6 Amazing benefits of rye bread (plus homemade rye bread recipe)
03/03/2021 / By Joanne Washburn / Comments
6 Amazing benefits of rye bread (plus homemade rye bread recipe)

Healthy breads like whole-wheat and sourdough have made a splash in the health scene over the past couple of years. But there’s one oldie-but-goodie bread that deserves a bit more love and recognition: rye bread.

As its name indicates, this bread is made from rye, a grain of a weed that initially grew hidden in wheat fields. Rye had evolved to mimic wheat to avoid detection and be resown with similar-looking wheat seeds. Thanks to rye’s high tolerance for cold temperatures, it wasn’t long before rye became a cereal crop cultivated across Europe.

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Flour made from rye is heavier and darker than other healthy flours. Naturally, it forms into a heavy and dense dark bread with a strong and earthy taste quite unlike that of regular white or whole-wheat bread.

Some rye breads may also take on a thick, sticky consistency. That’s because rye flour has less gluten than most other types of flour. Rye flour also absorbs up to eight times its weight in water.

Below are the common varieties of rye bread. They depend on the ratio of rye flour to rye grains used.

  • Light – This is made from white rye flour. White rye flour is made by grinding rye grain’s endosperm – the starchy core of the grain.
  • Dark – This variety is made from ground whole rye grains, not just the endosperm. It may sometimes be created from white rye flour mixed with cocoa powder or molasses.
  • Marbled – This version is made from light and dark rye dough rolled together.
  • Pumpernickel – Pumpernickel is a type of rye bread made from coarsely ground whole rye grains.

Take note that rye bread still contains gluten. As such, it can cause bloating and other gastrointestinal issues in people who are sensitive to gluten and those diagnosed with certain intestinal problems.

The many health benefits of rye bread

Rye is a great source of essential nutrients that support your overall health. On average, a slice of rye bread has the following nutrients:

  • Carbohydrates – 15.5 grams (g)
  • Protein – 2.7 g
  • Fiber – 1.9 g
  • Iron – 5% of the daily value (DV)
  • Folate – 8.8% of the DV
  • Niacin – 7.6% of the DV
  • Copper – 6.6% of the DV
  • Selenium – 18% of the DV
  • Thiamine – 11.6% of the DV
  • Riboflavin – 8.2% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6 – 7.5% of the DV
  • Manganese – 11.5% of the DV

On average, a slice of rye bread has more fiber and micronutrients than white or whole-wheat bread.

With such a nutrient profile, it’s no wonder rye bread has been linked to several health benefits, such as:

1. Supports healthy heart function

Keep your ticker in shape by adding rye bread to your diet. Research indicates that rye bread helps reduce your risk of heart disease. In one study, 40 people were made to get 20 percent of their daily calorie intake from either rye or wheat bread for eight weeks. Those who ate rye bread had lower levels of bad cholesterol.

The researchers suggest that rye bread’s cholesterol-lowering effect is likely due to its high fiber content. In the gut, fiber forms into a gel-like substance, picking up cholesterol as it moves along your intestine.

2. Helps control blood sugar

Keeping your blood sugar levels stable is key to diabetes prevention. Rye bread helps stabilize your blood sugar levels in many ways. For starters, the fiber in rye bread slows the absorption of sugar in your gut. Phenolic compounds in rye bread also help slow the release of sugar and insulin into your bloodstream.

3. Improves gut health

Fiber is a key nutrient for digestion, and rye bread is brimming with it. Aside from its beneficial effects on your cholesterol and blood sugar levels, fiber also keeps you regular. Passing stool is your body’s way of cleaning out the gut of everything that’s left of what you ate after the nutrients were spread throughout the body.

Plus, one study on adults with constipation also showed that rye bread was more effective than whole-wheat bread and laxatives at treating constipation.

4. Keeps you full

Eating a few slices of rye bread for breakfast can see you through until lunch. Rye bread is super filling because of its high fiber content. As such, eating rye bread as part of your diet may lead to weight loss in the long run.

5. May reduce inflammation

Some studies suggest that rye bread can reduce inflammation because of its phenolic compounds. In one study, rye bread intake was linked to fewer markers of inflammation, such as interleukin 1 beta and interleukin 6.

6. Helps prevent certain cancers

Rye bread also exhibits great potential as a cancer-fighting food because of its antioxidants. In human and test-tube studies, rye intake was linked to a lower risk of developing certain cancers, including those of the prostate, colorectal and breast.

Easy recipe for rye bread

There are few things as comforting as a loaf of homemade bread fresh out of the oven. Here’s a recipe for a loaf of light rye bread made with only five ingredients:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups rye flour
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 cups wholemeal flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Preparation:

  1. In a bowl, mix yeast, salt, rye flour, wholemeal flour and water. Rye flour is drier than most flours, so add more water if the dough seems too dry. Knead until smooth.
  2. Grease a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and cover. Leave to rise for 1–2 hours or until the dough doubles in size.
  3. Remove the dough from the bowl. Shape it into a smooth, oval loaf.
  4. Grease a loaf tin. Place the dough in the tin and cover. Let it rise for 1–2 more hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Score the dough a few times with a knife. Bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the bread from the oven and let it sit on a cooling rack for 20 minutes. Serve.

Rye bread is a rich, nutritious type of bread that boasts a wide range of health benefits, from better digestion to a lower risk of heart disease. Make rye bread part of your daily diet to reap its benefits.

Sources:

EcoWatch.com

NYTimes.com

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