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In addition, it has been linked to several potential health benefits, including better blood sugar control and improved heart and digestive health.
This article reviews the nutritional content and health benefits of rye bread.
Rye bread is typically made with a combination of rye flour and rye grains (Secale cereale).
It comes in several forms, depending on the combination used, including:
- Light rye bread. This variety is made from only white rye flour, which comes from ground rye grain endosperm — the starchy core of the rye grain.
- Dark rye bread. This type is made from ground whole rye grains. Sometimes, dark rye flour is created from white rye flour that is colored with cocoa powder, instant coffee, or molasses.
- Marbled rye bread. This version is made from light and dark rye dough rolled together. Sometimes, the dark rye dough is made from light rye dough that is colored with cocoa powder, instant coffee, or molasses.
- Pumpernickel bread. This bread is made from coarsely ground whole rye grains.
In the United States, commercially made light and dark rye breads tend to be made in combination with wheat flour.
Compared with regular white and whole wheat bread, rye bread tends to be denser and darker and has a stronger, sour yet earthy taste.
Rye flour contains less gluten than wheat flour, which is why the bread is denser and doesn't rise as high as regular wheat-based breads.
However, given that it still contains gluten, it's unsuitable for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
Rye breads are made with a combination of rye flour and grains, depending on the type of bread. They're denser, darker, and have a stronger taste than regular white and wheat breads.
Rye bread is high in fiber and has an impressive nutrient profile.
That said, the exact composition depends on the amount of rye flour used, with darker rye breads containing more rye flour than lighter varieties.
On average, 1 slice (32 grams) of rye bread provides the following nutrients:
- Calories: 83
- Protein: 2.7 grams
- Carbs: 15.5 grams
- Fat: 1.1 grams
- Fiber: 1.9 grams
- Selenium: 18% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Thiamine: 11.6% of the DV
- Manganese: 11.5% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 8.2% of the DV
- Niacin: 7.6% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 7.5% of the DV
- Copper: 6.6% of the DV
- Iron: 5% of the DV
- Folate: 8.8% of the DV
Rye bread also contains small amounts of zinc, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, and other micronutrients.
Compared with regular breads, such as white and whole wheat, rye bread is typically higher in fiber and provides more micronutrients, especially B vitamins.
What's more, studies have shown that pure rye bread tends to be more filling and affects blood sugar levels to a lesser extent than white and wheat breads.
Rye bread is high in many nutrients, especially fiber and B vitamins. It may be more filling and affect blood sugar levels to a lesser extent than white or wheat breads.
Potential Health Benefits
Eating rye bread may benefit your health in several ways.
May Improve Heart Health
Adding rye bread to your diet may improve several aspects of heart health, as research has linked its intake to lower levels of heart disease risk factors.
For example, an 8-week study in 40 people compared the effects of eating 20% of their daily calories from either rye or wheat bread on blood cholesterol levels.
Researchers found that rye bread was more effective at lowering cholesterol levels in men than wheat bread and reduced total and LDL (bad) cholesterol by up to 14% and 12%, respectively.
This effect is likely due to rye bread's high soluble fiber content, a type of indigestible fiber that forms a gel-like substance in your digestive tract and can help remove cholesterol-rich bile from your blood and body.
Research has shown that regular soluble fiber intake is linked to a 5–10% reduction in both total and LDL (bad) cholesterol in as little as 4 weeks.
May Aid Blood Sugar Control
Blood sugar control is important for everyone, especially people with type 2 diabetes and those who cannot produce enough insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels.
Rye bread has several qualities that can aid blood sugar control.
For starters, it's high in soluble fiber, which helps slow the digestion and absorption of carbs and sugar through the digestive tract, leading to a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels.
Rye bread also contains phenolic compounds, such as ferulic acid and caffeic acid, which may slow the release of sugar and insulin into the bloodstream, further aiding blood sugar control.
