Certain types are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, while others are made from refined grains and offer little in terms of nutrition.
Naturally, you may wonder what kind of bread is healthiest.
Here are the 7 healthiest breads you can choose.
1. Sprouted Whole Grain
Sprouted bread is made from whole grains that have started to sprout from exposure to heat and moisture.
Sprouting has been shown to increase the amount and availability of certain nutrients (1).
One study found that pita bread made with 50% sprouted wheat flour had over 3 times as much folate, a vitamin critical for converting food into energy, than pita made without sprouted wheat flour (2).
What's more, this process breaks down some of the starch in grains and decreases carb content.
Therefore, sprouted grains do not increase blood sugar as much as other grains, making them a good choice for people with diabetes or reduced blood sugar control (5).
Plus, most sprouted breads are high in fiber and protein. As such, they're more filling than more refined breads (6).
- Calories: 80
- Protein: 4 grams
- Fat: 0.5 grams
- Carbs: 15 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
Sprouting helps increase the amount and availability of certain nutrients. Breads made from sprouted whole grains are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and may have less of an impact on blood sugar than other breads.
Sourdough is made through a fermentation process that relies on naturally occurring yeast and bacteria to make the bread rise (8).
Fermentation helps reduce the number of phytates, also known as phytic acid, that bind to certain minerals and impair their absorption (9).
Sourdough may also be easier to digest than other breads, possibly due to its prebiotics, as well as the probiotics created during the fermentation process (8).
Probiotics are healthy bacteria found in your body and certain foods, whereas prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that feed these bacteria. Getting enough of each promotes good gut health and digestion (10).
Finally, sourdough bread is thought to have a low glycemic index (GI), a measure of the impact a food has on blood sugar (11).
One slice (47 grams) of whole-wheat sourdough gives (14):
- Calories: 120
- Protein: 4 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Carbs: 20 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
Sourdough bread is made through a fermentation process that boosts its digestibility, improves the availability of certain nutrients, and lowers its blood sugar effects.
3. 100% Whole Wheat
Whole grains keep the entire grain intact, including the germ, endosperm, and bran. The bran, which is the hard, outer layer, is high in fiber (15).
The bran and germ also contain protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds, while the endosperm is mostly starch (15).
That's why whole grains, including whole wheat, are higher in fiber and considered more nutritious than refined grains, which have been processed to remove the bran and germ.
However, it's important to note that many manufacturers label breads "whole wheat" so that they appear healthier, even when they mostly consist of refined flour.
Look for breads that have 100% whole-wheat or whole-grain flour listed as their first ingredient and do not sneak unnecessary ingredients, such as added sugars or vegetable oils.
One slice (46 grams) of whole-wheat bread contains (18):
- Calories: 110
- Protein: 4 grams
- Fat: 0.5 grams
- Carbs: 23 grams
- Fiber: 4 grams
Whole-wheat bread made from 100% whole-wheat flour is higher in fiber, vitamins, and minerals than breads made from refined wheat.
4. Oat Bread
Oat bread is typically made from a combination of oats, whole-wheat flour, yeast, water, and salt.
Since oats are highly nutritious and linked to a number of health benefits, oat bread can be a healthy choice.
In particular, oats are high in fiber and beneficial nutrients, including magnesium, vitamin B1 (thiamine), iron, and zinc. The fiber in oats, known as beta-glucan, may help lower cholesterol levels, regulate blood sugar, and decrease high blood pressure (19, 20, 21, 22).
A review of 28 studies found that eating 3 grams or more of oat beta-glucan per day significantly decreased LDL (bad) and total cholesterol levels compared to not eating oats (20).
The study also found that the cholesterol-lowering effects of beta-glucan in oats were greater in people with higher baseline cholesterol levels (20).
However, just because a bread has "oats" or "oatmeal" on its label doesn't mean that it's healthy. Some oat breads only have a small amount of oats and are mostly made of refined flours, added sugars, and oils.
