It is not a simple yes or no answer as to whether wholewheat bread is healthy, as there are many factors to take into account. When using wholewheat flour, otherwise known as wholemeal or wholegrain, there is more fibre in the loaf. In the UK, few people are consuming as much fibre as is recommended and wholewheat bread is a great source of dietary fibre. The fermentation of fibre in the gut results in the formation of short chain fatty acids, which are associated with a decreased pH in the gut, resulting in the inhibition of pathogens and increased mineral bioavailability.
The way you make your bread has to be taken into account when working out how healthy your wholewheat bread is. A sourdough loaf will be healthier, as the long, slow fermentation means the body can access and use more of the fibre, vitamins and minerals contained within the loaf. A bread made with commercial yeast will be healthier with some added wholemeal flour than with 100% roller-milled white flour. However, in a 100% wholewheat yeasted bread, the phytic acid won’t have been properly degraded so can reduce the availability of some nutrients to the body. The kind of wholegrain flour you use is also incredibly important – we recommend using organic flour as wholegrain flour includes the bran on the outside of the kernel and it’s this part that will contain the highest amount of glyphosate if the grain has been sprayed with chemicals.
- Increase fibre
- Increase diversity
- Increase levels of antioxidants
- Increase probiotics in your bakes
- Reduce refined sugar
- Make lifestyle changes that support the body as a whole
Although increasing fibre is one of our principles, which can be achieved through eating wholewheat bread, it is important to make this part of the seven core principles as a whole. For example, we recommend baking with Botanical Blends to include diversity in your diet, as baking solely with just one kind of wholewheat flour is still just feeding your gut with a monoculture ingredient, rather than providing it with a whole range of nutrients. You could also try eating your wholewheat bread with cultured butter to introduce probiotics into your diet.