For example, a study in 21 healthy adults found that consuming a rye-based evening meal with supplemental resistant starch helped slow the release of sugar and insulin into the bloodstream. Additionally, it raised the levels of satiety hormones, which kept people full for longer.
However, plain rye did not have a significant effect on blood sugar levels, though it did increase feelings of fullness.
Assist Digestive Health
Rye bread may help improve your digestive health in several ways.
First, it's a good source of fiber, which can help keep your bowels regular. Soluble fiber absorbs water, helping stools stay large and soft, making them easier to pass.
In fact, one study in 51 adults with constipation noted that rye bread was more effective than whole wheat bread and laxatives at treating constipation, without adverse effects.
Other studies have shown that rye bread fiber can elevate levels of short-chain fatty acids like butyrate in your bloodstream.
These short-chain fatty acids have been linked to various benefits, including weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, and protection against colon cancer.
Help You Stay Fuller for Longer
Numerous studies have shown that rye bread is incredibly filling.
This may be because it's high in soluble fiber, which can help you feel full for longer.
For example, a study in 41 participants found that those who ate whole grain rye bread felt fuller and ate fewer calories later in the day than people who ate refined wheat bread.
Other Potential Benefits
Aside from those listed above, rye bread offers some additional potential health benefits.
While they are supported by fewer studies and weaker evidence, they include the following:
- May reduce inflammation. A human study linked rye bread intake to lower markers of inflammation, such as interleukin 1 beta (IL-1β) and interleukin 6 (IL-6).
- May protect against certain cancers. In human and test-tube studies, rye intake has been linked to a reduced risk of several cancers, including prostate, colorectal, and breast cancers.
Rye bread has been linked to many potential health benefits, including weight loss, reduced inflammation, better blood sugar control, and improved heart and digestive health.
Possible Downsides of Rye Bread
Though rye bread is generally healthy, it may have some downsides, including:
- Contains antinutrients. Rye bread, especially the lighter varieties, contain phytic acid, an antinutrient that may hinder the absorption of minerals like iron and zinc from the same meal. Still, antinutrients are not a concern for people following a well-balanced diet.
- May cause bloating. Rye is high in fiber and gluten, which may cause bloating in people who are sensitive to these compounds.
- Unsuitable for a gluten-free diet. Rye bread contains gluten, making it unsuitable for people on a gluten-free diet, such as those with celiac disease.
- May be high in added sugar. In some parts of the world, rye breads are high in added sugar to enhance their taste. Added sugar is unhealthy and can add unwanted calories to your diet.
Rye bread has several potential downsides. It's unsuitable for a gluten-free diet, may cause bloating, may be high in added sugar, and contains antinutrients like phytic acid, which may affect mineral absorption.
How to Make Rye Bread
Fresh rye bread can be made at home with only a few ingredients.
The following ingredients and ratios are used to make lighter rye bread:
- 1.5 teaspoons of instant dry yeast
- 1.5 cups (375 ml) of warm water
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1.5 cups (200 grams) of rye flour
- 1.5 cups (200 grams) of wholemeal flour
- 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds (optional)
Here is a quick overview of how to make rye bread:
- Combine the yeast, salt, rye flour, wheat flour, and water in a bowl. Rye flour is quite dry, so you can add more water if the dough seems too dry. Knead it until smooth. Note that rye dough is not as springy as wheat dough.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with cling wrap, and let the dough rise until it doubles in size. This takes 1–2 hours.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and shape it into a smooth oval loaf. If you would like to add caraway seeds, add them during this step.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased loaf tin, cover with cling wrap, and let it rise until it doubles in size again, which takes another 1–2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Uncover the bread, make a few horizontal incisions with a knife, and then bake it for 30 minutes or until dark. Remove the bread and let it sit on a cooling rack for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Rye bread is easy to make at home. Simply follow the steps above and indulge in a fresh slice of homemade rye bread.
The Bottom Line
Rye bread is a great alternative to regular white and wheat breads.
Though it may cause bloating in sensitive people and some varieties may be loaded with added sugar, it may offer various benefits.
