Starchy foods such as breads are part of a healthy balanced diet. Eating fibre-rich foods can help moderate our fat and calorie intake and play a role in weight loss and weight management. Recently, breads have been developed that have health benefits over and above their usual nutritional value.
One example is omega-3 bread made with linseeds. These are a good source of the shorter chain omega-3 fatty acids. Our bodies have some capacity to convert these into the long chain omega-3 fatty acids also found in fish oil and which have known heart health benefits.
Alternatively, some omega-3 breads contain added fish oils, which provide a source of the long chain omega-3 fatty acids.
Prebiotic breads are another new invention. Prebiotics are the indigestible components of our diets that are fermented by the bacteria in our gut, encouraging the growth of bacteria that protects against infection and improves bowel function. Studies have shown that people with low levels of ’good’ bacteria can benefit from increasing their intakes of prebiotics, such as inulin.
Bread aimed at women often contains soya and linseed, which are rich in isoflavones. Isoflavones are believed to play a role in preventing osteoporosis, while soya isoflavones can counter premenstrual stress and menopausal symptoms.
Dr Joanne Lunn is a nutrition scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation
l Each month British Baker will ask an industry expert to give their views on the latest health trends in baking