According to Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Fellow and one of the world’s leading experts on regions of the world where people live the longest (areas he called the blue zones), sourdough bread also has some important benefits for increasing longevity. . In fact, according to Buettner, sourdough bread is eaten at nearly every meal in the Blue Zone region of Ikaria, Greece. There are those for Sardinia, Italy: in the Barbagia di Seulo, in fact, a range of naturally leavened double leavened breads (including civraxiu bread And modizzosu) are served every day.
How does sourdough bread play a role in healthy aging, exactly? Read on for expert information from a registered dietician below.
Benefits of sourdough bread that increase longevity
1. Sourdough bread provides you with energy and is great for your gut microbiome
For starters (no pun intended), sourdough is a good source of carbohydrates and therefore a readily available source of energy. For the more nutrient-rich version, be sure to look for wholemeal sourdough, which will contain more fiber and energy protein than refined white flour.
What makes sourdough so unique among breads, however, is that it is considered a fermented food. Thanks to the probiotics (also called good gut bacteria) that result during the fermentation process, this food category has many microbiome balancing benefits to offer. For one, studies have shown that fermented foods like sourdough can help fight inflammation and strengthen the immune system, both of which are important parts of healthy aging. Fermented foods are also great for maintaining a healthy digestive system, improving overall gut and respiratory health, and even reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
“The role that a well-balanced gut microbiota plays in human health is large,” says Jinan Banna, RD, PhD. “Eating more fermented foods helps your digestive system absorb key vitamins and other nutrients, strengthens your body’s immune response, and offers protection from harmful pathogens. There is also research supporting the fact that sourdough can actively slow down the digestibility of starch compared to other forms of unfermented bread, which leads to a lower glycemic response and therefore to a more stable blood sugar. “
2. It can also improve your mood and mental health
We already knew that bread makes us happy, but there is a real science that supports it. This is due to what is known as the gut-brain connection. To break this down, we appeal to research published in Integrative Medicine: A Doctor’s Journal who found that our gastrointestinal system actually has its own “brain” known as the enteric nervous system (ENS). The researchers found that ENS communicates with the central nervous system (CNS), of which the brain is a part, to influence mood, cognition and mental health. The gut-brain connection is also linked via hormones and the immune system.
3. Sourdough can help your body absorb key vitamins and minerals, especially those that keep bones strong
In Sardinia, Buettner found that older people had half as many bone fractures as those in other Italian regions. Since maintaining bone strength is a key part of longevity, taking a daily dose of minerals such as magnesium, which helps regulate blood calcium, a vital nutrient for bone strength, only adds to these efforts.
“When you consume fermented foods, it becomes easier for your digestive system to absorb important minerals such as zinc, magnesium and iron which are essential for maintaining healthy bones with age. This is because the phytate present is broken down and the phytate impairs mineral absorption. “says Banna. Studies have suggested that this mineral absorption bioavailability is particularly increased after the consumption of sourdough bread. Although more research is needed, existing science suggests that sourdough improves absorption.
The same, says Banna, can be said for the bioavailability of B vitamins. “Yeast fermentation has been shown to increase the folate content in the baking process of sourdough wheat and rye bread. Fermentation can also lead to an enrichment of the riboflavin content, “she says.” But again, more research on sourdough is needed, as each appetizer is unique. “
The take away? Clearly, there are some important benefits of sourdough bread that can definitely play a role in longevity. However, as far as Banna is concerned, keep in mind that not all sourdough breads are created equal. The quality of the appetizer and the grains used to bake the bread will determine both the overall nutritional composition and the flavor of the loaf. Time also plays a role in the wholesomeness of sourdough: from the age of the sourdough (in Sardinian culture, appetizers are often shared between neighbors and families) to when it was last fed. Finally, the temperature in which a loaf ferments is crucial: a study shows that the fermentation of natural yeast at 77 degrees is ideal for developing those enzymes that stimulate the intestine.
At the end of the day, longevity aside, we will continue to enjoy the delicious flavor of sourdough bread – it’s definitely something worth living for (up to 100+ years).
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