Have you ever wondered about the health benefits of sourdough bread?
Sourdough is easy to digest, it’s gluten-sensitive friendly, and it has a ton of amazing nutrients inside. When you unpack the science behind sourdough, it gets really interesting!
But sourdough benefits go far beyond health. I’m so excited to go through 27 reasons why this nutritious bread, packed with beneficial bacteria, should find its way into your home.
What Is Sourdough?
The tradition of making sourdough is centuries old and traces back to ancient Egypt.
And it makes sense that it’s been around for so long since this bread is simple to make and packed with gut-friendly health benefits.
Forget commercial yeast; sourdough relies on wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria for its unique tangy taste. With just flour, water, and time, you can create a homemade starter that transforms into flavorful, crusty loaves.
If you’re comparing different types of bread, it’s easy to see why sourdough is preferable. You can’t go back to storebought white bread after you’ve tried it!
No Chemicals or Preservatives
Commercial bread products, like white, wheat, and whole grain bread, often have a laundry list of additives to help preserve and add flavor.
Sourdough has minimal ingredients – just flour, water, salt, and sourdough starter. Its unique fermentation process (which is not as complicated as it sounds) enhances the taste.
Why Sourdough Bread?
In recent years, the popularity of sourdough bread has skyrocketed, mostly because of COVID-19. We were all home with nothing to do!
But along the way, we’ve discovered just how many benefits sourdough bread has.
One study reviewed 25 clinical trials and found that overall, “in studies using specific strains and fermentation conditions, significant improvements were observed in parameters related to glycemic response, satiety, or gastrointestinal comfort after bread ingestion” (“Nutritional benefits of sourdoughs: A systematic review,” 2023).
There really is something special about sourdough!
Let’s dive into all the things that make sourdough so great for you.
Practical Benefits of Sourdough Bread
1. Incredible flavor
I’d be remiss if I didn’t start out this list with just how incredible sourdough bread tastes!
Sourdough’s unique tangy flavor comes from the microbial community in the bread. Lactic acid can contribute to a yogurt flavor, while acetic acid can add a sharper, more vinegary note.
Conventional bread has a pH level of around 6, but sourdough has a lower pH, around 3.5 to 4.5 – that’s what contributes to that sour tang.
To get a bit more technical, here’s how flavor forms in sourdough:
The types of flours you use in your dough can also contribute to added flavor (I love doing a combo of bread flour, rye flour, and whole wheat flour).
If you haven’t tasted sourdough, you’re in for a real treat.
While there is a time investment, monetarily speaking, sourdough is very inexpensive to make. It’s fun to have all the cool sourdough equipment, but you don’t need it to create an amazing loaf of bread.
Sourdough ingredients are only water, flour, salt, and sourdough starter. You can make a sourdough starter with flour, water, and time, but I highly recommend buying it from a local baker or seeing if a friend will give you some. That shouldn’t cost you more than $10-$20.
For me, the cost of feeding my starter and baking two loaves of bread per week is less than $5. And I also get to make all kinds of fun recipes with my sourdough discard!
3. Great protection against spoilage
Sourdough bread doesn’t spoil as fast as bread made with commercial yeast.
Thanks to the acidic environment, there’s a huge reduction in the development of harmful microbes, which means your bread won’t mold nearly as fast as other fresh breads.
In my experience, a loaf of sourdough can be stored on the counter for at least five days before it starts developing any signs of mold. And remember – this is bread with NO preservatives in it!
4. Less likely to go stale
In addition to having great protection against spoiling, sourdough bread is far less likely to go stale.
That’s thanks to the decomposition of starch during lactic acid fermentation. It’s all a bit scientific, but the end result is bread that lasts! And if you’re going through all the effort to make a loaf, that’s a practical benefit.
5. Sustainable alternative
Buying bread from the store comes with all the packaging, likely including plastic.
When you bake your own sourdough bread at home, you cut out all that unnecessary packaging. Plus, you avoid all the chemicals and preservatives!
6. Customizable recipes
One of the coolest parts of maintaining my own sourdough starter is that I can make bread and recipes that you literally cannot buy.
Sourdough bagels with asiago everything seasoning? Uhh, yes! Sourdough chocolate chip scones? Mmm.
Sourdough bread made with a combination of different flours, honed down until it’s exactly how I like it? Definitely.
Sourdough is completely customizable, and you are in total control.