To find a more nutritious oat bread, look for one that lists oats and whole-wheat flour as the first two ingredients.
One slice (48 grams) of whole-grain oat bread contains (21):
- Calories: 130
- Protein: 6 grams
- Fat: 1.5 grams
- Carbs: 23 grams
- Fiber: 4 grams
Oat bread made from oats and whole-grain flour boasts the fiber beta-glucan, which may help lower cholesterol and has been linked to a number of health benefits.
5. Flax Bread
Flax bread, which is made primarily from whole-grain flours and flax seeds, is one of the healthiest breads you can eat.
This is because flax seeds are highly nutritious and offer a number of health benefits. Particularly, they are an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid found in plant foods (23).
A large review of 27 studies found that a high intake of dietary ALA was associated with a lower risk of heart disease (24).
What's more, flax seeds boast compounds called lignans that can act as antioxidants in your body and may help protect against certain cancers (25).
In fact, one study in 6,000 postmenopausal women suggested that those who regularly ate flax seeds had an 18% lower chance of developing breast cancer compared to those who did not eat them (26).
Interestingly, those who ate flax bread were 23% less likely to get breast cancer than those who didn't eat it (26).
However, it's important to note that this study was observational. More research is needed to understand the connection between flax seeds and cancer risk.
Nevertheless, eating flax bread and other foods with flax seeds may have additional benefits, such as improved digestive health (27).
Be sure to look for flax breads made with minimal ingredients, such as whole-wheat and/or sprouted whole-grain flours, yeast, water, salt, and flax seeds.
One slice (34 grams) of Ezekiel Sprouted Whole-Grain Flax Bread contains (28):
- Calories: 80
- Protein: 5 grams
- Fat: 1 gram
- Carbs: 14 grams
- Fiber: 4 grams
Flax bread contains plant-based omega-3 fatty acids that promote good heart health, as well as compounds called lignans that may help protect against certain cancers.
6. 100% Sprouted Rye Bread
Rye closely resembles wheat but is usually darker and denser.
Traditional rye bread is only made from rye flour and does not contain any wheat flour, whereas most modern rye breads are made from a combination of the two. Rye loaves also typically have caraway seeds baked into them.
One study in 12 healthy adults found that those who ate whole-grain rye bread released significantly less insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar, than those who ate white-wheat bread (30).
Rye's ability to lower your body's insulin response is likely due to its high soluble fiber content.
Soluble fiber is a non-digestible carbohydrate that dissolves in water and becomes gel-like in your gut. Eating foods with soluble fiber helps slow your digestion of carbs, which decreases insulin release and reduces blood sugar spikes (33, 34, 35).
The healthiest rye breads are made from 100% whole-grain sprouted rye flour, in addition to other sprouted grain flours. Since sprouting increases grains' fiber content, sprouted rye is higher in fiber and healthier than non-sprouted rye (36, 37).
One slice (28 grams) of sprouted rye bread provides (38):
- Calories: 60
- Protein: 4 grams
- Fat: 1 gram
- Carbs: 12 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
Sprouted rye bread is high in soluble fiber, which helps slow your digestion of carbs and decrease your body's insulin response.
7. Healthy Gluten-Free Bread
Gluten-free breads are made without glutenous grains like wheat, rye, or barley.
They are safe options for people who need to avoid gluten, such as those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
While the exact ingredients in gluten-free loaves depend on the type, they are typically made from a mix of gluten-free flours, such as brown rice, almond, coconut, tapioca, potato, or corn flours.
Many people wrongly assume that gluten-free breads are healthier than those that contain gluten. However, most gluten-free varieties are made from refined flours and high in added sugars, as well as other unnecessary additives.
However, those made from almond or coconut flours, such as Barely Bread, tend to be lower in carbs and calories but higher in fiber and protein than loaves made from wheat or other grains (39).
The higher fiber and protein content in these products may help fill you up more than other breads while packing fewer calories and less starch (40).
