I have always liked the bread. I used to eat it for breakfast with butter, at lunchtime and in the evening to accompany my meals.
However, lately, I was asked what type of bread is safe to eat without worrying about side effects.
This prompted so many questions in my head that I felt I needed to write this article.
Be careful – This article is fairly long, but if you are a bread lover like me, then read it all, as it will be an eye-opener.
What kind of bread do you like?
Do you like the regular type?
Or you’re a fan of gluten-free bread.
I really like gluten-free bread, as my cousin is allergic to gluten.
So we make sure that we get some for her. And it is not the extra mile or effort to get it like some says.
It is a pleasure for me to get gluten-free bread so that we can have lunch together and have fun too.
Many of my friends feel and think that anything besides the regular type of bread is simply a joke.
But I tend to disagree. I feel that the contribution of bread to our modern diet is something to discuss and share.
And I can tell you that I do not buy any white bread. These are full of chemicals. I prefer the brown type which is a much healthier option. And I want to add that I eat gluten-free bread.
Why am I saying this?
First, because I love bread (I think you guessed this).
Second, because an endless number of nutritionists are now highlighting the high importance of a gluten-free diet and ‘OF COURSE’ of gluten-free bread.
So the number of people avoiding gluten is growing exponentially. To be clear, the vast majority of people still think that there is no need for a gluten-free diet.
So we have two camps, the gluten-free and those who think this is a joke.
Due to these two camps, scientists have spent years researching and investigating the different grains’ effects on our bodies and therefore on our health.
Obviously, it is clear that the gluten-free population is growing and is now considered as trendy to be a gluten-free person (we all know this, WE ALL WANT TO BE DIFFERENT – and that is true).
The bread/dough question to pose ourselves is:
Why can many of us eat pizza, pasta, and dough without dreaming of having a problem?
But for others, their digestive system will reject gluten type food right after eating them.
So is gluten the real problem?
Or is there something else that’s affecting our guts and digestive system?
Not long ago, scientists have finally proven that some of us are more sensitives than others to bread (hence to gluten).
In essence, if we take the example of my cousin, she is more sensitive than me and her guts do not respond to gluten as well as I do. So this is not really an allergy, but more of an intolerance to bread.
This tells us that a portion of society has developed an intolerance to grains.
Now, let us inspect how and why grains affect our gut integrity. Let’s investigate what you can do about it too.
Let’s talk about the grain that makes bread
A grain is first and foremost a seed. And this seed is harvested when dry and hard. You know them as being barley, millet, rice, etc.
There are other types of seeds which are less known to the member of the public.
These are called pseudo-grain. A good example is the quinoa grain that comes from South America.
This grain is very healthy. It is also gaining wider acceptance and popularity with a high proportion of the North American and European populations.
Amaranth and buckwheat are less known grains. But they are also growing in popularity.
You may ask why one would like to use any of these three pseudo-grains instead of real ones? It is fairly simple. These are gluten-free.
As such they are considered safer for consumption for a number of people who have an intolerance to standard grains as we know them.
I have to say that historically grains were cultivated in the summer and then stored in a dry place so they can be consumed over the winter months.
Unfortunately, as we entered the food revolution era, we seemed to have forgotten our values.
Grains are now being processed. As such they lose their natural nutrients.
Therefore, we eat bread with almost no nutrients. This is what makes our bread bad for our health and that’s why many develop intolerance at an early age.
To make it worse, we add a lot of sugar and salt into our bread. And this makes it really bad for our health.
Here is what makes up a grain
You need to know that there are three things that make-up grain:
- Bran – It is the outer shell of the grain. (1) And this shell is really good for you. It is rich in nutrients and fiber. But it is also rich in antioxidants. Fibers are really good for your digestive system and antioxidants are of critical importance to your body in fighting free-radicals and inflammation. (2)
- Germ – Germ is the second part of the grain. It is the bits that form the inside of the grain. The Germ is another very important part of the grain. It also rich in nutrients. For instance, it contains vitamins B. It also contains proteins and fats. It is the germs that are used to sprout into new growing plants and forms new grains. (3)
- Endosperm – It is the last part of the grain. And it is rich in starchy carbohydrates. It also has some nutrients and contains a good portion of proteins. It is in the endosperms that the gluten protein is found. (4)
Now you know where the gluten comes from. It is embroiled inside the Endosperm of a grain.
What are the problems with white wheat bread?
If you go to the shop, the chance is that you’ll be tempted to buy white bread.
However, did you know that this bread is simply made from processed flour?
And when we talk about process flour, then we safely can say that the white bread you just bought has no nutrients.
So what’s in your bread? Well, it is mainly sugar. Yes, you are eating a loaf of sugar.
