How to Choose the Healthiest Bread

Grains are an important part of a healthy diet. They're a great source of complex carbohydrates and key vitamins and minerals.

Whole grains are the healthiest grains because they're unrefined and haven't been milled or stripped of their nutrients. Whole grains can be found in single foods like brown rice, or as ingredients in products like whole wheat bread.

Whole grains are a good source of fiber and other important nutrients such as selenium, potassium and magnesium. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that whole grains make up half of your total grain consumption. To meet your whole-grain requirements, make sure to consume a variety of breads, pastas and cereals.

More: The Whole Truth About Grains

Bread Buying Guidelines

Although carbs can sometimes get a bad rep, bread can absolutely be a part of a healthy diet. The key is to learn which breads to choose, which isn't always an easy task.

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With so many products on the market it's easy for consumers to get confused. The best way to find healthy bread is to look at the nutrition label.The ingredients appear in descending order based on volume. This means the first ingredient on the list is the most prevalent. Therefore, the first ingredient in whole-grain bread should be whole grain.

Look for breads that contain whole-wheat flour or 100-percent whole-wheat flour. This means the bread has no refined white flour. The ingredient list should not include wheat flour, enriched bleached flour, unbleached wheat flour, multi-grain or stone-ground wheat flour. Just because the bread is brown and has the word wheat on the package doesn't necessarily mean it's a healthy, high-fiber, whole-grain choice.

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