Recently, your Facebook feeds may have been filled with images of sourdough bread as people found their starters from the neighbors and became master bakers. Bread is a delicious comfort food, and, thankfully, also has some health benefits! Let’s delve into nutrition as it relates to sourdough bread.
Sourdough is made through fermentation of bacteria and yeast over a long period. Sourdough fermentation improves the volume, texture, flavor and nutritional value of the bread. Hundreds of different types of sourdough exist in Europe. Some strains of sourdough lactic acid bacteria can be reactivated by adding flour and water and may be used as sourdough starters.
While the nutritional content of sourdough can vary, an article on the nutritional benefits of sourdough points out several positive attributes. First, the authors mention the ability of fermentation to increase mineral bioavailability, or the ability of our body to use the minerals we consume. The article also highlights the slow starch digestibility of sourdough and low glycemic response. In addition, sourdough baking may improve the texture of gluten-free breads for celiac patients. Sourdough bread may also increase levels of bioactive compounds, but the authors note that more research is needed.
Sourdough fermentation has also been found to reduce fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAPS). Sourdough bread is a desirable low FODMAP fiber-rich product that may be used to help those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) increase fiber intake.
Another recent article discusses sourdough bread and gastrointestinal health and disease. In this review, the authors highlight several small studies that have been done on this topic. They conclude that preliminary evidence of the role of sourdough bread in managing gastrointestinal symptoms has resulted from low-quality studies. They suggest further research with larger samples.
A quick search of the USDA’s FoodData Central provides some basics on the nutrient content of 1 slice of sourdough, which contains 120 calories, 4g of protein and about 1g of fiber.
As a food with a number of positive characteristics, sourdough can make a nice addition to your diet during quarantine.
If you are interested in learning more about other types of bread I recommend as a dietitian, please feel free to check out this post.
Have questions? Comments? I would love to hear what you think below!