The issue with this type of bread is that it is processed.
And when we say processed, then we have to say that the white bread we eat will definitely weaken our intestines.
Now you know why I eat brown bread.
Are you a gluten-sensitive person?
Now let’s have a look at gluten sensitivity. Please visualize the below video to learn what it is.
Note that there are different forms of allergies and it is best that I make things clear.
There are a number of diseases that affect a number of people, which leads to them not being able to eat bread.
For instance, there are people affected by Celiac disease.
Celiac disease is a digestive condition. If you are a victim of this, then you’ll have your small intestine inflamed and unable to absorb nutrients. (5)
Some of the known symptoms of Celiac include diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating.
What is important to know is that Coeliac illness is mainly caused by an adverse reaction to gluten. So you now know why people affected by this disease cannot eat bread.
The good news is that only 1% of the worldwide population is affected by this disease. Unfortunately, I personally feel that it is still too much.
Gluten intolerance people who are not affected by Celiac syndrome form more than 10% of the world population. This is about 1 billion people.
There are quite a lot of people out there that cannot eat bread. Now you can see why the market for gluten-free pasta, bread, etc. has grown dramatically.
So if you have some of your bowels hurting you at times when you just have eating bread, you may have developed a little gluten intolerance.
So where does the word gluten come from?
The word gluten comes from the Latin language. What is weird is that it has no relation to bread at all.
In English, it means “glue”.
The reason for our ancestors to call it that way is due to the fact that gluten compound makes our bread a little the chewy.
The real problem with gluten is that we find it a bit everywhere.
If you eat ice cream, or processed sauce, processed meat such as ham, etc., then the chance is that you are eating gluten without knowing.
That’s why there are more people affected by gluten intolerance.
Without knowing, their bodies have had to deal with too much gluten from all of these food sources.
And as such their intestines are no longer able to process and deal with gluten. Too much is too much. And you develop gluten intolerance.
What is gluten intolerance?
When you develop this intolerance, it means that your immune system is trying to deal with the gluten, but it is not able to do so.
As such you get a side effect where your intestines will start hurting you.
But worse, other parts of your body can be affected.
When you eat too much process food, including gluten such as ham etc. then your body will develop inflammation.
This is where your intestines system weakens.
At this stage, what I call your intestines flora is not able to work properly.
It is the microvilli that are mainly affected. These are the small bits and pieces that form a good portion of your intestines. They are the ones that help your body to absorb your food.
How to find out if you have a gluten intolerance?
There are mainly two methods to find out if you have intolerance:
- The first one is the standard blood test.
- The second one is by using what we call an elimination diet. You just remove all of the gluten food in your diet and see if you get better. If you do get better, then you have developed gluten intolerance.
What are the signs of gluten intolerance?
There are so many signs that one can list pages of these. But the most common are listed below.
- Chronic fatigue – Many people do think that fatigue is only due to stress. Well no. So if you have this, then check up if you have gluten sensitivity. (5)
- Brain fog – This is difficult to identify, but you may feel that you are not able to concentrate or focus on things. If so, then go and do a blood checkup. (6)
- Digestion problems: you may have chronic constipation, or quite often diarrhea. You may also have a lot of gas, bloating and maybe abdominal cramps and pain. This is definitely signs that you have gluten sensitivity. Reduce the quantity of bread ingestion and see what happens. (7)
- Vomiting/Nausea – This is probably the most common issue. And many women do not investigate this as they feel it is a part of their menstrual period. (8)
- Dizziness – This goes without saying that there are many factors that can lead to dizziness. But very few doctors would look into bread allergy. (9)
- Headaches – As per the observation on dizziness, very few doctors may investigate gluten sensitivity. Maybe you should suggest this to your doctor. (10)
- Mood issues – This one is again very difficult to identify. Please make a blood test. (11)
- Muscle pains – You may think you have a walk too much or ran too much, but the fact is that you have an intolerance to gluten. (12)
And the list goes on. The above are the most common symptoms. Please do a quick checkup.
Are they any other potential for bread problems?
Yes, there are a number of problems that can be associated with bread. All of these problems are on top of the above one that is related to gluten disease.
When you look at grains more closely, you’ll learn that they contain lectins and phytate.
These both compound are good and bad for you. Let me explain.
They are good because they contain some nutrients.
However, they are bad as lectins are part of a natural defense system of a plant.
This is means that lectins are also poisonous to us. If they protect the plant from sickness, then they are bound to have some negative effects on our bodies.
Lectins can, therefore, cause some harm to our intestines.
And as they are poisonous to us, they will not allow a quick repair of the damages they are causing.