One slice (36 grams) of Barely Bread 100% Grain-Free bread gives you (39):
- Calories: 90
- Protein: 3 grams
- Fat: 5 grams
- Carbs: 6 grams
- Fiber: 5 grams
Some gluten-free breads harbor refined flours that are high in starch and unhealthy sweeteners, so be sure to choose ones that have healthier ingredients, fewer carbs, and more fiber.
How to Choose a Healthy Bread
To choose a healthy bread, look for brands that have:
- 100% whole-grain or sprouted flours listed as the first ingredient, with limited other ingredients
- 3–5 grams of fiber and 3–6 grams of protein per slice
- No added sweeteners
One of the best ways to ensure that you're choosing a healthy bread is to make it yourself. This way, you can control the ingredients. Hundreds of recipes for homemade breads are available online to suit most every dietary need.
Keep in mind that while the breads on this list are healthier than other varieties, bread is generally not as nutritious as other whole foods.
Fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds, as well as whole grains that have not been milled into flour, typically pack more fiber and beneficial nutrients than bread.
What's more, many breads are made with added sugars and vegetable oils high in omega-6 fats, such as soybean oil. Excess intake of these ingredients has been linked to chronic inflammation that may lead to illnesses, including heart disease (40, 41).
In addition, some people may need to reduce their carb intake and thus limit bread consumption, such as those with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, as well as anyone on a low-carb diet (42).
That said, bread can be enjoyed in moderation — as part of a balanced diet that includes a variety of other nutritious foods.
When choosing a healthy bread, look for ones with 100% whole-grain or sprouted flour and without added sugars and vegetable oils.
The Bottom Line
Some breads are healthier than others.
To choose a beneficial bread, look for varieties made from 100% whole-grain and/or sprouted-grain flours. Make sure your bread has no added sweeteners or vegetable oils.
A few good options include sourdough, rye, flax, and oat breads.
Whichever you choose, remember to eat bread in moderation as part of a balanced diet, alongside a variety of nutritious whole foods.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Democrats in the House and Senate have introduced legislation to ban some of the most toxic pesticides currently in use in the U.S. D-Keine / E+ / Getty Images
By Jake Johnson
Democrats in the House and Senate on Tuesday introduced sweeping legislation that would ban some of the most toxic pesticides currently in use in the U.S. and institute stronger protections for farmworkers and communities that have been exposed to damaging chemicals by the agriculture industry.
- California Bans Pesticide Linked to Brain Damage in Children ... ›
- Hawaii Bans Use of Toxic Pesticide Chlorpyrifos - EcoWatch ›
- Trump EPA OKs 'Emergency' Use of Bee-Killing Pesticide on 13.9 ... ›
BP, the energy giant that grew from oil and gas production, is taking its business in a new direction, announcing Tuesday that it will slash its oil and gas production by 40 percent and increase its annual investment in low-carbon technology to $5 billion, a ten-fold increase over its current level, according to CNN.
- World's Largest Fund Manager to 'Reshape' Investment Portfolio to ... ›
- Oil Companies Are Thinking About a Low-Carbon Future, but Aren't ... ›
- BP Announces Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Target, but Offers No ... ›
By Alex Thornton
The Australian government has announced a A$190 million (US$130 million) investment in the nation's first Recycling Modernization Fund, with the aim of transforming the country's waste and recycling industry. The hope is that as many as 10,000 jobs can be created in what is being called a "once in a generation" opportunity to remodel the way Australia deals with its waste.
