Why Sourdough Bread Is Healthier Than You Think

Sourdough bread has grown in popularity over recent years, and for good reason. As it turns out, sourdough bread is actually quite healthy. Dating back to ancient Egypt, sourdough is one of the oldest forms of leavened bread — a bread whose dough rises during the bread-making process due to a leavening agent (via Insider). Unlike other leavened breads, however, sourdough doesn't use baker's yeast to make the dough rise. Instead, it relies on a fermented mixture of water and flour containing colonies of bacteria and wild yeast, known as a "starter."

The wild yeast in the starter also produces lactic acid, which gives sourdough its unique taste and prevents it from going bad. "It's different from bread made with commercial yeast in that it takes much longer to ferment fully," Maurizio Leo, a baker and author of "The Perfect Loaf", told Insider. Maurizio goes on to add, "Additionally, the dough will have increased flavor due to the organic acids created as a byproduct of natural fermentation."

The health benefits of sourdough bread

But sourdough bread doesn't just set itself apart from other breads because of how it's made. It's also more nutritious than regular bread because the fermentation process increases levels of folates and antioxidants, which contain important vitamins and nutrients (via Healthline). Sourdough's lower phylate levels also make it easier for your body to absorb these nutrients (via Insider).

Sourdough is also easier to digest. That's largely because of the bread's fermentation process and prebiotic content. Prebiotics help improve gut health, and sourdough fermentation degrades gluten, preventing overconsumption which can lead to digestive problems in some people. Furthermore, sourdough bread may help keep your blood sugar levels stable. That's because sourdough has a lower glycemic index than other breads, making it less likely for your blood sugar to spike after eating it. This can help lower or regulate your blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. The next time you reach for a piece of bread for your morning toast, consider choosing sourdough over more highly-refined breads such as white bread.