Unfortunately, phytates attract and bound itself to really good nutrients. For instance, it likes to bind itself with zinc, iron, and calcium. So your guts will probably be short of these compounds.
As such your metabolism will weaken as time goes by. You can avoid this by eating gluten-free bread or reducing the amount of bread you are eating.
What do you need to buy as bread?
I think you would agree with me that eaten white bread is not good for your health. But what are the types you should aim for?
Below I provide you with 6 different types of bread that should please your body and still give you the opportunity to eat bread.
1- Whole grain gluten-free bread
Yes, I like gluten-free bread and would suggest you try it. Especially the whole grain one.
One piece of advice is that you should check if the bread is not produced from processed food.
For instance, I would not buy potato starch flour type bread. The reason is that potato starch flour goes through a processing factory. So you’ll not benefit from any nutrients in this case.
I would say you are best to buy quinoa or buckwheat gluten-free bread. You can also buy the brown rice bread from Camargue in South France. It is delicious. Or alternatively, aim for amaranth or millet bread.
2- Whole grain sprouted bread
This bread is fantastic. It is delicious and very healthy for you. So, you should consider it.
I prefer the whole grain sprouted bread that the whole grain one. Try it. You’ll see for yourselves.
3- Whole grain bread
As I prefer the sprouted one, I put the whole grain in third place of my favorite bread.
What you need to remember is this: “whole grain means that the complete piece of grain is in the dough.” Sometimes, you’ll also find that the grains are in small pieces. That is fine as well.
So you get all of the advantages of the different minerals and vitamins within the grain in your body.
For instance, you’ll fill yourselves with vitamin B and all of the fibers for a better digestion process.
4- Grain-free bread
I kinda not really like this bread. Not that it is not good, but I like the grain and crunchiness of the grains.
But, it is healthy for you. So I had to add it to my list.
The idea is to use vegetable flour to make your bread. For instance, you can buy almond flour bread or even sweet potatoes bread.
If you like coconut, then there is bread that is baked out of this fruit.
It is very tasty and free of gluten while full of essential nutrients necessary for our bodies.
5- Ancient whole grain bread
Ancient grains are simply good for us. Nevertheless, they, at a time, still contain some processed ingredients.
But if you find the right baker that produce unprocessed bread, then I can tell you that eating ancient whole grain bread is really good for your health.
Now, this is where it gets a little bit confusing.
We call gluten-free bread the ones that do not use grains. But we also call ancient grain bread the ones that use quinoa, millet, amaranth, etc.
So, In reality, ancient bread consists mostly of gluten-free bread. That is only a different way of calling the bread. It is sexier nowadays to say ‘ancient bread’ than quinoa bread. It is all about perception.
Spelt, amaranth, millet, quinoa, and Kamut are some of the most popular ancient grains Some of them might contain gluten, while some of them don’t.
6- Whole Grain Sourdough
This is probably the best and healthiest bread in my view. But you’d be lucky to find a baker locally that produce it.
Sourdough bread is produced naturally. (13) The dough is nicely fermented naturally using both the lactobacilli and yeast.
As the dough ferments naturally, the bread will be full of probiotics.
And God knows how good are probiotics for your health and your guts would thank you for eating this type of bread.
You just have to go along different bakers till you find one that is baking it.
I have to say that it took ages to write this article.
But I truly hope you took the time to read it.
What I really want you to take from the above is that bread can be your friend or your enemy.
You need to understand your current status. Does your body accepts gluten or is it gluten-sensitive?
Then you take it from there.
If you are a gluten-sensitive person, then use quinoa, etc. bread. But do not go for processed bread that uses starch potatoes etc. You can eat sweet potatoes bread, potato bread, but aim for no processing type ingredient.
In my case, I often eat gluten-free bread. Though I am not gluten intolerant, eating it does provide my body a break from gluten food.
So mix and match is a good strategy if you think about it. For a couple of days, I eat gluten type of bread. And other days, I eat quinoa or other types of bread that do not contain gluten.
And when my cousin is over, we only eat gluten-free food.
Back to you
I want you to enjoy eating bread and to be sure that you are not a gluten-intolerant person.
And I am not talking about only eating, I think you should also bake your own bread. It is great and what a fantastic sense of achievement when you eat your own bread.
In this post, I have provided you with a number of critical points about what to look for in terms of gluten symptoms.
I have also given you 6 types of bread that are healthy and really good fun to eat.
I truly hope that you’ll be baking and eating the bread with your friends.
And please, do not forget, everyone you can eat gluten-free bread, but if you are sensitive to gluten then refrain from eating standard bread that you find in the shops.
If you want to find more great articles in addition to this one, just click here for amazing Omigy recipes.
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