Waste Mountain<p>The need for a dramatic increase in Australia's recycling capacity pre-dates the COVID-19 pandemic. <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-27/where-does-all-australias-waste-go/11755424" target="_blank">Australians create approximately 67 million tons of waste a year</a>, and like in many wealthy countries, much of that was sent overseas. That all changed when China announced it was <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/10/china-has-banned-foreign-waste-so-whats-the-future-of-world-recycling" target="_blank">banning the import of a huge range of foreign waste</a> and recyclables. Soon <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/05/malaysia-flooded-with-plastic-waste-to-send-back-some-scrap-to-source" target="_blank">other countries followed suit</a>, and Australia was forced to look for alternative solutions.</p>
Biggest exporters of plastic. Statista
Waste Export Ban<p>Australia has adopted a strategy of taking responsibility for its own waste. Starting in January 2021, it is phasing in <a href="http://www.environment.gov.au/protection/waste-resource-recovery/waste-export-ban" target="_blank">bans on the export of different forms of waste</a>. By mid 2024, Australia's home-grown recycling industry will have to deal with an extra 650,000 tons of waste plastic, paper, glass and tires.</p><p>"As we cease shipping our waste overseas, the waste and recycling transformation will reshape our domestic waste industry, driving job creation and putting valuable materials back into the economy," federal environment minister Sussan Ley said in a <a href="https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-australia-waste/australia-to-set-up-132-million-fund-to-boost-recycling-following-export-curbs-idUKKBN247060" target="_blank">statement to Reuters</a>.</p>
Timeline for Australia's waste export ban. Australian Government
Trash Into Treasure<p>The benefits to the environment of boosting recycling rates are well known – less landfill, less plastic in our ocean, reduced need for virgin materials, and lower carbon emissions. The Recycling Modernization Fund initiative aims to divert more than 10 million tons of waste from landfill, part of an <a href="http://www.environment.gov.au/protection/waste-resource-recovery/publications/national-waste-policy-action-plan" target="_blank">overall strategy to reduce the total waste generated per person by 10%</a>, and push <a href="https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/7381c1de-31d0-429b-912c-91a6dbc83af7/files/national-waste-report-2018.pdf" target="_blank">Australia's total resource recovery rate from 58% in 2017</a> to 80% by 2030.</p><p>But like many countries, Australia is focusing on the economic benefits of better waste management as well.</p><p>"This will mean Australia converts more waste into higher valued resources ready for reuse locally by manufacturers and brands in their packaging and products," Rose Read, CEO of the National Waste and Recycling Industry Council, <a href="https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-australia-waste/australia-to-set-up-132-million-fund-to-boost-recycling-following-export-curbs-idUKKBN247060" target="_blank">told Reuters</a>.</p>
Green Jobs<p>The great potential of the circular economy to create green jobs is being recognized across the world.</p><p>In the UK, the Waste and Resources Action Program has launched a <a href="https://wrap.org.uk/buildbackbetter" target="_blank">six-point plan which it claims could add $90 billion to the economy, and create 500,000 new jobs</a>. Investment in the circular economy forms a significant part of the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/us/politics/biden-climate-plan.html" target="_blank">$2 trillion climate plan that Democratic candidate Joe Biden</a> is taking into November's US presidential election. And the <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_940" target="_blank">European Union has put its Green New Deal at the heart of its plans for recovery</a> from the economic shock of COVID-19.</p><p>The World Economic Forum's <a href="http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_The_Future_Of_Nature_And_Business_2020.pdf" target="_blank">Future of Nature and Business</a> report identifies 15 systemic transitions with annual business opportunities worth $10 billion a year that could create 395 million jobs by 2030.</p><p>As is the case with Australia's Recycling Modernization Fund, a combination of private enterprise and government investment can offer ways to get people back to work by building a more environmentally sustainable economy.</p>
- The Complex and Frustrating Reality of Recycling Plastic - EcoWatch ›
- U.S. Products Labeled Recyclable Really Aren't, Greenpeace ... ›
- Mutant Enzyme Recycles Plastic in Hours, Could Revolutionize ... ›
The Great American Outdoors Act is now the law of the land.
