It's common knowledge that whole wheat bread is healthier than white bread. But what about sprouted grains? And what is sprouted grain bread, anyway?
Sprouting is a way to release all the vital nutrients stored in whole grains. Sprouting grains and seeds before baking produces living, nutrient-rich food. The flour made from these grains provides more protein, vitamins and minerals than refined flours. Sprouting also neutralizes phytic acid, a substance present in grains, which inhibits absorption of nutrients.
How does sprouted bread differ from whole wheat and white bread?
- White bread is made by removing the wheat kernel's germ and bran (where the nutrients are), grinding up only the endosperm into flour.
- Whole-wheat bread is made by grinding wheat kernels into whole-wheat flour. Whole wheat provides fiber, and naturally-occurring vitamins and proteins.
- Sprouted-grain bread is made from wheat kernels that have been sprouted, grounded and baked into bread. This process retains more of the nutrients.
What’s the nutrient bottom line?
Sprouted grains contain more protein and less fat than other breads. Sprouted grains contain about 75 percent of the carbohydrates compared to whole grains, according to an analysis by the Department of Agriculture. They also contain a little more protein, and about 40 percent of the fat of whole grains.
Sprouted grains are also easier to digest. The sprouting process almost pre-digests the starches for you by breaking them down into simple sugars.
Sprouted grains contains less gluten, which is a bonus for those who are gluten-sensitive. While not gluten free, it can be easier for slightly gluten-sensitive individuals to eat. (However, sprouted bread is not recommended for Celiac patients or those with true gluten allergies.)
If you are interested in making your own sprouted flour, here’s a recipe. However, if you're like me and tend to buy bread rather than bake your own, two good brands are Ezekiel and Food For Life. If you don’t see sprouted bread on the shelf, check the frozen organic food section, where they are often stored in freezers for freshness.
What about you? Do you prefer white, whole wheat, or sprouted bread?