Sprouted grain bread is made from whole grains that have begun to sprout, or germinate.
However, what you might think of as a grain is really a seed. With proper moisture and warmth, whole grain seeds begin to sprout into a plant.
The sprouting process offers several nutrition benefits, compared to breads made from unsprouted grains or grain flours.
In fact, sprouting changes the nutritional profile of the grains, making their nutrients more readily available and possibly easier to digest.
Here are 7 benefits of sprouted grain bread.
Bread is typically made from flour, or ground grains.
While whole-grain breads include the whole grain, white breads contain only part of the grain. The majority of the beneficial nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins and minerals, are removed during processing.
As a result, sprouted grain breads are nutritionally similar to breads made using whole-grain flours in that they use the entire grain.
Both types of bread are superior to breads made from processed flours.
They’re both naturally higher in fiber and nutrients, though white flour is often enriched with vitamins and minerals to make up for what is lost during processing.
Additionally, sprouted grain breads often include a variety of whole grains and legumes.
For example, Ezekiel 4:9® Sprouted Whole Grain Bread is made from sprouted wheat, barley, lentils, soybeans and spelt (1).
This type of bread thus offers you a broader range of nutrients than bread made from whole wheat alone.
Furthermore, combining grains with legumes makes the protein in sprouted grain bread complete, meaning that it contains all nine essential amino acids. It’s also easier for your body to use.
Summary Sprouted grain bread is made using the whole grain. It’s nutritionally similar to whole-grain flour breads and superior to breads made with white flours.
Sprouting partially breaks down the starch in the grains, which lowers the carb content (2).
One study found that sprouted grain bread had the lowest available carbs, with 34 grams in a 4-ounce (110-gram) serving, compared to 44 grams in a 12-grain bread (3).
What’s more, due to its lower carb and higher fiber content, sprouted grain bread had the lowest glycemic index, compared to 11-grain, 12-grain, sourdough or white bread. Glycemic index is a measure of how quickly a food raises your blood sugar (3).
For this reason, sprouted grain bread is an especially good choice for people with diabetes or high blood sugar.
In addition, the grains absorb water during the sprouting process, making sprouted grains lower in calories than whole-grain flours (3).
Substituting sprouted grain bread for other types of bread could thus help you lose weight.
Summary Sprouted grain bread is lower in carbs and calories and has less of an impact on blood sugar compared to other types of bread. It may even help you lose weight.
The sprouting process produces more of these nutrients and also removes antinutrients, which are substances that block the absorption of nutrients.
Sprouting Increases Nutrients
One serving of sprouted grain bread contains approximately 15 grams of protein, compared to 11 grams in 12-grain bread (3).
One study found that sprouting brown rice for 48 hours increased its fiber content by 6.1%. Sprouting it for 96 hours increased fiber by 13.3% (8).
What’s more, the sprouting process also leads to an increase in several key vitamins.
Sprouting also increases the antioxidants vitamins C and E, as well as beta-carotene (11).
Sprouting Decreases Antinutrients
In addition to increasing nutrients, sprouting also decreases antinutrients.
Antinutrients are substances naturally found in plants that help protect them from being eaten so that the plant survives and produces offspring.
However, in your body, these antinutrients inhibit digestive enzymes and prevent nutrient absorption, including minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and zinc.
Though cooking makes most grains and legumes edible, it does not eliminate all antinutrients.
In one study, sprouting wheat increased the absorption of iron by over 200% (16).
Summary Sprouted grains are higher in several nutrients, including protein, fiber, vitamin C, folate and beta-carotene. In addition, sprouting decreases antinutrients, making the nutrients in the grains more readily available to your body.
Studies have shown that sprouting whole grains is linked to better digestibility (17).
The sprouting process breaks down starch in the grains, making them easier to digest, as they’re already partially pre-digested.
What’s more, since sprouted grains are living plants, they’re higher in enzymes than unsprouted grains, which help your body digest the food you eat. In particular, the enzymes phytase and amylase increase during sprouting (18).
However, these enzymes may become deactivated during a high-heat baking process. Therefore, some sprouted breads are cooked at lower temperatures to preserve these enzymes.
Another substance that affects digestibility is a compound called lectin. Like antinutrients, lectins are part of a plant’s defense mechanism.
As a seed sprouts, the plant metabolizes lectins. Therefore, sprouted grains may be lower in lectins compared to their unsprouted counterparts (7).
One study found that lectin levels in wheat decreased by about 50% after 34 days of sprouting (20).
Summary Sprouted grain bread may be easier to digest, as sprouted grains are higher in enzymes and lower in lectins, compared to unsprouted grains.
Gluten is the sticky protein found in wheat, barley, rye and spelt that is responsible for the chewy texture of bread.
It has recently received a lot of attention due to its potentially negative health effects.
However, sprouting does not entirely eliminate gluten. If you have celiac disease or a true gluten allergy, you should avoid sprouted grains that contain gluten.
In this case, sprouted gluten-free grains, such as rice, corn and quinoa, are better choices for you.
Summary Sprouted grain bread contains less gluten than breads made from unsprouted grains. While this may improve tolerability, people with celiac disease or an allergy to wheat should still avoid sprouted, gluten-containing grains.
Antioxidants are chemical compounds that help protect your cells from damage by counteracting free radicals, harmful molecules that lead to oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress has been linked to several chronic diseases, including diabetes, cancer and heart disease (25).
Diets high in antioxidants may help protect against these diseases.
A similar study on millet showed that sprouting increased levels of flavonoids and phenols as well (27).
Swapping sprouted grain bread for regular bread is an easy way to get more antioxidants from your diet.
Summary Sprouted grains are higher in antioxidants, which help protect against chronic diseases. Eating sprouted grain bread is an easy way to increase your consumption of these powerful compounds.
Finding sprouted grain bread is relatively easy these days. It’s available at your local farmers’ market, health food store or even a regular grocery store.
Most sprouted grain breads can be found in the refrigerator or freezer section. Popular brands are Ezekiel 4:9, Dave’s Killer Bread Sprouted Whole Grains and Alvarado Street.
Sprouted grain bread tends to be denser and heavier than breads made from flours, so if you’re looking for a fluffy white bread, it won’t fit the bill.
However, it’s perfect for making toast. You may not even notice the difference in texture once it’s toasted.
If you’d like to make your own sprouted grain bread, you can try this recipe.
Summary Sprouted grain bread can easily be substituted for regular bread, though it has a much denser texture. You can find it in stores or try making your own.
Sprouted grain breads and whole-grain breads are both better choices than white breads made from processed flours.
However, sprouted grain bread has some advantages over other whole-grain breads.
It’s lower in carbs, higher in protein and fiber and may be easier to digest.
Sprouted grain bread is also lower in gluten and antinutrients and has a lower glycemic index compared to regular breads.
With all of its potential benefits, consider using sprouted grain bread to replace at least some of your daily grain intake.