<div id="e0008" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ffc07febbf5d2d585ad06d3f43e2be56"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1290667833999929344" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">🚨Breaking News: The President has just signed the bipartisan #GreatAmericanOutdoorsAct. It will help: 🏗️ Restore… https://t.co/RPefKPMn7S</div> — Fix Our Parks (@Fix Our Parks)<a href="https://twitter.com/FixOurParksUS/statuses/1290667833999929344">1596554165.0</a></blockquote></div>
- Judge Rebukes Trump's Attack on Public Lands, Rules Coal Mining ... ›
- Great American Outdoors Act Passes House With Bipartisan Support ... ›
- Great American Outdoors Act Approved by Senate in Major ... ›
By Andrew J. Whelton and Caitlin R. Proctor
In recent years wildfires have entered urban areas, causing breathtaking destruction.
Survivors left everything to flee the Camp Fire's path. Andrew Whelton / Purdue University
Wildfires and Water<p>Both the Tubbs and Camp fires destroyed fire hydrants, water pipes and meter boxes. Water leaks and ruptured hydrants were common. The Camp Fire inferno spread at a speed of one football field per second, chasing everyone – including water system operators – out of town.</p><p>After the fires passed, testing ultimately revealed widespread hazardous drinking water contamination. Evidence suggests that the toxic chemicals originated from a combination of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/aws2.1183" target="_blank">burning vegetation, structures and plastic materials</a>.</p>
Pipes, water meters and meter covers after wildfires destroyed them. Caitlin Proctor, Amisha Shah, David Yu, and Andrew Whelton/Purdue University
Dangerous Contamination Levels<p>Benzene was found at concentrations of 40,000 parts per billion (ppb) in drinking water after the Tubbs Fire and at more than 2,217 ppb after the Camp Fire. According to the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, children exposed to benzene for a single day can suffer <a href="https://engineering.purdue.edu/PlumbingSafety/resources/Benzene-Levels-in-Water.pdf" target="_blank">harm at levels as low as 26 ppb</a>.</p><p>The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends limiting children's short-term acute exposure to <a href="https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2018-03/documents/dwtable2018.pdf" target="_blank">200 ppb</a>, and long-term exposure to less than <a href="https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/national-primary-drinking-water-regulations" target="_blank">5 ppb</a>. The EPA regulatory level for what constitutes a hazardous waste is <a href="https://19january2017snapshot.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-06/documents/tclp.pdf" target="_blank">500 ppb</a>.</p><p>In early 2019, California conducted contaminated water testing on humans by taking contaminated water from the Paradise Irrigation District and asking persons to smell it. The state found that even when people smelled contaminated water that had less than 200 ppb benzene, <a href="https://engineering.purdue.edu/PlumbingSafety/resources/Dissipatiion-of-Burn-Related-VOC-From-Water.pdf" target="_blank">at least one person reported nausea and throat irritation</a>. The test also showed that water contained a variety of other benzene-like compounds that first responders had not sampled for.</p><p>The officials who carried out this small-scale test did not appear to realize the significance of what they had done, until we asked whether they had had their action approved in advance by an institutional review board. In response, they asserted that such a review was not needed.</p><p>In our view, this episode is telling for two reasons. First, one subject reported an adverse health effect after being exposed to water that contained benzene at a level below the EPA's recommended one-day limit for children. Second, doing this kind of test without proper oversight suggests that officials greatly underestimated the potential for serious contamination of local water supplies and public harm. After the Camp Fire, together with the EPA, we estimated that some plastic pipes needed <a href="https://engineering.purdue.edu/PlumbingSafety/opinions/Final-HDPE-Service-Line-Decontamination-2019-03-18.pdf" target="_blank">more than 280 days</a> of flushing to make them safe again.</p>
Plastic pipes can be damaged by heat and fire contact. Andrew Whelton / Purdue University