It contains more fiber and nutrients — especially B vitamins — and has been linked to health benefits, such as weight loss, better blood sugar control, and improved heart and digestive health.
What's more, it's easy to incorporate into your diet in place of regular white or wheat breads and can easily be made at home.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Tom Duszynski
The coronavirus is certainly scary, but despite the constant reporting on total cases and a climbing death toll, the reality is that the vast majority of people who come down with COVID-19 survive it. Just as the number of cases grows, so does another number: those who have recovered.
In mid-March, the number of patients in the U.S. who had officially recovered from the virus was close to zero. That number is now in the tens of thousands and is climbing every day. But recovering from COVID-19 is more complicated than simply feeling better. Recovery involves biology, epidemiology and a little bit of bureaucracy too.
How does your body fight off COVID-19?<p>Once a person is exposed the coronavirus, the body starts producing <a href="https://www.mblintl.com/products/what-are-antibodies-mbli/" target="_blank">proteins called antibodies to fight the infection</a>. As these <a href="https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/27/serological-tests-reveal-immune-coronavirus/" target="_blank">antibodies start to successfully contain the virus</a> and keep it from replicating in the body, symptoms usually begin to lessen and you start to feel better. Eventually, if all goes well, your immune system will completely destroy all of the virus in your system. A person who was infected with and survived a virus with no long-term health effects or disabilities has "recovered."</p><p>On average, a person who is infected with SARS-CoV-2 will feel ill for about seven days from the onset of symptoms. Even after symptoms disappear, there still may be small amounts of the virus in a patient's system, and they should stay <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html" target="_blank">isolated for an additional three days</a> to ensure they have truly <a href="https://health.usnews.com/conditions/articles/coronavirus-recovery-what-to-know" target="_blank">recovered and are no longer infectious</a>.</p>
What about immunity?<p>In general, once you have recovered from a viral infection, your body will keep cells called lymphocytes in your system. These cells "remember" viruses they've previously seen and can react quickly to fight them off again. If you are exposed to a virus you have already had, your antibodies will likely stop the virus before it starts causing symptoms. <a href="https://dx.doi.org/10.5114%2Fceji.2018.77390" target="_blank">You become immune</a>. This is the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK27158/" target="_blank">principle behind many vaccines</a>.</p><p>Unfortunately, immunity isn't perfect. For many viruses, like mumps, immunity can wane over time, leaving you <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160421145747.htm" target="_blank">susceptible to the virus in the future</a>. This is why you need to get revaccinated – those "booster shots" – occasionally: to prompt your immune system to make more antibodies and memory cells.</p><p>Since this coronavirus is so new, scientists still don't know whether people who recover from COVID-19 are <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/faq.html" target="_blank">immune to future infections of the virus</a>. Doctors are finding antibodies in ill and recovered patients, and <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/clinical-guidance-management-patients.html" target="_blank">that indicates the development of immunity</a>. But the question remains how long that immunity will last. Other coronaviruses like <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/jmv.25685" target="_blank">SARS and MERS produce an immune response</a> that will protect a person at least for a short time. I would suspect the same is true of SARS-CoV-2, but the research simply hasn't been done yet to say so definitively.</p>
