Bread in a Healthy Diet

Don’t let the claims of fad diet promoters fool you. Nutritionists agree: Bread and grain-based foods should be part of a healthy diet.

Here are a few reasons why bread is good for you:

  • A diet rich in whole grains may reduce the risk for developing coronary heart disease, according to a 1999 study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
  • Many varieties of bread are enriched with iron and other B vitamins, including niacin, thiamin and riboflavin. Enrichment has helped to nearly eliminate nutrition-related diseases, such as beriberi, pellagra and severe nutritional anemia.
  • Commercially produced breads are enriched with folic acid, which can potentially decrease the risk of neural tube birth defects (NTDs). Because of the folic acid fortification of breads and other grain foods, NTDs have been decreased by 15 to 30 percent. Other benefits of folic acid fortification include an amazing 60 percent reduction in infant neuroblastoma, an embryonic tumor that is the most common cause of cancer-related death among children between the ages of one and four. New research is proving that folic acid also appears to help prevent heart disease as well as certain cancers, including colon cancer, the second-deadliest cancer in the United States. People on low-carb diets get almost no folic acid.
  • A study published in the October 1998 Pediatrics journal found that bread is among the top fiber sources. Bread made with yeast contributes nearly 14 percent of total fiber intake and is the largest fiber contributor for children, with white bread supplying about half that amount.
 
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