Why eat whole grain bread? Breads made from whole grains rather than refined, bleached flour provide much higher quantities of nutrients and fiber. The whole grain, in this case wheat berries, consist of three nutrient-rich elements – the bran, the germ and the endosperm. The bran is the protective outer layer that is high in fiber and rich in protein. The part of the seed that sprouts is called the germ and is rich in vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. The endosperm is the inside part of the whole grain that is starchy in nature. When the whole grain is refined, the bran and germ are stripped away, leaving only the starchy white inner core of the grain. With the bran and germ removed during processing, refined white flour retains only a fraction of the nutritional value of wheat berries, losing vitamins such as B6 and E, essential minerals such as magnesium, chromium and zinc, and folic acid.
In addition to providing these important vitamins and minerals in our daily diets, whole wheat bread is also high in fiber, which is necessary for the digestive tract to behave properly and can reduce the risk of colon cancer and heart disease by as much as 20% over diets that include white flour rather than whole wheat bread. When purchasing packaged loaves of bread, always look for “whole wheat” or “whole grain” to be the first ingredient listed on the nutrition label. If it isn’t, put it back on the shelf.
Below is my list of seven local bakers who offer delicious whole grain breads. Just click on each company name to read about each bakery, types of specialty whole-grain bread, and locations of where to buy them.
• ACME Bread Company
• Grace Baking Company
• Whole Foods Market
• Il Fornaio
• La Boulanger
Celebrating National Wheat Bread Month is a great reason to try these breads and make the switch from white to whole wheat bread. For a quick, easy and healthy sandwich, cut a couple of slices of a loaf of whole grain breads from one of the above local bakers, drizzle a little balsamic vinaigrette on the bread rather than slathering on mayonnaise, spread some mustard on if you like it, layer a few slices of deli turkey breast, tomato and a green lettuce leaf. It doesn’t get much healthier and it really couldn’t be much easier than this.
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