Why have so few people officially recovered in the US?<p>This is a dangerous virus, so the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is being extremely careful when deciding what it means to recover from COVID-19. Both medical and testing criteria must be met before a person is <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/disposition-in-home-patients.html" target="_blank">officially declared recovered</a>.</p><p>Medically, a person must be fever-free without fever-reducing medications for three consecutive days. They must show an improvement in their other symptoms, including reduced coughing and shortness of breath. And it must be at least seven full days <a href="https://health.usnews.com/conditions/articles/coronavirus-recovery-what-to-know" target="_blank">since the symptoms began</a>.</p><p>In addition to those requirements, the CDC guidelines say that a person must test negative for the coronavirus twice, with the <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/care-for-someone.html" target="_blank">tests taken at least 24 hours apart</a>.</p><p>Only then, if both the symptom and testing conditions are met, is a person officially considered recovered by the CDC.</p><p>This second testing requirement is likely why there were so few official recovered cases in the U.S. until late March. Initially, there was a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/18/health/coronavirus-test-shortages-face-masks-swabs.html" target="_blank">massive shortage of testing in the U.S.</a> So while many people were certainly recovering over the last few weeks, this could not be officially confirmed. As the country enters the height of the pandemic in the coming weeks, focus is still on <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/hcp/clinical-criteria.html" target="_blank">testing those who are infected</a>, not those who have likely recovered.</p><p>Many more people are being tested now that states and private companies have begun <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/testing-in-us.html" target="_blank">producing and distributing tests</a>. As <a href="https://www.dispatch.com/news/20200406/coronavirus-in-ohio-from-its-rocky-start-testing-for-covid-19-slowly-ramping-up" target="_blank">the number of available tests increases</a> and the pandemic eventually slows in the country, more testing will be available for those who have appeared to recover. As people who have already recovered are tested, the appearance of any new infections will help researchers learn <a href="https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/24/we-need-smart-coronavirus-testing-not-just-more-testing/" target="_blank">how long immunity can be expected to last</a>.</p>
Once a person has recovered, what can they do?<p>Knowing whether or not people are immune to COVID-19 after they recover is going to determine what individuals, communities and society at large can do going forward. If scientists can show that recovered patients are immune to the coronavirus, then a person who has recovered could in theory <a href="https://www.vox.com/2020/3/30/21186822/immunity-to-covid-19-test-coronavirus-rt-pcr-antibody" target="_blank">help support the health care system</a> by caring for those who are infected.</p><p>Once communities pass the peak of the epidemic, the number of new infections will decline, while the number of <a href="https://www.newsweek.com/china-says-passed-peak-coronavirus-epidemic-covid-19-1491863" target="_blank">recovered people will increase</a>. As these trends continue, the risk of transmission will fall. Once the risk of transmission has fallen enough, community-level isolation and social distancing orders will begin to relax and businesses will start to reopen. Based on what other countries have gone through, it will be <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00154-w" target="_blank">months until the risk of transmission is low</a> in the U.S.</p><p>But before any of this can happen, the U.S. and the world need to make it through the peak of this pandemic. Social distancing works to slow the spread of infectious diseases and <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/what-you-can-do.html" target="_blank">is working for COVID-19</a>. Many people will <a href="https://www.yalemedicine.org/stories/2019-novel-coronavirus/" target="_blank">need medical help to recover</a>, and social distancing will slow this virus down and give people the best chance to do so.</p>
By Elizabeth Claire Alberts
The future for the world's oceans often looks grim. Fisheries are set to collapse by 2048, according to one study, and 8 million tons of plastic pollute the ocean every year, causing considerable damage to delicate marine ecosystems. Yet a new study in Nature offers an alternative, and more optimistic view on the ocean's future: it asserts that the entire marine environment could be substantially rebuilt by 2050, if humanity is able to step up to the challenge.
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By Zulfikar Abbany
Bread has been a source of basic nutrition for centuries, the holy trinity being wheat, maize and rice. It has also been the reason for a lot of innovation in science and technology, from millstones to microbiological investigations into a family of single-cell fungi called Saccharomyces.
