Ezekiel Bread – A Healthier Alternative
In this increasingly health conscious age, we are becoming more aware of the potential harm caused by wheat. Of course, wheat is a significant part of many people’s diets so people are searching for a healthy alternative.
Finding a wheat free substitute for your favorite sandwiches is unfortunately impossible but that doesn’t mean you cannot find an alternative that is better for you than your normal run of the mill bread.
For those of us who love bread and let’s face it, who doesn’t – Ezekiel bread which is made with sprouted grains offers a healthier alternative to the majority of other breads.
Unlike most commercial bread products, Ezekiel bread does not contain any sugar, artificial ingredients or preservatives. Although it is lower on gluten than most other breads, it is not gluten free and it is definitely not suitable for people with severe forms of gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
Ezekiel bread is made according to ancient traditional methods of bread making that crucially involve soaking and sprouting before baking. It is made with several types of sprouted whole grain as well as legumes and occasionally seeds.
In comparison to other breads, it contains more fiber and protein as well as allowing for the increased bioavailability of vitamins and minerals.
The Importance of Sprouted Grains
The fact that Ezekiel bread is made with sprouted grains is what makes it healthier and sets it apart from the majority of commercial options. Grains and other plant products can adversely affect the lining of the gut and have a destructive effect on your digestion.
The commonly used unsprouted variety of grain are home to compounds known as anti-nutrients which bind to otherwise healthy minerals rendering the nutrients unusable by your body. And what use are minerals and vitamins when the body cannot absorb most of them?
Sprouting the grains and legumes reduces the amount of anti-nutrient compounds in the food while also significantly increasing the nutritional content and allowing for them to be digested by the body more easily.
This basically means that if you swap your normal bread for Ezekiel bread, you will be doing your health a great service. Your body will receive a greater supply of vitamins and minerals and your digestive health is also likely to benefit.
Ezekiel Bread benefits:
1) It is easier to Digest
The process of sprouting before use means that the starches in the grains are broken down and transformed into simple sugars that are digested more readily.
2) It is an Excellent Source of Proteins
Amino acids form the building blocks for proteins and there are a whopping 18 different amino acids contained in Ezekiel bread including the 9 essential amino acids.
3) You will get more Nutrients from it
When grains are sprouted, the compounds which inhibit nutrient absorption are reduced. This means that Ezekiel bread which is produced with sprouted grains and legumes offers you more usable essential minerals including iron, copper, magnesium and zinc.
Vitamins C, B and E contained in Ezekiel bread are also more readily available for your body to use in higher concentrations because the grains used are sprouted.
4) It is rich in Dietary Fiber
Ezekiel bread is made with a combination of whole grains and certain legumes which are high in healthy dietary fiber. This means that when compared to eating bread made with unsprouted grains, you will feel fuller for longer and your digestive health will benefit.
Because of this, Ezekiel bread may be a better alternative for people trying to lose weight than ordinary bread. While grains are never the best option when it comes to weight control, if you simply cannot do without your bread fix Ezekiel may at least give you a healthier option.
What are Anti-nutrients and the importance of Sprouting?
Plants may not have feelings as such but what most organisms do have is a natural instinct for survival. Most organisms have to survive to pass their genes onto the new generation and would prefer not to be eaten.
Certain plants including grains and legumes have developed an excellent system to ensure their survival. They do not possess toxins or sharp defensive thorns like some plants but they have developed anti-nutrients to deter animals from gobbling them up.
These anti-nutrients are natural substances which prevent nutrients from being properly absorbed into the body and inhibit the function of digestive enzymes. This can have a very detrimental effect on a person’s health. Many plants including soybeans are toxic when eaten raw because of their enzyme inhibitors.
While most legumes and grains are perfectly edible after they have been cooked, not all of the anti-nutrients they contain are fully eliminated. If we look at the way in which grains are prepared in the developing world, you will notice that they tend to use traditional methods of preparation like soaking and sprouting. By ensuring that they use sprouted grains, the amount of anti-nutrients they consume is greatly reduced.
Making your own Ezekiel Bread
I must admit that I am not much of a baker and have never tried it myself but a lot of people enjoy making sprouted bread at home and the recipe does not look overly challenging.
One thing to bear in mind is that you should be looking for untreated and unprocessed whole grains to use in your bread recipe.
Almost any grain can be sprouted but they need to be whole grains rather than the type which have been prepared in some way that will prevent the grain from sprouting like milling or rolling.
There are a variety of grains to choose from to make a delicious healthy bread including wheat, barley, buckwheat and brown rice. Seeds such as flaxseeds, chia and sesame seeds are also great options.
There are several steps involved in the bread making process:
- Soak your grains in a good sized bowl or other container until they have sprouted.
- Drain the grains with a strainer or cheese cloth. This is important to ensure the grains are separated properly from the soaking water.
- Dry the grains after they have sprouted and before you are ready to grind them. This can be done by baking the grains in the oven on a low temperature or they can be dehydrated instead.
- Make your flour by grinding your grains with a blender or flour grinder.
- Make your bread according to your favorite bread recipe.
The Problem with Wheat
Despite the fact that Ezekiel bread is a healthier option than other bread, you should to bear in mind that its main ingredient is still wheat.
Wheat does not agree with everybody and it is linked to a variety of common health issues. Some of the problems associated with wheat include the following:
- It contains gluten which a lot of people cannot tolerate. Gluten is associated with many digestive conditions and increases gut permeability.
- Wheat gluten has been linked to cases of autism and schizophrenia by some studies.
- Fiber from wheat might cause a vitamin D deficiency. According to studies it may make your body use up its stores of vitamin D more quickly.
- One study has linked wheat with increased cholesterol levels.
Sprouting will not totally eliminate these effects but it may reduce their impact to an extent. It is certainly a significantly healthier option than the vast majority of breads on your supermarket shelves.
As long as you are not gluten intolerant nor trying to restrict your carb intake, you may like to give Ezekiel bread a go.