The greatest thing since sliced bread?
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That may be how some people feel about Ezekiel bread, a whole-grain bread made from sprouted grains. It’s low calorie, full of fiber and protein and has plenty of other health benefits.
It’s been called the holy grail of breads, making it a smarter choice compared to traditional white bread.
But does Ezekiel bread really stand up to all the hype? Why is Ezekiel bread healthy?
Registered dietitian Kayla Kopp, RD, LD, explains what makes Ezekiel bread a healthy option, how to use it and how to store it.
What is Ezekiel bread?
Ezekiel bread is whole-grain bread. But unlike other whole-grain bread options out there, Ezekiel bread is made from sprouted whole grains and legumes like wheat, millet, barley, spelt, soybeans and lentils.
When these whole grains and legumes are allowed to sprout, that process changes their nutrient makeup and reduces the amount of antinutrients. Antinutrients what?
“Antinutrients can potentially be a bad thing because they can prevent certain vitamins from being absorbed by the human body. But sprouted grains contain less amounts of antinutrient,” explains Kopp. “That’s why Ezekiel bread tends to have more nutrients in it that are easily absorbed in our bodies.”
For example, raw soybeans are toxic. But once soybeans are prepared — soaking, sprouting or boiling — they’re edible.
Another thing you need to know before biting into a slice of Ezekiel bread? The taste of Ezekiel bread can take a little getting used to.
“Ezekiel bread is a little spongy because it has sprouted grains in it,” explains Kopp. “If you’re someone who naturally eats white bread, it’s an acquired taste. A slice has a bit of oats and seeds on the edges, which, in turn, may make it a little crunchier than white bread.”
You can also find Ezekiel bread in flavors like cinnamon raisin, flax sprouted, sesame sprouted and there’s also a low-sodium option.
And as Ezekiel bread contains wheat, barley and spelt — which all have gluten — if you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, you should stay away from the bread.
Is Ezekiel bread healthy?
Yes, Ezekiel bread is a healthier option than traditional white bread. Made with sprouted grains, Ezekiel bread is low in calories and full of fiber and protein, which may help lower your cholesterol and reduce inflammation. So, eating Ezekiel bread comes with a lot of positives. Let’s learn more about the benefits of Ezekiel bread.
It’s a good source of protein
When it comes to Ezekiel bread’s nutrition, there’s a lot to cheer about. For example, you’ll typically find about 5 grams of protein per slice of Ezekiel bread.
“The protein comes mostly from soybeans and lentils. Whole grains have a little bit of protein, too,” says Kopp. “But 5 grams of protein is pretty good for a piece of bread. It’s also low in carbohydrates, with about 15 grams, because it’s a thinner, smaller slice. It’s a good option for people with diabetes.”
It’s a good source of fiber
Traditional white bread doesn’t contain any fiber. But another Ezekiel bread benefit is that you’ll typically get about 3 grams of fiber per slice. It’s recommended that you get 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day.
“Fiber is an indigestible source. It helps to keep you full because it bulks up your stool and then it passes through your bowels. It’s not necessarily being absorbed and digested, which in turn helps keep you full,” says Kopp.
While we all need fiber, consuming fiber is also a good idea if you’re constipated or have diarrhea, as it can help you pass stool easier.
It’s a good source of vitamins and minerals
Ezekiel bread contains vitamins and minerals like zinc, calcium, magnesium and iron. And Ezekiel bread is pretty low in sodium — there’s even sodium-free options — which Kopp says can be good for someone who has chronic kidney disease or high blood pressure and needs to watch their salt intake.
Another thing Ezekiel bread has going for it? It contains all nine essential amino acids.
“If you’re somebody who doesn’t eat too much meat, it’s a little more difficult to get those amino acids that we need in our bodies,” notes Kopp.
It’s low calorie
If you’re someone who counts calories, you’ll be happy to know that one slice of Ezekiel bread has about 80 calories.
“The nice thing about that is you could have like two slices in a meal — and that would be totally fine, since it’s pretty low in calories,” says Kopp.
Another benefit? Ezekiel bread isn’t made with added sugar like most other types of bread.
It’s easy to digest
Part of what makes Ezekiel bread a good option is that the sprouted grains make it easier for your body to digest. It can improve your overall digestibility, as sprouting begins the process of breaking starch into sugar.
“The grains and legumes are partially broken down during the sprouting process,” explains Kopp. “So, basically, your gut has less work to do.”
It may help lower cholesterol
We already mentioned that due to its fiber content, Ezekiel bread can aid in your digestion. But if you’re watching your cholesterol, Ezekiel bread may be a great tool to have on hand.
“Fiber binds to the cholesterol in your body and helps to eliminate the cholesterol you don’t need,” says Kopp. “Also, there’s not any unhealthy fats in the bread, which in turn won’t contribute to a rise in your cholesterol.”
It may help with inflammation
Traditional white bread is considered a processed food, which means it’s been stripped of all its nutrients. But with Ezekiel bread and all its whole grain, you may find that it reduces inflammation in your body.
“Unless you have a gluten allergy, any type of whole grain product is good at reducing inflammation,” says Kopp. “That’s because there are a lot of available vitamins and nutrients in it.”
It may help balance your blood sugar
Back to fiber and all the great things it can do for your body…
“If you have diabetes, you want to choose foods that contain whole grains and have more fiber because this is going to help to slow down spikes in your blood sugar,” says Kopp.
Remember: White bread doesn’t contain fiber and is more likely to cause a blood sugar spike.
Will it help you lose weight?
“If you introduce Ezekiel bread into your diet, you’re not going to magically lose weight just because of the ingredients,” states Kopp. “But Ezekiel bread is a really good way to help keep you full thanks to its fiber and protein content.”
How to use Ezekiel bread
You can use Ezekiel bread just like you’d use other types of bread. Make a sandwich or top it with hummus and some raw vegetables. Kopp suggests pairing Ezekiel bread with a protein or a healthy fat source like avocado or an egg to create a balanced breakfast.
“You can also make a pre-workout snack with it. Top a slice with peanut butter and banana,” she adds.
One caveat when using Ezekiel bread? You need to think about how you store it.
“If you’re someone that doesn’t go through bread quickly, I recommend freezing it and then, you can easily just toast it right out of the freezer,” says Kopp.
If you reach for bread often, it may be best to keep in the refrigerator.
“That would still extend the shelf life a lot longer instead of keeping it on the counter,” she continues. “But if you have a bigger family, it’s OK to keep it on the counter as well for up to three to five days.”
Even a sealed paper bag or breadbox can help extend Ezekiel bread’s shelf life.
“Those methods prevent a lot of oxygen from getting into it. Ezekiel bread doesn’t have any preservatives to keep it as fresh,” reminds Kopp.
And you may need to adjust your budget slightly when buying Ezekiel bread, as it tends to be more expensive than white bread.
If you’re looking for ways to cut out processed foods like white bread and are seeking out a healthier alternative, Ezekiel bread may be worth trying.
“It’s the least processed bread that I have seen — there’s no added sugars and no preservatives,” reiterates Kopp. “It has a lot of good nutrients.”