If you are a smart consumer, you know that not all items in the supermarket are worth buying. This little bit of wisdom also applies to buying bread. Not all shoppers are conscious about the quality of the product that they buy; as long as it is cheap and looks/tastes delicious, most shoppers think it is worth putting in the shopping cart. But if you are a health-conscious individual, you have to choose more carefully. Here's how to buy the best bread at the supermarket.
Look for 100% Whole Grain or 100%Whole Wheat
If you see a load of bread that says 100% whole grain or 100% whole wheat, you need not look further. There are bakery mixes that claim to be whole grain or whole wheat, but you don't know the actual percentage of the grain or wheat. Don't settle for anything less; whole wheat bread has lots of healthy fiber. It is also low in cholesterol and fat. Moreover, it contains significant amount of protein. It also has vitamins and minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and other nutrients. Consuming only whole grain or whole wheat lessens your risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and strokes. It can even protect you against certain types of cancer.
Rye Bread is Not Always the Best Choice
If you look at the label closely, each slice contains unbleached enriched flour, water, and rye flour. The common rye bread contains only one gram of fiber per slice because it is not really 100% whole grain. They are not really worth your cash if they are actually low in fiber. Good bread should have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving/slice.
Choose Coarse Bread
Smooth-looking slices may look more appetizing, but they don't have much to say when it comes to nutritional value. Better go for bread with coarser texture; each slice has its nutrients packed and retained.
Say No to Sugar
There are certain flavors that require lots of sugar in the mix. These should be avoided. There are whole grain breads with lots of sugar. Check the label; if sugar is among the first four ingredients on the list, then you should look for another bread type.
Multi-grain is Only Good If It's Whole Grain
Bread that contains say, ten different grains is not good if none of those is considered whole grain. Go for something with fewer grain types as long as it's 100% whole grain or whole wheat.
Always Check Out the Serving Size
Aside from the wheat content, you should also take the serving size into consideration. Don't just rely on the size of the slices; check out the weight indicated on the label. Compare this with other breads available in the aisle.
Avoid Too Much Salt
Bread needs salt for flavor and yeast control, but it doesn't need too much. Too much sodium can make it unhealthy. Ideally, there should only be 200 milligrams or less per bread slice.
Some supermarket breads may also contain improvers that are not good for health in the long run. Therefore, it is always good practice to read labels and scrutinize the ingredients that make each bread.