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Bread is a carbohydrate based food product. The body derives energy from this very food group. It also happens to be one the oldest foods in the world. Consumed across the world (in different formats), bread forms a staple base for most world cuisines.

Bread is prepared by mixing flour and water to prepare dough.

This dough is then baked, steamed, fried, or baked on a hot skillet. Bread may also include other ingredients like salt, herbs, nuts, and seeds.

There are a number of different options when it comes to bread. Depending on your preferences and your cuisine of choice, you may find one of the following breads in your meals. It is important to note that the following is just a small representation of the many options available:

Healthy Options For Daily Bread Menu

White bread – White bread is the most common variety of bread. It is also the most commonly available bread type: it can be found at your local bakery, at the store and in your grandma’s oven. White bread is made from wheat flour and may or may not include other natural ingredients like nuts, seeds and herbs. White bread is the most common sandwich bread.

Whole wheat bread – Whole wheat bread is slowly gaining popularity across the world, especially with health conscious individuals. Due to its whole wheat and grain content, it provides a healthier option to white bread. Like whole wheat bread, you also have the option of multi-grain bread, again a healthy choice.

Bagel – Bagels have become a popular breakfast option today. Originally a part of Jewish cuisine, the dough for bagels is prepared and shaped in the form of a ring. This ring is first boiled and then baked. Most bagels come with added ingredients like sesame seeds, raisins, etc.

Pita bread – A Middle-Eastern bread, pits is a flat, round bread. It is prepared using flour, water, yeast and salt. It is baked at high temperature. This ensures a crusty exterior and a soft interior.

Roti/Naan – This type of bread is an integral part of Subcontinental cuisine. Prepared from ground whole wheat flour, the dough is rolled in a flat round shaped and the baked on an iron pan.  Like roti, naan is prepared using wheat flour, but it’s cooked in a clay oven.

Dumplings – Dumplings are a common feature in South-East Asian cuisine. They are either baked or steamed and may be prepared plain or with a stuffing.

Considering bread is such a dominant part of world cuisine, it does affect your health and nutrition count. The most significant aspect of bread nutrition is that it is a rich source of carbohydrate. The body breaks down these carbohydrates and transforms them into energy. There are several advantages and disadvantages to consuming bread.

Bread is a rich source of fibre. Regular consumption of whole-grain foods helps reduce the risk of heart trouble and is known to lower cholesterol levels in the body. Substitute white bread for brown bread and multi-grain bread.

The fibre content in bread is also a natural way to cure constipation. Again substituting white bread with whole-wheat bread helps relieve constipation and helps maintain healthy bowel movement on a regular basis.

It is also said that consuming carbohydrate rich foods before bedtime helps ease sleeping disorders like insomnia. Carbohydrates increase the levels of serotonin in the body. This chemical is known to lower anxiety and induce sleep.

On the flip side, carbohydrate rich foods like bread can be harmful for patients with diabetes. Carbohydrates raises blood sugar levels in the body. If you are diabetic or have a family history of diabetes, it is beneficial to limit consumption of bread in a meal.

Carbohydrates are also linked to obesity. People prone to weight gain are asked to lay off bread. Many diets also recommend cutting out bread from the meal. However, eating in moderation is the key to healthy living. Remember the rule: eat, but don’t binge, and you should be fine!  

Submitted on January 16, 2014