You just picked up a fresh loaf of naturally leavened, organic sourdough (preferably Ben's Bread, but we won't judge if not...much). You cut or tear off a thick slab and devour excitedly, knowing that you'll likely feel pretty poorly in about a half hour...but you don't.
Is it just the excitement from enjoying something so distinctively sour, dense, and flavorful that is keeping your insides from screaming at you?
I wondered the same thing, and came upon some pretty interesting research to understand why.
In Sour Dough Bread and Health, Mark Sircus, Ac., OMD introduces us to research showing that increasing our immune system strength and function is vital in our fight against cancer and many other chronic degenerative diseases. There are many natural ways we can do so, and one such way is through the consumption of spirulina in large quantities, and more specifically - through the consumption of sourdough breads.
[Intriguing. I read on...]
Sourdough bread, specifically sourdoughs that take on a natural leavening process from their sourdough starter and a 6+ hour fermentation, are actually proven to boost your immune system and help increase healthy digestion of foods.
That might be enough, but over the long terms this has been shown to decrease risk of diabetes, obesity, Candida diseases, gluten-intolerance, and many allergic conditions - all of which contribute to conditions that cause cancer.
"These beneficial bacteria in sourdough help control candida
albicans, whereas baker’s yeast is a pro-candida organism."
So how is naturally leavened sourdough different/better than quick-risen breads?
Only when wheat gluten is properly fermented is it healthy for human consumption. When not it is potentially one of the most highly allergenic foods we eat. Compare this to soy, which also can only be considered a health food if it is fermented long enough. Correctly fermented wheat contains 18 amino acids (proteins), complex carbohydrate (a super efficient source of energy), B vitamins, iron, zinc, selenium and magnesium, and maltase.
Vanessa Kimbell, a self-proclaimed Sourdough Specialists, echoes this:
"...sourdough, and the wild yeast in the leaven, pre-digests phytic acid
[In humans, and animals with one stomach, phytic acid inhibits enzymes which are needed for the breakdown of proteins and starch in the stomach]
as the bread proves. This neutralizes the effects of the phytic acid and makes the bread easy for us to digest. These phytic acid molecules bind with other minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc, which make these important nutrients unavailable to us. The sourdough bacteria pre-digests the flour, which releases the micronutrients. This process takes place over a long slow fermentation, which gives your loaf a superior taste and texture. Sourdough bread also takes longer to digest; studies have shown that rye flour added to sourdough can help regulate blood sugar levels which helps ward off diabetes."
When looking at gluten content, we find that undigested gluten from quickly risen bread can seriously weaken the intestinal wall, having a huge effect on the tiny absorption villi in the small intestines. This is a huge contributor to the widespread incidence in society of people with problems of malabsorbtion and who are missing out on vital nutrients. We find gluten, and especially wheat gluten, implicated in malabsorbtion diseases, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, cancer, diabetes, and countless others.
"People with allergies to commercially yeasted breads may
not have the same sensitivities to naturally leavened
whole grain sourdough bread."
In addition, stone-ground wheat flour has a plethora of benefits over commercially produced white or bread flours. Because stones grind grains slowly, the endosperm, bran, and germ remain in their natural, original proportions - and therefore retain the most amount of nutrients. Additionally, the wheat germs is not exposed to excessive heat which would cause the fat from the germ to oxidize and become rancid and much of the vitamins to be destroyed. No bueno.
Read more about the health benefits of naturally leavened, whole-grain organic breads here.
When doing some investigating, I came upon a huge amount of sites and researchers touting the benefits of sourdoughs and naturally leavened breads. Here are just a few.
Wondering how to get your hands on some naturally-leavened sourdough? We can help!
(Nice plug, huh?)