So why is Sourdough bread healthier than ordinary bread?
One of the most commonly asked questions I get asked is why can I digest Sourdough bread, but not ordinary commercial bread? The answer seems to be that the principal storage of phosphorus in seeds is found in the bran part of wheat and is called phytic acid. In humans, and animals with one stomach, this phytic acid inhibits enzymes which are needed for the breakdown of proteins and starch in the stomach. It is this lack of enzymes which results in digestive difficulties. Ironically, commercially produced whole grain bread, generally perceived as “healthy,” is often the worst thing a person with a wheat intolerance should eat.
Luckily we have an ally, sourdough. The wild yeast and lactobacillus in the leaven neutralise the phytic acid as the bread proves through the acidification of the dough. This prevents the effects of the phytic acid and makes the bread easier 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. Long slow fermentation of wheat can reduce phytates by up to 90% (Lopez et al 2001) 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.