Ezekiel bread may have a biblical name, but it’s a modern health phenomenon, and can deliver a number of excellent health benefits, including the ability to regulate blood sugar, lower blood pressure, improve digestion, eliminate allergic reactions, boost liver health, and reduce your risk of heart disease.
What is Ezekiel Bread?
Most people know how bread is made – making a wheat-flour dough and then culturing it with yeast before baking it in an oven. The vast majority of bread is made with un-sprouted grain, but that isn’t the case with Ezekiel bread. Furthermore, Ezekiel bread is usually made with four different types of grains, as well as various legumes, all of which are allowed to sprout before being processed, mixed together and baked. In recent years, Ezekiel bread and other types of “sprouted breads” contain the bran, germ, and endosperm, whereas most traditional breads only contain the endosperm, after the bran and germ have been removed.
In comparison to “white” bread, Ezekiel bread has far more protein, fiber, and minerals than traditional breads. Some people mistakenly think of Ezekiel bread as a safe gluten-free option, but the four grains used in this bread are wheat, barley, millet and spelt, all of which contain gluten except for millet. However, sprouting grains contain much lower levels of gluten, so for those with a sensitivity, rather than an intolerance, Ezekiel bread can be a much lighter option for the digestive system.
Combined with the four types of grains are two types of legumes – lentils and soybeans, which is where the majority of the protein in this bread comes from. Once all of these grains and legumes are allowed to sprout, their nutritional composition changes and the subsequent bread that can be made is much healthier than traditional options. This bread contains fewer carbohydrates and fats, and more protein, as well as high levels of certain minerals and vitamins. Ezekiel bread is the most popular type of sprouted bread, but depending on the composition of grains and legumes, it is possible to create a bread that is a “complete protein”.
Health Benefits of Ezekiel Bread
Ezekiel bread provides us with many health benefits such as regulating the blood sugar, improving digestion and enhancing the skin appearance, among others.
Regulates Blood Sugar
Due to the lower level of carbohydrates found in “sprouted breads” like this one, it has less of a quick impact on your blood sugar levels. The lower level of carbohydrates is because the grain will use the energy in the starch to actually sprout and begin to grow. Traditional white bread has high levels of empty carbs and is also supplemented by sugars, which Ezekiel bread does not contain. This means that this specialized bread will cause fewer spikes and drops in blood sugar, making it an ideal choice for people at risk of or currently dealing with diabetes.
Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Research has shown that sprouted grains are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, as well as lower blood pressure. This is likely due to the higher levels of dietary fiber found in Ezekiel bread and other sprouted varieties. This can help to lower cholesterol levels by scraping excess “bad” cholesterol and eliminating it from the body. Furthermore, the vitamin C boost that comes from a sprouted grain can help in the production of collagen, which strengthens blood vessels and arteries.
Improves Liver Function
The liver is a critical organ, but it is also vulnerable to a number of threats, including fatty liver disease. Ezekiel bread contains a lower level of fats than traditional grain-based breads, and is also associated with a healthier function of the liver, including a faster elimination of toxins.
There are higher levels of dietary fiber found in sprouted, Ezekiel bread than you have in traditional white bread, or even whole grain bread. This addition of dietary fiber means that you can optimize digestion and excretion, eliminating constipation, bloating and cramping, while also improving nutrient absorption.
Research has shown that bread made from sprouted legumes and grains can moderate the allergic response of the body, essentially signaling the immune system not to react and cause inflammation in a given area. For those who suffer from gluten intolerance or sensitivity, Ezekiel bread does contain gluten (albeit smaller amounts than in normal bread), so the anti-allergenic effects don’t extend to those people. However, the additional minerals and nutrients in this type of bread are associated with a moderated allergic response.
When grains and legumes sprout, their nutritional composition changes, and one of the increases that is seen is in the form of vitamin E. This particular vitamin is very important for skin health and appearance, and it has certain antioxidant qualities that can prevent signs of aging and moisturize the skin.
Final Word of Warning: While the healthy benefits of Ezekiel bread are clear, some people falsely believe that this is a safe alternative for people avoiding gluten due to celiac disease, wheat allergy or gluten sensitivity. While the levels of gluten are lower, due to the sprouted grains, this bread does contain gluten. However, the health benefits for those who aren’t sensitive to gluten are undeniable!