Nutritional Value of Sourdough Bread
7. Digestive friendliness
Sourdough bread can be easy to digest for many people.
According to a study on sourdough microbiomes, the lactic acid bacteria in sourdough is incredibly beneficial to our digestive system. This is because of lactic acid bacteria and yeast.
The combination creates a digestive-friendly environment that helps break down proteins, starches, and fats, making it a great choice for digestive well-being.
8. B Vitamins
A loaf of sourdough includes a lineup of B vitamins, like B1, B2, and B6. These vitamins make sure your body’s metabolism runs smoothly.
So if you’re at the grocery store deciding between whole wheat, rye, or sourdough bread, remember that choosing sourdough includes the B vitamins your body needs.
9. Gluten-sensitive friendly
Sourdough bread might be a friendlier option for those with a gluten sensitivity.
The special fermentation process gives gluten a bit of a pre-digestion, making it easier on the stomach.
According to this study, sourdough fermentation significantly decreased the gluten content in bread. So, if you’ve been feeling uneasy with regular bread, give sourdough a try as a tastier and more digestible choice for you.
Some people with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance can tolerate sourdough bread if it goes through a longer fermentation (“Sourdough Microbiome Comparison and Benefits,” 2021).
10. Microbiome support
Think of a slice of sourdough as superhero fuel for your stomach. When you enjoy sourdough, you’re giving a boost to the good bacteria in your gut.
Sourdough bread is easier to digest compared to bread with baker’s yeast. Lactic acid bacteria and wild yeast in sourdough help break down tricky things in grains, making it gentler on your digestion.
Sourdough fermentation even creates something called prebiotics, a special fiber that feeds your gut good bacteria, making your stomach happy.
Physical Well-Being Benefits of Sourdough Bread
11. Sustained energy
Sourdough bread is your go-to for sustained energy.
Each loaf has a slow release of carbohydrates, so you get steady energy after eating it. This not only keeps you energized but also supports a healthy metabolism.
12. Joint health
Did you know that sourdough can be a friend to your joints?
It’s all thanks to the magic of fermented grains. These grains, transformed during the sourdough process, have a role in calming inflammation.
Savoring a delicious slice isn’t just for your taste buds. Each bite also means less inflammation in your joints.
13. Nutrient-packed choice
Sourdough bread is a nutritional powerhouse. Each slice provides a valuable source of nourishment.
From B vitamins that fuel energy production to essential minerals supporting various bodily functions, sourdough bread is a smart choice.
Picking sourdough instead of other bread products means your body receives the nutritional support it needs.
14. Healthy skin
Nourishing your skin from within can start with a loaf of sourdough.
Brimming with probiotics and essential nutrients, each bite contributes to promoting healthy skin.
Probiotics, the friendly bacteria, work from the inside out, maintaining a balanced environment that reflects on your skin’s well-being. The nutrients in sourdough support skin health by providing the building blocks necessary for a healthy complexion.
15. Gut-immune connection
Sourdough, thanks to its special fermentation process, introduces beneficial bacteria and yeasts.
These microbes create an environment in your gut that supports good bacteria, contributing to overall gut health.
As a result, choosing sourdough isn’t just about taste; it’s a flavorful step towards nurturing a well-balanced gut, which supports a robust immune system.
Cardiovascular Wellness Benefits of Sourdough Bread
16. Weight support
Besides being delicious, sourdough bread has a satisfying quality that keeps you full.
By curbing those hunger pangs, sourdough lends a hand in supporting your weight loss efforts. It’s not just about the numbers on the scale; it’s about feeling satisfied and nourished.
17. Heart healthy for sensitivities
For those mindful of heart inflammation and heart disease, sourdough emerges as a healthier choice.
Through a special fermentation process that pre-digests gluten, sourdough can be a gentler experience for those with wheat sensitivity. This unique characteristic may not only ease digestion but also potentially contribute to lowering inflammation, a crucial factor in heart health.
18. Blood pressure connection
Sourdough bread holds potential benefits for maintaining a healthy heart, particularly in terms of blood pressure support.
The magic lies in bioactive peptides, special compounds that may play a role in regulating blood pressure.
This not only speaks to the nutritional benefits of sourdough but also ties into its impact on the glycemic index, the measure of how quickly a food raises blood glucose levels.
Choosing sourdough becomes a flavorful and heart-smart decision.
