Over the years, we have witnessed revolutions in how food processes are transforming and with many improved production techniques, this action keeps getting more modernised and popular by the day. The food industry is very profitable and for many reasons, they will do anything to maintain the profits. Bread has been a staple that has been traced to be dated as far back as 8,000 -12,000 BC in the middle east and some parts of Africa specifically Egypt. That was where history recorded the first baking of what we know as "bread" in the form of chapatis. History says the "quern" was what was first used to grind grains that were added to water and baked/cooked around a fire. Some even believe it was until 100BC before corn tortillas came to be in Mexico when they made the first stone-grinders to mill the grains.
For a really long time, the original ingredients and formulation of what seemed to be called bread were preserved; lightly ground or split whole grains, mixed with water to form a dough, shaped and cooked around a fire. Food was whole. This continued until the bread staple went around many regions, and people began to make modifications, dangerous modifications. Heavy milling, splitting and even bleaching of the grains and flour to separate its outer covering (bran), germ and endosperm came to light. The use of the flour without the grain's germ and bran are what made the popular white bread. Shortly, other ingredients like margarine and sodium were incorporated. The milling process gave white flour a longer shelf life because the natural oils from the grains were removed along with the bran.
Funny as it is, the white bread quickly became the choice of the affluent in many western regions and they attributed the whole grain loaves of bread to be the food of the poor people. How ironic. Well, it wasn't long before they realised they were wrong and then the cost value of whole-grain loaves of bread were raised against the cheap white loaves of bread since industrialisation had made it cheaper to produce white bread.
Here, the health implications of having either whole-grain bread and those made from refined flours was already trending. Diseases like diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases, cancers in the digestive system, bloating, coronary artery diseases, beriberi, hypertension etc. were ravaging world health. Attention started shifting towards the nutritional importance of the whole grains used to make the loaves of bread (and some other foods) in the early days. So let us look at the health benefits of these foods and analyse them.
Obesity and diabetes
Many cases of obesity and diabetes have been relieved through a consistent consumption of whole plant foods. Whole grains in whole-grain bread are also responsible for this effect. The glycaemic load or glycaemic index of white bread is much higher than that of whole grain. The glycaemic index (GI) simply reveals how quickly a food type can be broken down to release its glucose content. The more processing is done on a food type, the higher its glycaemic index. This is why white bread is digested faster and quickly emptied from the stomach, leaving you hungry after a short period of eating. This rapid glucose release by white bread is what raises the risk of obesity and aggravate diabetes in diabetics.
The concept of insulin resistance which leads to diabetes is also caused by the concept of eating too many high GI foods. When a person does more processed foods (like pastries, noodles, sweets, etc.) than any whole foods, they constantly trigger the oversecretion of insulin in the body to transport that glucose into the cells. Doing this frequently will soon make the body resistant to its own digestive component, and cells may begin to fail to open up for insulin to pass. This is also supported by fats sitting just on the cell walls. Likewise, leptin which is a hormone that is released to signal satiety when we have had enough food will be redundant and the brain will no longer understand its function. This will cause a person to eat more, and they will be prone to being obese over time.
Studies have revealed how whole-grain foods, including whole-grain bread, is beneficial in reducing the risk of being diabetic. The wholeness of the grains lets glucose be released slowly and over a longer period of time. This lets a person get satiated faster with less quantity of food, and stay full for a longer period. Insulin will not be excessively needed, and signals to stop when full will be on time.
Cholesterol and heart diseases
For decades, heart disease has been the number one killer in the world. Many types of research have been able to successfully trace heart diseases to a prolonged season of high cholesterol deposits in the body. This is dietary cholesterol by the way. The ones we eat from foods like pastries which includes white bread. This cholesterol can be seen to obstruct blood pathways to and from the heart, be highly deposited around the heart muscles and even on the arterial walls in the heart itself. These dietary cholesterols are not healthy for our wellness, and they should be kept out as much as we possibly can because your body already can make just the ideal cholesterol needed for its use.
Eating whole-grain foods is a great way to do this. Whole foods contain soluble and insoluble fibres, vitamins and some healthy fats which are responsible for the quick removal of cholesterol building up in the body. Eating whole-grain bread as opposed to white ones will improve your body's health and help you stay heart-healthy.
Excess sodium consumption and its availability in the body is a major cause of hypertension. The kidney tries to balance out the sodium content, so it works rigorously and pushes blood harder against the blood vessels. This is where the pressure comes from. A high amount of sodium is found in processed foods. That will include those made with refined flours like bread because many further bleaching agents like sodium compounds as well as bromate are added to improve texture. White bread accounts for a high sodium level in adults who are over fifty years.
Whole grains and whole-grain loaves of bread in this case are a major way to reduce sodium intake and improve whole food consumption that will supply adequate nutrients and help to reduce the risk of hypertension.
Over the years organ failures and damage has been on the trend and millions of people are still adding to the statistics of this ugly killer. It is not news that the things we gave ourselves to ingest into our body has been the cause. Also, to get free from the pangs of organ damage, we need to reconsider our eating style. Whole grains have been concluded by many researchers to play protective roles against fatty liver, heart failure, liver cirrhosis, dementia, etc. The various nutrients and healthy components in the whole grains are responsible for this super benefit. It is also revealed that increased indiscriminate consumption of refined grains and their product puts you at a greater risk of organ failure.
Many researchers and studies that have followed participants for years have traced how patients who suffered from ulcers are at risk of stomach and colon cancer. Consuming more whole plant foods reduces a person's risk of developing ulcers and even colon cancer. Choosing whole-grain bread helps to prevent these diseases too. It is seen that plant food come with protective compounds that keep the stomach and gut lining protected from pro-ulcerative compounds in anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin that may erode the gut linings.
Eating whole-grain bread provides a hundred times more phytochemicals to your body than having white bread. These phytonutrients are what is responsible for protecting the stomach lining from sores and ulcer development. They also stand in as antioxidants that boost our immune system which helps protect the body against invaders. The protection promised and delivered by whole grain are seen in every part of the body.
Improved digestion and easy bowel movement
Whole grains are naturally rich in a number of vitamins and minerals that protect the digestive system, they are also rich in fibre which acts as roughages and ensures the easy movements of the bowels. Every human is expected under normal daily circumstances to pass solid waste at least once each day. That should be with ease. The inability of a person to do that daily would begin to mean that they are not having enough fibres in their daily diet. Constipation which is a popular case in people who do not eat enough fibre-rich foods is seen to be corrected with regularly eating some whole plant foods including whole grain bread. Having a free and easy bowel movement would save you from the increased risk of getting a hernia or colon cancer.
As great as we have seen whole-grain loaves of bread to be, eating them in the right portions and amount is just as important as eating them whole. It is true that a lesser amount of these whole-grain pieces of bread will fill you, but some people are just not mindful, and they may overdo it. Owning to the fact that whole-grain bread is high in calories, they are is still bread and should be eaten in its ideal portions just like other foods. Half bagel or a slice of bread makes a serving. Eating them in slices should give you the perspective of how many servings you are eating and take caution to prevent overeating too.
A major challenge that many people have with choosing whole-grain loaves is the taste. No doubts white bread which you're used to tastes sweeter than the whole-grain versions. That is because it is made from refined flour, and it has super fewer nutrients than whole-grain loaves of bread. Being value-driven, and from a standpoint of their benefit, every force in you should drive you to choose whole-grain loaves of bread or brown bread for your wellness sake.