Why Are Rye and Pumpernickel Breads Better for You?

Wheat breads are by far the most popular in America, but this does not make them the healthiest type of bread. Rye bread and pumpernickel bread are both highly beneficial, and often overlooked, types of bread that should be considered in any diet.

Rye and pumpernickel breads are high in nutrients and vitamins.
Credit: PaulCowan/iStock/GettyImages

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Numerous benefits are provided by rye and pumpernickel bread through their high vitamin and nutrient content, including weight loss and lowered risk of diabetes.

Read more: Is Wheat or Rye Bread Better For You?

Benefits of Rye Bread

Rye bread is a form of bread created from rye grains. It is high in nutrients and vitamins, which are beneficial to the human body when consumed in proper quantities. Though wheat tends to dominate American markets when it comes to bread, rye should not be dismissed as another health fad alternative.

There are a number of benefits of consuming rye bread over its wheat counterparts:

  • Weight loss: A February 2010 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that rye evokes a different metabolic profile in the human body when compared with whole grains, which actually aids the process of weight loss. (Note: Rye bread alone does not cause weight loss, but it does appear to aid the metabolic functions associated with weight loss, along with exercise and a balanced diet.)
  • Lowered risk of diabetes: A further study published in September 2009 in the Journal of Nutrition found eating rye bread is linked to lower insulin and improved of blood glucose levels. Endosperm rye bread and whole grain rye bed both yielded the best results in regulating lactic acid.
  • Satiety: Thanks to the high amount of bran in rye bread, it provides the feeling of being full for longer, as found by an August 2009 study published in the Journal of Nutrition. This also dampens the urge for continuous snacking. It satisfies the appetite for an extended period of time in comparison to wheat bread.
  • Reduced inflammation: For those who suffer with metabolic syndrome, a May 2008 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that rye bread has been shown to reduce inflammation that could result in a diabetes diagnosis.

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Rye porridge is suitable to eat when you start the day. A 2008 study published in the_ Journal of Food and Nutrition Research _found that rye could provide up to eight hours of hunger satisfaction after consumption.

What Is in Rye Bread?

Rye bread is rich in fiber, which can provide the body with numerous positives. The Mayo Clinic suggests that high fiber can aid with healthy bowel movements, and is also helpful in lowering cholesterol levels, the controlling of blood sugars and reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Fiber is also high in noncellulose polysaccharides, which have an exceptionally high water-binding capacity. In more simple terms: High fiber diets help the body stay feeling full for longer without reoccurring sensations of hunger throughout the day.

In addition to this, rye bread is a rich source of the mineral magnesium. Magnesium is instrumental in the maintenance of muscle health, nerve function and the regulation of healthy heart rhythm. Increased magnesium intake has also been linked to the reduced chance of fatal heart failure, and increased levels of magnesium in blood have been linked to reduced chance of sudden cardiac arrest . The magnesium in rye bread may also contribute to its link with reduced chances of developing diabetes.

The fiber from rye bread also helps to bind toxins from foods in the colon for effective elimination, which reduces the chances of gastrointestinal complications and helps the digestive process complete its functions in a more healthy manner.

Benefits of Pumpernickel Bread

Pumpernickel bread is another alternative to wheat bread that has beneficial properties.

Pumpernickel has what is known as a low glycemic load, which means less of the carbohydrates in the bread are actually absorbed by the body. You'll still get enough of the carbohydrate to be considered beneficial, but the lower absorption rate means there are ordinarily less calories in pumpernickel bread than other forms, particularly wheat bread.

In addition to this, pumpernickel bread is high in dietary fibers which help with the overall health of the digestive system, as well as being high in key vitamins and nutrients such as vitamin B, manganese and magnesium that all work together to benefit the digestive process.

This resistance to the digestive process means it passes solidly through to the colon to be broken down, so any excessive sugars are removed instead of being added to the blood. This limitation means blood sugars are kept at a healthy level, which in turn reduces the risk of developing diabetes. An April 2017 study published in the Nutrition Journal found a direct link between increased whole grain rye bread and improved blood glucose levels.

Like rye, pumpernickel bread is high in lignan content, meaning it also possesses anti-cancer properties.

Read more: What Are the Health Benefits of Pumpernickel?

Lignans and Cancer

Both rye bread and pumpernickel bread are high in lignans. Oregon State University's Linus Pauling Institute describes lignans as polyphenols found in plants, predominantly seeds, whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables.

Because rye bread is high in lignans, there is evidence to suggest it is effective in fighting cancer. A study published in 2010 in the journal_ Nutrition and Cancer_ found that daily consumption of rye bread in childhood led to half the chances of cancer in adulthood, and though this is not conclusive evidence, it certainly shows a correlation.

Another study published in October 2003 in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention, assigned 10 men with prostate cancer to two groups: one to be put on a diet with a high quantity of rye bread and the other without, to ascertain whether rye bread, in particular, was the determining factor in cancer prevention — because lignans are present in many foods

The study found that the group eating the diet with rye bread had an acceleration in the killing of cancer cells by as much as 180 percent, with a further decrease of 14 percent in prostate specific antigen levels — which indicates tumor shrinkage. Although the study was small, this evidence is significant enough to indicate the beneficial role that lignans play in cancer prevention.

However, the study did provide an enormous amount of rye bread to its subjects for the study — 15 slices a day, to be precise. This amount of bread is neither recommended nor desirable. Luckily, lignans are not only found in rye bread. Flaxseeds are also tremendously high in lignans and are theorized to be beneficial in reducing the risk of breast cancer, according to Oncology Nutrition.

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