helps your cells maintain a fluid state.
  • Magnesium: This macromineral plays a role in more than 300 enzyme reactions, like regulating blood pressure.

You can also get whole-grain bread benefits if you select products containing different grains in addition to wheat. Whole grains can help prevent colorectal cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

Health Benefits of Bread Rolls

Determining the health benefits of bread rolls will largely depend on what kind you eat and what you eat on or with them. At Gold Medal Bakery, we offer white and wheat rolls in different varieties. Our white and wheat hot dog rolls have no grams of trans or saturated fats per serving and are cholesterol-free. White hot dog rolls have slightly less fiber but a gram more protein. So ultimately, the specific nutrients you get from bread rolls will vary with the kind you choose.

Health Benefits of English Muffins

health benefits of english muffins

As a breakfast staple for many, English muffins are a healthier alternative than other baked goods you might enjoy in the morning. English muffins offer a filling breakfast with less sugar than you’d find in breakfast pastries. And English muffins have similar nutritional value to bread — you’ll get some protein and fiber with almost no fat or cholesterol. English muffins offer micronutrients like niacin, riboflavin, thiamine and manganese. They can also contain phosphorus, essential for cell maintenance and repair.

Start with whole-wheat options to get the most benefits from English muffins. If you’re looking to enjoy a filling breakfast with fewer calories, pick up Gold Medal Bakery’s light English muffins. Maintain the English muffin’s nutritional value by carefully considering what you put on top of it.

Health Benefits of Bagels

Bagels are another popular and convenient breakfast option, but you could even enjoy one for a meal later in the day. So do they come with any health benefits? To maximize bagels’ health benefits, be mindful of how you eat them. Choose your spreads and toppings carefully and consider whole-grain bagel varieties. Watch your portion sizes, eating half a bagel or selecting smaller products to help create a balanced eating pattern.

With the right choices for your bagel, you could get benefits like protein, fuel for your body and positive effects from whole grains. Bagels from Gold Medal Bakery have a couple of grams of fiber and around 10 grams of protein per serving. Our wheat bagels up the benefits with more grams of fiber and protein per serving. It’s also worth noting that most bagel varieties have no cholesterol.

Choose Delicious Gold Medal Bakery Bread Products

Choose Delicious Gold Medal Bakery Bread Products

Create delicious and nutritious meals any time of day with help from Gold Medal Bakery. We’ve been baking the highest-quality bread for over a century. When you choose Gold Medal Bakery products, you get all the benefits of our hard work and experience. Our commitment is to bake the best products that meet your needs. Whether you want to enjoy the health benefits of bread in a delicious loaf or you’re looking for tasty specialty products, you’ll find them with Gold Medal Bakery.

Find our products in a store near you or contact us to learn more about the benefits of bread.

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the health benefits of bread