Blood Sugar and Bone Health: How Sourdough Helps
19. Balanced blood sugar
Choosing sourdough bread supports balanced blood sugar levels because of its lower glycemic index. This means that it doesn’t cause blood sugar spikes and crashes.
Picking sourdough over other types of bread can be helpful for anyone trying to manage their blood sugar.
20. Insulin sensitivity
Sourdough has bioactive compounds which can enhance insulin sensitivity. This offers support to your body’s metabolism.
So, when you choose sourdough, you’re not just enjoying a tasty slice; you’re making an informed choice that might just benefit your insulin sensitivity, contributing to a healthier you.
21. Calcium absorption
Curious about how sourdough lends a hand to your bone health?
Through enhanced mineral absorption, particularly calcium, this bread becomes a supporter of strong and healthy bones. It’s like a nutrient ally, ensuring your body makes the most of the calcium it receives.
22. Anti-inflammatory effects
Since sourdough is a fermented food, it can introduce helpful elements that manage inflammation in your body.
These include beneficial bacteria and specific compounds that work towards keeping things balanced. It’s a simple yet flavorful step towards well-being.
Mental Health Benefits of Sourdough Bread
23. Stress relief
Baking bread is a calming experience. The simple act of kneading and waiting creates a soothing rhythm, making it a great activity for stress relief.
It’s not just about the loaf; it’s about finding calm in the kitchen!
24. Creativity and expression
Baking sourdough is the perfect blend of craft and creativity.
From experimenting with flour blends, like whole grain sourdough, to designing unique scoring patterns, each step offers a chance to infuse your personal touch.
It feels like art and is a wonderful way to express yourself.
25. Mindful focus
Baking sourdough can be a mindful escape. Careful measuring, performing stretches and folds, and waiting can create a sense of calm.
Each step demands your attention, making it a focused and soothing activity.
As you watch the dough transform, you’re not just making bread; you’re practicing mindfulness in your kitchen.
26. Community connection
Sourdough baking is often a community affair. At a farmers market, bakers trade tips and starters.
I particularly love the sourdough communities you can find online, such as on Reddit or TikTok.
They’re this little corner of the internet where you can geek out with our sourdough lovers – it’s really special!
27. Connects you to history
There’s just something about baking bread using techniques that date back centuries.
I love this passage from the book Sourdough Culture (2021), which describes the feeling perfectly:
“[…] Making any sourdough bread connects each baker to a history of sustenance and pleasure, revolution and self-sufficiency, scientific discovery and creativity that stretches back to early human settlements […].”Sourdough Culture (2021)
It makes you feel like you’re a part of something – like you’re carrying this tradition into the future.
Benefits of Sourdough Bread FAQs
What are the benefits of sourdough bread?
The benefits of sourdough bread range from a better glycemic response to helping you feel fuller to reducing inflammation in your body. But sourdough’s benefits go beyond just health – sourdough can be a stress relief, a practice in mindfulness, and a way to connect to others in your community.
What are the health benefits of sourdough bread?
The health benefits of sourdough bread include better digestion, microbiome support, balancing blood sugar, reducing inflammation, supporting your joints, and so much more. Read this full article for all 27 benefits of sourdough bread!
Is sourdough bread healthy?
Compared to conventional bread, sourdough bread is insanely healthy! The ingredient list is simple: sourdough starter, water, flour, and salt. The magic during fermentation delivers a whole host of health benefits that conventional bread could never.
Is sourdough bread gluten-free?
While sourdough bread is not technically gluten-free, people with a gluten intolerance or celiac disease have been known to tolerate it. The fermentation process pre-digests the gluten, and if you do a particularly long fermentation, the gluten levels continue to decrease.
Why is sourdough bread good for you?
In short, sourdough bread is good for you because of the lactic acid bacteria and wild yeast in the sourdough starter. These work to do all kinds of magic to the bread during fermentation, delivering a ton of health benefits that you can’t find in commercial bread.
Sourdough has so many benefits, not only for your health but also for your well-being.
To some, sourdough sounds like a laborious process that takes too long and is a lot to manage. But for those of us who have immersed ourselves in the world of sourdough, we don’t see it that way.
I always look forward to shaping my dough, and coming up with new scoring design patterns is a great creative outlet.
Sourdough is pretty incredible – not only for the amazing flavor and versatility but because it’s just so darn good for your body.
Give sourdough a try. Each delicious bite brings benefits to both your body and mind.
Further reading: Sourdough Bread for Babies: Why It’s the Best Choice