Fast-made bread is one of the most destructive inclusions in our modern diet. Commercial bread is now made in 40 minutes from start to finished baked loaf and this has become normal fare. Poorly-prepared and poorly-digested wheat is the chief contributor to the current plague of gluten-intolerance, obesity, diabetes, Candida diseases and many allergenic conditions, all of which contribute to the conditions that cause cancer.
Only when wheat gluten is properly fermented is it healthy for human consumption. When it’s not, it is potentially one of the most highly allergenic foods we eat. Correctly fermented wheat contains 18 amino acids (proteins), complex carbohydrate (a super efficient source of energy), B vitamins, iron, zinc, selenium and magnesium, and maltase.
For starters, whole grain breads contain a good amount of minerals, including potassium, phosphate, magnesium and zinc. Unfortunately, absorbing these minerals is limited by the presence of Phytic Acid. Naturally fermented Sourdough can reduce the phyate content of bread by 24-50% more than commercial baker’s yeast. Sourdough dramatically improves your body’s ability to absorb these minerals.
Studies show that the lactic acid bacteria present in sourdough bread has the ability to release antioxidants during fermentation. This also increases Folate levels in the bread.
Sourdough bread is often easier to digest than bread that's fermented with artificial baker’s yeast. Researchers believe this could partly be due to sourdough bread's prebiotic content and probiotic-like properties. Prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut, while probiotics are beneficial bacteria found in certain foods and supplements. Regularly consuming both may help improve your gut health, easing digestion.
Researchers believe that sourdough fermentation may modify the structure of carb molecules. This reduces the bread's glycemic index (GI) and slows down the speed at which sugars enter the bloodstream. The GI is a measure of how a food affects blood sugar. Foods with a lower GI are less likely to produce a spike in blood sugar levels.
The fermented quality of naturally leavened bread has several healthful advantages over yeasted breads. Yeasted breads are raised very quickly by a refined yeast strain that has been isolated in a laboratory under controlled conditions.
In the process of making sourdough bread, during the rising time (called proofing), bran in the flour is broken down, releasing nutrients into the dough. In particular, the phytic acid (phytin) in grain needs to be 90% neutralized in order for the minerals, concentrated in the bran, to be absorbed by the human body.
According to the experiments done in Belgium, phytin can be neutralized by natural bacterial action and to a lesser extent, by baking. In naturally leavened bread, the combination eliminates all phytin, while in yeasted bread about 90% remains.
With sourdough bread, complex carbohydrates are broken down into more digestible simple sugars, and protein is broken down into amino acids. Enzymes develop during proofing which are not lost in baking since the center of the loaf remains at a lower temperature than the crust. It’s the fermentation, partly from lactobacillus, that makes eating good quality bread an aid to digestion of all complex carbohydrate foods including other grains, beans, and vegetables. It helps restore the functioning of the digestive tract, resulting in proper assimilation and elimination.
In a study comparing the effects of sourdough bread with commercial bread, researchers reported that sourdough bread significantly lowered serum glucose and insulin responses and gave greater satisfaction than the other bread. “It is concluded that sourdough baking and other fermentation processes may improve the nutritional features of starch,” the researchers concluded.
Sourdough bread rates a 68 on the glycaemic index as opposed to the rating of 100 by other breads. Foods that have low ratings on the glycaemic index are prominent in societies that tend to have lower incidence of diseases and unhealthy conditions that run rampant in our culture such as diabetes.
Researchers in Sweden at Lund University have noted that the fermentation process that’s involved in the creation of sourdough utilizes carbohydrates, lowering the carbohydrate level in the dough as it’s transformed to lactic acid. The result of this process means that sourdough bread can aid in ensuring that your blood glucose level remains in line, helping to guard against various diseases especially diabetes.