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Best Bread for Your Health

With terms like whole grain, whole wheat and multigrain, it's confusing knowing which is healthiest.

October 31st, 2011

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Healthy Bread

The bread section is the grocery market aisle many of us frequent the most. It’s also the most confusing. Faced with labels ranging from “organic whole wheat” to “seven grain” to  “flax and grains,” it’s enough to make your head spin.

But the decisions you make in this aisle affect your health, along with your risk of chronic disease, in a big way. Consider this your shopping guide to help you bag a loaf that’ll add years to your life, instead of taking away from it.

The Health Risks of White Bread

Good, old-fashioned white bread? It’s no more than an enormous sugar cube. It will shoot your blood sugar to the roof and take it back down just as quickly and steeply as it turned it up. Along for the ride is insulin (sugar’s chaperone), needed to take sugar into your cells so it can be used for energy. This roller coaster of blood sugar has been shown to increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, fatty liver, obesity and diabetes. It’s also a real beauty buster, proven to speed up the formation of wrinkles and cause your skin to look dull and lifeless. White bread is created using enriched or bleached wheat flours. These flours have had their protein and important B vitamins stripped to create a product that is sweeter and more palatable for the average consumer.

QUIZ: Are You Getting All Your Beauty Nutrients?

But this article isn’t about white bread. After all, most of us know that white bread is a questionable decision; it’s about all the other varieties where we remained confused.

The Best Breads

Whole wheat. Rye. Pumpernickel. Gluten-free. Which bread is best for your health?

The most important aspect to look for in bread choice is that it’s 100-percent whole grain. Ideally, you’ll see this percentage on the front of the packaging. If the package says “wheat” or “contains “x” number of whole grains” or even “multigrain,” chances are it’s white bread in disguise. Why go 100-percent whole grain? For starters, whole grains will provide you with a great source of fiber, which helps in the prevention of heart disease and colon cancer. Fiber also helps to keep you fuller, longer, so that you can eat less throughout the day and maintain your weight. Whole grains also retain essential B vitamins and protein as well, which means your getting nutrients needed for youthful skin as well as protein for great hair!

MORE: Start Your Eat Pretty Journey Here

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