More of us are now getting to know just how harmful wheat flour and its products can be. This has driven a lot of us to search for healthy wheat flour substitutes for baking products like bread. One of the best alternatives is Ezekiel bread, which has grown in popularity in recent years.
This article explores Ezekiel bread and takes a look at the reasons why it may just be the healthiest bread you can buy or make today.
If you’re wondering “what the heck is Ezekiel bread?” you are not alone. This is a common question I always get when I tell friends and family about Ezekiel bread.
For starters, there is no added sugar in Ezekiel bread while most other types of bread are loaded with sugar.
The flour used to make the bread is also different. We make this type of bread using flour from sprouted whole grains, while we make most other breads with refined wheat flour. Using sprouted grains give Ezekiel bread a different nutrition profile to the others.
Also, we make Ezekiel bread using multiple whole grains and legumes, which gives it more nutrients than regular bread. The grains and legumes include:
- Grains – Wheat, Spelt, Barley, and Millet.
- Legumes – Lentils and Soybean
The ingredients are based on a bible verse, which also lends its name to the bread. It comes from Ezekiel 4:9 which reads:
“Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and fitches (spelt), and put them into one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, according to the number the days thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof.”
In addition, they only use sprouted organic grains and legumes to make the bread. However, some of the ingredients, such as wheat, spelt, and barley, are not gluten-free. Therefore, you should probably avoid Ezekiel bread if you are gluten sensitive or have celiac disease.
A sprouted grain is a one that is allowed to germinate before consumption. You can sprout grains at home, but they also do it on an industrial scale.
Sprouting tends to reduce the anti-nutrient content of raw grains and legumes. These are compounds that hinder the absorption of nutrients in the foods we eat.
Anti-nutrients can also get in the way of digestive enzymes and cause other health problems.
They are one of the reasons why raw soybeans are toxic.
Cooking also gets rid of most of the anti-nutrients, but a few remain.
The industrial processing of grains can cause problems, but we don’t see these issues in non-industrial populations.
This is because of the way they prepare their grains before eating. These communities tend to soak, ferment or sprout their grains before consumption. This significantly lowers the anti-nutrient content of the grain.
When you sprout grains, it leads to a few biochemical changes in the grain. This gives the grains a couple of benefits:
- Sprouted grains contain more beneficial nutrients
- Sprouted grains contain fewer amounts of anti-nutrients
Ezekiel bread’s unique combination of ingredients give it benefits we may not get from eating other types of breads
- It provides us with complete protein – It has a protein content that is given an 84% efficiency rating. This comparable to protein from sources like eggs and dairy.
- Easy assimilation – using sprouted grains makes the starches in Ezekiel bread easily bioavailable. Sprouting makes it easier for our bodies to assimilate the nutrients
- High in Amino Acids – It contains all the nine essential amino acids in addition to others.
- Sprouted grains are also higher in vitamin C and B vitamins like B2, B5 & B6.
- Ezekiel bread also contains more beneficial fiber than regular bread.
A sprouted grain is more nutritious
Ezekiel bread may be more nutritious than regular bread because it is made from sprouted grains.
Research suggests that the lysine (an amino acid) content of grains increase when they are sprouted (a).
A high lysine content allows our bodies to use the proteins in the grains more efficiently.
In addition, Ezekiel bread may contain higher amounts of protein because we make them with a combination of grains and legumes (b).
Plants also need energy to germinate, which they get by using some of the starch in grain. Therefore, sprouting grains reduce their carb content (e).
So, Ezekiel bread should contain more nutrients than the other types of breads… at least in theory.
A sprouted Grain contains fewer anti-nutrients
Sprouting tends to decrease the anti-nutrient content of grains and legumes. Anti-nutrients are chemical compounds that interfere with our body’s ability to absorb some nutrients from the foods we eat. Sometimes they may even be harmful:
- Grains and seeds contain enzyme inhibitors, which protects them from germinating in harsh conditions. These enzymes may also make it difficult to access the nutrients in the grain. Sprouting seems to deactivate the effects of enzyme inhibitors (f, g)
- Grains and legumes also contain phytic acid, which hinders the absorption of minerals like calcium, zinc, iron, and magnesium. Sprouting reduces the phytic acid content of grains (h).
Research also indicates that sprouting may reduce the gluten content of grains like rye, wheat, barley and spelt (i).
Using sprouted grains may make it easier for our bodies to assimilate the nutrients present in Ezekiel bread.
Despite the use of different grains and legumes, the primary grain used to make Ezekiel bread is still wheat.
This could pose a few issues because scientists have linked wheat to a few health problems. These issues include:
- Gluten intolerance – A lot of people are sensitive to gluten and try to avoid it. Gluten sensitivity may cause a few digestive problems and intestinal permeability (j, k).
- Wheat fibers may cause a deficiency in vitamin D by triggering the body to use up its vitamin D reserves too quickly (l).
- Some studies link the consumption of wheat to cases of some illnesses like schizophrenia, cerebellar ataxia, and autism (m, n, o).
- A controlled study indicated that eating whole wheat may raise the levels of LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol, total cholesterol, and other risk factors for heart disease. Looks like whole wheat may not be that heart-healthy after all (p).
Eating sprouted wheat is not going to get rid of these issues, but it may reduce their effects.
Ezekiel bread is a healthy for most people unless you are on a low-carb diet or you are gluten intolerant.
Even if you don’t believe it provides you with any health benefits, it is certainly healthier than almost any other type of bread on the market today.
At least it contains some nutrients and has fewer calories than most of the other offerings.
The nutrition profile of most types of bread is nothing to write home about. And, although Ezekiel bread is healthier and more nutritious than most breads out there, it still doesn’t have an impressive nutrition profile.
According to the makers of the most popular Ezekiel bread (Ezekiel 4:9), a single slice contains:
- Protein – 4 grams
- Carbs – 15 grams
- Fiber – 3 grams
- 8% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of phosphorus
- 8% of the RDI of thiamine (Vitamin B1)
- 6% of the RDI of magnesium
- 6% of the RDI of niacin (nicotinic acid)
A 34-gram serving of Ezekiel bread contains approximately 80 calories.
How do you store Ezekiel bread?
It is important to know how to store Ezekiel bread because it can become moldy pretty quickly. You need to freeze it if you want to prolong the shelf life, which can be as much as 3 months.
Here are a few tips to help you store Ezekiel bread to prolong its freshness:
- Get rid of the original packaging and wrap the bread in aluminum foil
- Put the wrapped loaf into a sealable freezer bag and squeeze it to get rid of excess air before sealing it.
- Store the bread in the freezer. This could prolong the shelf life for up to three months.
- You should reheat the bread in a 350°F oven for about 30 minutes before eating.
You should store any leftover bread in the fridge up to an extra week.
You can buy Ezekiel bread from several supermarkets across the United States. The internet is also full of Ezekiel bread recipes you may try making at home.
In the end, bread is still just bread, even if it is Ezekiel bread. It still has some of the issues associated with eating bread. You should probably avoid it if you want to lose weight and maintain optimal health.
But if you must eat bread, then it is certainly a much healthier bread than regular bread.