We all love a quick fix, so we’re serving this one to you on a golden platter. By simply switching your morning avocado toast to an organic, sprouted version, you can greatly improve your health.
Bread, whether it contains 100% whole wheat or the dreaded refined white flour, is made of grains that are not easily processed by the body. This is because conventional bread can not only contain pesticides and genetically modified grains, which are toxic to the body, but because wheat is difficult for the body to break down and absorb. All forms of wheat contain a variety of proteins that are not digestible by the body’s enzymes, and contain phytic acid, the “anti-nutrient.” Phytic acid has the capacity to lock up minerals in the intestine, resulting in non-absorption and therefore deficiency. As a result, no matter what form of non-sprouted bread you choose, you are left with a food that is not beneficial to the body, and can even be harmful. This leads us to the simplest health tip for today, switching to organic, sprouted bread.
The Refined: Refined wheat, also known as white flour, is produced from wheat that has been stripped of its wheatgerm and bran. Wheatgerm and bran are the parts of the wheat that are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, and so their loss leaves a bread product void of nutrients. While they are often replaced with synthetic nutrients, this form is not easily utilized by the body, and can even be harmful. In addition, white bread has a higher gluten content, which often stresses the immune system, and leads to allergy-like reactions, headaches and constipation.
The “Whole” Grain: Whole wheat bread is not always 100% whole wheat. It often contains white flour as well, and there is no guarantee that it is even predominantly whole wheat. Therefore, while you may think you are getting the nutrients that wheatgerm and bran have to offer, it is more likely that you are left with a fraction of health benefits. On the plus side, it does contain more fiber than white bread, making it more beneficial for digestive health, cholesterol and hormone balance, but it still contains the dreaded anti-nutrients, and indigestible compounds. As always, be sure to read those labels.
The Sprouted: Sprouting wheat – a traditional method for preparing bread that has been used since ancient times – vastly improves the grain’s health benefits. To make sprouted bread, you begin by soaking the grains of wheat, rinsing them, and then allowing them to sprout. This methods increases the wheat’s nutrient profile while reducing its anti-nutrients and gluten content. In addition, sprouting breaks down the starches and enzyme inhibitors, making wheat easier to digest. Key minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc are more readily absorbed, and other nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin B and antioxidants are now available to be utilized by the body.
The Rundown: While consuming sprouted wheat bread is not for everyone since it still contains gluten, it is the best alternative for those who still want to incorporate bread into their diet. Sprouted bread products can also be found as tortillas, muffins, bagels and even hamburger buns, so the switch can be quite seamless. Remember to always purchase organic, since conventional wheat, whether sprouted, refined or whole grain, is most often genetically modified (GMO), and treated with toxic preservatives.