Building Codes Could Make Areas Disaster-Ready<p>Our research underscores that community building codes are inadequate to prevent wildfire-caused pollution of drinking water and homes.</p><p>Installing one-way valves, called backflow prevention devices, at each water meter can prevent contamination rushing out of the damaged building from flowing into the larger buried pipe network.</p><p>Adopting codes that required builders to install fire-resistant meter boxes and place them farther from vegetation would help prevent infrastructure from burning so readily in wildfires. Concrete meter boxes and water meters with minimal plastic components would be less likely to ignite. Some plastics may be practically impossible to make safe again, since all types are susceptible to fire and heat.</p><p>Water main shutoff valves and water sampling taps should exist at every water meter box. Sample taps can help responders quickly determine water safety.</p>
<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9540d7e271306ed417112042a3efc9a4"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GnlrzI1wdAI?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
The Smell Test Doesn’t Work<p>Under no circumstance should people be told to <a href="https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/press_room/press_releases/2018/pr122418_voc.pdf" target="_blank">smell the water</a> to determine its safety, as was recommended for months after the Camp Fire. Many chemicals have no odor when they are harmful. Only testing can determine safety.</p><p>Ordering people to boil their water will not make it safe if it contains toxic chemicals that enter the air. Boiling just transmits those substances into the air faster. "Do not use" orders can keep people safe until agencies can test the water. Before such advisories are lifted or modified, regulators should be required to carry out a full chemical screen of the water systems. Yet, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/aws2.1183" target="_blank">disaster</a> after <a href="https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlehtml/2017/ew/c5ew00294j" target="_blank">disaster</a>, government agencies have failed to take this step.</p><p>Buildings should be tested to find contamination. <a href="https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2020/Q1/study-your-homes-water-quality-could-vary-by-the-room-and-the-season.html" target="_blank">Home drinking water quality can differ from room to room</a>, so reliable testing should sample both cold and hot water at many locations within each building.</p><p>While infrastructure is being repaired, survivors need a safe water supply. Water treatment devices sold for home use, such as refrigerator and faucet water filters, are not approved for extremely contaminated water, although product sales representatives and government officials may <a href="https://undark.org/2019/09/19/camp-fire-california-drinking-water-carcinogens/" target="_blank">mistakenly think</a> the devices can be used for that purpose.</p><p>To avoid this kind of confusion, external technical experts should be called in assist local public health departments, which can quickly become overwhelmed after disasters.</p>
<div id="71cf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e059d199e8368d282a31601e372e4dda"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1204068265980547075" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">The Los Angeles City Council's Planning and Land Use Committee signed off on an effort to expand the city's fire-re… https://t.co/fP8Z8mUq7R</div> — IntlCodeCouncil (@IntlCodeCouncil)<a href="https://twitter.com/IntlCodeCouncil/statuses/1204068265980547075">1575907219.0</a></blockquote></div>
Preparing for Future Fires<p>The damage that the Tubbs and Camp fires caused to local water systems was preventable. We believe that urban and rural communities, as well as state legislatures, should establish codes and lists of authorized construction materials for high-risk areas. They also should establish rapid methods to assess health, prepare for water testing and decontamination, and set aside emergency water supplies.</p><p>Wildfires are coming to urban areas. Protecting drinking water systems, buried underground or in buildings, is one thing communities can do to prepare for that reality.</p>
- After a Quiet Summer, 'Dangerous' California Wildfire Burns ... ›
- California Wildfires: One of 'Greatest Tragedies' State Has Ever Faced ›
- Losses From California Wildfires Top $1 Billion, Expected to Rise ... ›
New satellite images have revealed 11 new throngs of emperor penguin colonies, lifting the number of known emperor penguin colonies by 20 percent and their total population by 5 to 10 percent, according to The Guardian.
- This Penguin Colony Has Fallen by 77% on Antarctic Islands ... ›
- Antarctica's Ice Is Melting 5 Times Faster Than in the 90s - EcoWatch ›
- Green Snow Is Spreading in Antarctica Due to the Climate Crisis ... ›
- Antarctic Penguin Poop Emits Laughing Gas - EcoWatch ›
By Zulfikar Abbany
"We don't have a definition of life," says Kevin Peter Hand, one early California morning when we speak via video. "We don't actually know what life is."