Sourdough & Health
One of the most important differences between sourdough and other bread is that the sourdough bacteria helps digest all ‘phytic acid’, a naturally occurring substance in the bran of all wholegrains. This acid inhibits the minerals in the bran from being absorbed by the body and in straight yeasted breads, about 90 percent of the phytic acid remains.
Sourdough breads naturally have a low GI (glycaemic index) of 50 or under, about half the GI of yeasted bread. This is due to the acidity of sourdough bread, which slows down the digestion of sugar in the bowel. My personal experience has been that I have stopped having any sugar/sweet cravings since I started eating my sourdough bread regularly.
Real sourdough bread has been naturally fermented, without the addition of any commercial yeast. Yeasted bread is made with dough containing fast acting commercial yeast, which many people have now become allergic to. Commercially cultivated yeast is a man-made hybridised strain of the saccharomyces yeast.
Sourdough fermentation partly pre-digests gluten, allowing some people who are sensitive to gluten to enjoy eating properly fermented sourdough breads. Please check with your health professional if you are gluten intolerant or allergic to gluten (coeliacs).
A well-known benefit of sourdough fermentation is the complex and flavoursome taste. It also has a moist crumb with very pleasant ‘chewiness’. Properly fermented sourdough bread keeps well for longer – up to 5 days or more – without going dry, stale or mouldy.