Chemical leavening<p>If you like a little heft in your loaf, you will need a leavening agent.</p><p>For those short on time, you can use baking soda. That's a chemical compound of sodium bicarbonate mixed with potassium bitartrate, or cream of tartar.</p><p>Soda breads have their traditions in parts of eastern and central Europe, and in Ireland and Scotland, with Melrose loaves and "farls."</p><p>They can taste a bit bland, though, and are often considered only as an emergency solution on Sundays. No disrespect intended: They taste just fine fresh from the oven.</p><p>Whether it's chemical or more "natural," leavening relies largely on the production of carbon dioxide.</p><p>When you mix an acid, such as vinegar, buttermilk, yogurt or apple cider, with an alkaline compound like baking soda, you get CO2. That CO2 creates bubbles, which in turn capture steam in the oven and allow a bread to rise.</p><p><span></span>But it's better with yeast. Tastes better, too. It just takes more time. </p>
What is yeast?<p>There are yeasts all around us — on grains, in the air, in biofuels. It even lives inside us, but that's not always a good thing.</p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1090575/pdf/1471-2334-5-22.pdf" target="_blank">Candida yeast</a> can cause infections of the skin, feet, mouth, penis or vagina if it builds up too much in the body.</p><p>One of the most common yeasts, however, is <em>Saccharomyces cerevisiae</em>. That's <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/an-early-beer-archaeologists-tap-ground-at-worlds-oldest-brewery/a-45480731" target="_blank">"brewer's"</a> or "baker's" yeast.</p><p>You can get fresh baker's yeast, often in 42-gram (1.48-ounce) cubes, or as dried yeast (quick action or active, which requires rehydration) in a sachet of 7 grams.</p><p>There's little difference: One is compressed and the other is dehydrated and granulated. But they do the same thing, essentially. </p><p>Some commercial yeast producers add molasses and other nutrients. But natural yeast has plenty of useful nutrients in it anyway, including B group vitamins, so who knows whether it's good or necessary to add them. </p>
How does yeast work?<p>When you mix flour, yeast and water, you set off a veritable chain reaction. Enzymes in the wheat convert starch into sugar. And the yeast creates enzymes of its own to convert those sugars into a form it can absorb.</p><p>The yeast "feeds" on the sugars to create carbon dioxide and alcohol. The yeast burps and farts, releasing gases into the mix, and that creates bubbles to trap CO2. </p><p>It's a vital fermentation process that breaks down the gluten in the flour and helps make your bread more digestible.</p><p>The yeast cells split and reproduce, generating lactic and carbonic acid, raising the temperature and ultimately adding flavor to the mix.</p><p>The longer you leave the yeast to do its thing, the better for your bread. Time is more important than the amount of yeast. </p><p>In fact, that's an enduring question — how much yeast? I'll use 20 grams fresh yeast for 500 grams of flour. Others say that's enough yeast for 1 kilo. If you are converting a dry-yeast recipe to fresh yeast, some bakers advise tripling the weight. So, if a sachet of dried yeast is 7 grams, your fresh yeast is 21 grams.</p><p><span></span>But that also depends on the flours you are using, temperatures in the bowl and the room, and a host of other things. You'll just have to experiment and see. No number of books (and I've read a stack on bread) will help as much as trial and error.</p>
Wild yeast: Sourdough<p>So, good bread needs time. If you have a lot of time, why not move it up a notch and grow wild yeast — a sourdough starter — in your own home?</p><p>A sourdough starter is not to be mistaken (as it often is) for the leaven, or "mother," "sponge," or <em>levain</em>. That's more a second stage, a descendant of the starter. You take a scoop from your starter and add it to another flour and water mixture when you prepare the dough for a new loaf. </p><p>The sourdough process utilizes yeasts naturally present in flour and … yet more time. A longer fermentation process allows a richer lactic acid bacteria <em>lactobacilli</em> or LAB to evolve, and that can be healthy for your gut microbiome.</p><p>It's simple enough to start a sourdough starter. All you need is flour, warm water and time.</p><p>Some suggest equal measures of whole-grain flour and water at 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit), some say room temperature — just don't let the water exceed 40 C or the yeasts will die. Some suggest two parts flour to three parts water. But it's up to you whether you want a drier or wetter starter. You will know only through experimentation. </p><p>Some say you should filter tap water to remove chemicals like fluoride and avoid using water that's boiled and then cooled. Others say that really doesn't matter.</p><p>The main thing is, keep it clean and give it time. Days, weeks, months and years.</p>
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