Bread is a valuable source of nutrients, such as proteins, complex carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, and dietary fibre. Most of the fibre in the bread comes from whole grain. Dietary fibre in bread does not dissolve in water, and it is not digested by the body, hence it does not increase the energetic value of the product. When combined with liquids it swells in the stomach, making us feel full faster and for longer. It also facilitates the digestion of other consumed foods, and supports proper bowel movement by accelerating gastrointestinal motility and the passage of contents through the digestive tract. In this way it greatly contributes to removing all kinds of toxins, impurities and intestinal backlog from the body. The complex carbohydrates contained in cereal products provide the body with a steady supply of valuable energy. A slower breakdown of carbohydrates lowers blood glucose levels and insulin requirements, which helps prevent the accumulation of body fat. An appropriate amount of whole grains and fibre in our daily diet facilitates weight loss and helps us maintain a healthy weight.
Nutritionists recommend eating 30–40 g of fibre per day, while on average we consume only 15 g daily. The main sources of fibre in our diet are cereal products, especially whole grain and sourdough bread, which can cover up to 57% of our demand for this ingredient, and as much as 20–25% of our daily protein requirement. The carbohydrates in cereal products, including bread, play an important role in the proper functioning of the brain and the nervous system. Almost 90% of the energy used by the brain comes from glucose, which is mostly obtained from complex carbohydrates, also contained in bread. Hence, from a nutritional point of view, cereal products are necessary for the proper functioning of the brain. Good quality bread provides significant amounts of iron, copper, zinc, magnesium and manganese.
Cereal products are a particularly rich source of B vitamins. Grains contain substantial amounts of vitamin B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), PP (niacin) and vitamin E (tocopherol), which is why a 500–600 g daily portion of wholemeal wheat bread fully meets our body’s requirement for vitamin B1 and PP, as well as about 50% of our vitamin B2 requirement Consumption of wholegrain cereal products reduces the absorption of cholesterol and triglycerides, lowers blood pressure, facilitates the development of beneficial intestinal bacteria, and also helps prevent gastrointestinal cancer. It has been proven that increasing fibre intake by 10 grams in three meals a day reduces the risk of colon cancer. Fibre derived from whole grains reduces the risk of colon cancer by as much as 18%. A healthy balanced diet should include at least six servings of cereal products rich in complex carbohydrates and fibre. At least three servings should come from whole grains.
To get the most from eating bread, good quality whole grain products and sourdough bread are your best choice.