Sprouted grain bread is made from whole grains that have begun to sprout, or germinate.
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 with bread 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, along with water, salt, and (usually) yeast (
As their name suggests, whole grain breads include the whole grain. White breads, on the other hand, contain only part of the grain. The majority of the beneficial nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals, are removed during processing.
Sprouted grain breads also use the entire grain, so in that way they are nutritionally similar to breads made using whole grain flours.
Both types of bread have essential nutrients that are missing in 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 (3).
This type of bread offers you a broader range of nutrients than bread made from whole wheat alone.
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 (
Sprouted grain bread is made using the whole grain. It’s nutritionally similar to whole grain flour breads and contains essential nutrients that aren’t in breads made with white flours.
Sprouting partially breaks down the starch in the grains, which lowers the carb content (
One older study found that sprouted grain bread had the lowest available carbs, with 34 grams (g) in a 4-ounce (oz), or 110-g, serving, compared with 44 g in a 12-grain bread (
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 (
For this reason, sprouted grain bread is an especially good choice for people living 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 (
Substituting sprouted grain bread for other types of bread may help you lose weight, if that’s a goal for you.
Sprouted grain bread is lower in carbs and calories and has less of an effect on blood sugar than other types of bread. It may even help you lose weight, if that’s a goal for you.
Compared with other types of bread, sprouted grains are higher in certain nutrients, including protein, fiber, B vitamins, and vitamin C (
The sprouting process produces more of these nutrients and also removes antinutrients, which are substances that block the absorption of nutrients.
Sprouting increases nutrients
Sprouting increases amino acids in the grains. This makes sprouted grain bread higher in protein than whole grain bread (
One serving of sprouted grain bread contains approximately 15 g of protein, compared with 11 g in 12-grain bread (
Sprouted grain bread also contains more fiber than other breads (
One 2014 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% (
What’s more, the sprouting process also leads to an increase in several key vitamins.
Older studies have shown that using 50% sprouted wheat flour in pita bread can cause its folate content to go up by over 160% (
Sprouting also increases the antioxidants vitamins C and E, as well as beta-carotene (
Sprouting decreases antinutrients
In addition to increasing nutrients, sprouting also decreases antinutrients.
Antinutrients are substances naturally found in plants. Some bind nutrients, making them resistant to digestion, while others inhibit digestive enzymes and reduce nutrient absorption.
Since antinutrients aren’t consumed in isolation, though, they aren’t as harmful when taken in with whole foods (
Cooking increases the digestibility of most grains and legumes, but it does not eliminate all antinutrients.
Phytic acid is an antinutrient that remains after cooking. It blocks the absorption of calcium, iron, and zinc (
In older studies, sprouting grains and legumes significantly decreases their phytic acid content, which improves iron absorption by up to 50% (
In one older study, sprouting wheat increased the absorption of iron by over 200% (
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 (
The sprouting process breaks down starch in the grains, making them easier to digest. This is because when broken down, they are already partially pre-digested.
What’s more, 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 (
However, these enzymes may become deactivated during a high-heat baking process. That’s why some sprouted breads are cooked at lower temperatures to preserve these enzymes.
Another substance that affects digestibility is a compound called lectin. Lectins are part of a plant’s defense mechanism.
Grains are typically high in lectins, which have been linked to leaky gut, chronic inflammation, and autoimmune disease (
As a seed sprouts, the plant metabolizes lectins. So, sprouted grains may be lower in lectins than their unsprouted counterparts (
Sprouted grain bread may be easier to digest, as sprouted grains are higher in enzymes and lower in lectins, compared with 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 received a lot of attention due to its potentially negative health effects for those who cannot digest it.
Gluten has been linked to inflammation, leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and other health conditions in some people (
Sprouting has been shown to decrease gluten content in wheat by up to 47%, which may make sprouted grains easier for the body to tolerate (
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, may be better choices for you.
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.
Sprouting grains increases several antioxidants, including vitamins C and E and beta-carotene (
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 (
Diets high in antioxidants may help protect against these diseases.
A 2014 study showed that sprouting amaranth for 78 hours increased antioxidant activity by 300–470%, levels of specific antioxidant groups called flavonoids by 213%, and phenols by 829% (
A similar study on millet showed that sprouting increased levels of flavonoids and phenols as well (
Swapping sprouted grain bread for regular bread is an easy way to get more antioxidants in your diet.
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 local farmer’s markets, health food stores, and even regular grocery stores.
Most sprouted grain breads can be found in the refrigerator or freezer section of the grocery store. Popular brands are Ezekiel 4:9 and sprouted varieties by Dave’s Killer Bread and Alvarado Street Bakery.
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 great 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.
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 offer different nutrients 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 than regular breads.
With all of its potential benefits, you may want to consider using sprouted grain bread to replace at least some of your daily grain intake.