What is the Best Bread for You? 

Shandra Martinez

| 3 min read

Mid adult man looking at bread in bakery section of supermarket
It’s no secret the French have elevated their daily baguette habit into a cultural symbol. But when it comes to our own melting pot, this country is not too shabby when it comes to embracing carbs in the bread family. Everyone has their favorites. This could be thick-sliced toast slathered with jam for a quick breakfast, lunchtime sandwiches galore, meats and fresh veggies stuffed into pitas and tortillas, and burgers topped with fluffy buns. But even though the body needs carbs, not all these options are good for you. What is the best kind of bread to include in a healthy diet?

Benefits of whole grains

The best breads for a healthy diet are those that include lots of whole grains. The good news is, this gives us lots of choices when we want to eat healthy. Whole-grain bread packs a big number of benefits: fiber, vitamins and nutrients. It also offers plenty of health benefits, according to research shared by the Mayo Clinic. These include:
  • Raises the body’s level of good cholesterol
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Lowers risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Lowers risk of Type 2 diabetes
  • Lowers the body’s level of bad cholesterol
  • Decreases risk of colorectal cancer
  • Creates a full feeling that helps with weight loss

Whole grains vs. other types of grains

When you’re looking for the best types of bread, select whole-grain breads for the best nutrition. Whole grains have every part of the grain – and all of the fiber and health benefits. Whole-grain bread is made from whole-grain flour. When you’re shopping for whole-grain breads in the grocery aisle, bypass all those white, pillowy-soft breads and be a label detective: Look for breads that have whole grains or whole-grain flour as the first ingredient on their list. Other ingredients you might see, but that are not quite as healthy, include:
“Enriched” grains: The nutrients are taken out, then some are put back in – but not all of them. Fiber is typically not put back in.
“Refined” grains: The grain’s germ and bran have been taken out, along with a lot of the fiber and other nutrients. A lot of white bread is made from this type of flour. Skip it and find something healthier.

The best whole-grain bread choices

With a little label-reading, you can find the healthiest breads at the grocery store. If you live near a retail bakery, ask them for options among their whole-grain breads. To help narrow your choices, Healthline put together a list of the healthiest breads. They include:
100% whole wheat. Slices of this kind of bread win the fiber award. By using the entire grain, all the nutrients are intact.
Whole-wheat sourdough. This type of sourdough made with whole grains has more fiber than traditional white sourdough. This bread is partially fermented, making it easier to digest.
Oat bread. A tasty option, look for oat bread that has a combination of oats and whole-wheat flour as the first two ingredients to ensure a good fiber content.
Sprouted whole grains. This kicks up whole grain a notch. The bread is made with grains that have started to sprout. This means they have more fiber, nutrients and protein.
Photo credit: Getty Images

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
No Personal Healthcare Advice or Other Advice
This Web site provides general educational information on health-related issues and provides access to health-related resources for the convenience of our users. This site and its health-related information and resources are not a substitute for professional medical advice or for the care that patients receive from their physicians or other health care providers.
This site and its health-related information resources are not meant to be the practice of medicine, the practice of nursing, or to carry out any professional health care advice or service in the state where you live. Nothing in this Web site is to be used for medical or nursing diagnosis or professional treatment.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other licensed health care provider. Always consult your health care provider before beginning any new treatment, or if you have any questions regarding a health condition. You should not disregard medical advice, or delay seeking medical advice, because of something you read in this site.