The choices in your grocery store's bread aisle range from plain white breads to multi-grain breads rich with oats, whole wheat and other grains. This type of bread is generally quite good for you, containing healthy fiber, vitamins and minerals – particularly manganese and selenium -- in a relatively low calorie and low fat package.
A 1-slice serving of multi-grain bread contains 69 calories. One slice accounts for 3.4 percent of the calories you should consume daily if you follow a 2,000 calorie diet, but two slices – the amount you commonly eat in a sandwich – represents roughly 7 percent of your total calories. Speak to a nutritionist or your physician about how many calories you should consume to meet your nutritional goals.
One serving of multi-grain bread is low in fat, with only 1.1 g. A fat intake of 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories can help you avoid weight gain. Most of the calories in a slice of bread come from carbohydrates; each serving contains 11.2 g. This quantity fulfills a low portion of your daily needs of 225 to 325 g, but the ingredients you add to this bread may increase your fat intake. You also take in 3.4 g of protein in a serving of multi-grain bread. As common bread toppings include butter, lunch meats, cheese and seafood salads, your protein consumption may be higher. You require 46 to 56 g of protein per day for optimal health.
Multi-grain bread can introduce more fiber into your diet than other types of bread. One serving of miscellaneous multi-grain bread contains 1.9 g of fiber. This is 5 to 7.6 percent of the amount you should consume each day. For additional fiber, look for bread containing quinoa. However, seeking out multi-grain breads containing rye and bran may help you if you are male. Following a small study published in the December 2010 issue of "The Journal of Nutrition," researchers theorize that the fiber in rye whole grain and bran products may decrease the progression of prostate cancer.
Include a slice of multi-grain bread in your diet, and you take in 26 percent of the daily recommended intake of manganese. The manganese in this food is critical for the production of blood-clotting factors and connective tissues as well as the regulation of blood sugar and brain function. Evidence in the September 2010 edition of "Biological Trace Elements Research" also links manganese deficiency with night blindness, although more studies are needed to confirm this possible finding. The University of Maryland Medical Center website notes that as many as 37 percent of Americans do not take in enough manganese, so consuming multi-grain bread can reduce your risk of a deficiency.
Other Vitamins and Minerals
Multi-grain provides 12 percent of the selenium you need each day per serving. You also take in 6 percent or less of thiamin, folate, vitamin B-6, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and copper. The B vitamins in this food help convert food to energy.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Bread, Multi-Grain (Includes Whole-Grain)
- MayoClinic.com; Healthy Diet: End the Guesswork With These Nutrition Guidelines; February 2011
- MayoClinic.com; Dietary Fiber: Essential For a Healthy Diet; November 2009
- "The Journal of Nutrition"; Rye Whole Grain and Bran Intake Compared With Refined Wheat Decreases Urinary C-Peptide, Plasma Insulin, and Prostate Specific Antigen in Men With Prostate Cancer; R. Landberg, et al.; December 2010
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Manganese; June 2009
- "Biological Trace Element Research"; Chromium and Manganese Levels in Biological Samples of Normal and Night Blindness Children of Age Groups (3-7) and (8-12) Years; H.I. Afridi, et al.; September 2010