A brown bread that is made from coarse rye flour, pumpernickel bread is considered to be healthier than white bread. This NutriNeat post provides information on the nutrition facts and health benefits of pumpernickel bread.
In the traditional German pumpernickel bread recipe, it is the chemical reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars that impart it a deep-brown color. The health benefits might not be the same in case of store-bought pumpernickel breads, where molasses and wheat flour are added.
The reason why whole grain breads are considered to be healthier than white bread is that, the former contain all the three constituents of the grain kernel. Whole grain breads contain bran, endosperm, and germ, whereas, bran and germ are removed while making white bread. As a result of the removal of bran and germ, the nutritional value of white bread gets reduced considerably.
Though some manufacturers might add vitamins or other nutrients to white bread to compensate for the loss, it still does not match up to the nutritional value of whole grain bread. A true pumpernickel bread is made from whole-grain rye flour, and definitely scores higher in terms of nutritional value than bread made from refined wheat flour.
Nutritional Information About Pumpernickel Bread
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a 100-gram serving of pumpernickel bread contains the following nutrients:
Nutrients (Value per 100 g)
Water: 37.90 g
Calories: 250 kcal
Protein: 8.70 g
Total lipid (fat): 3.10 g
Carbohydrate: 47.50 g
Dietary fiber: 6.5 g
Total sugar: 0.53 g
Calcium: 68 mg
Iron: 2.87 mg
Magnesium: 54 mg
Phosphorus: 178 mg
Potassium: 208 mg
Sodium: 596 mg
Zinc: 1.48 mg
Vitamin C: 0.0 mg
Thiamin: 0.327 mg
Riboflavin: 0.305 mg
Niacin: 3.091 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.126 mg
Folate: 134 µg
Vitamin E: 0.42 mg
Vitamin K: 0.8 µg
Total Saturated Fatty Acids: 0.437 g
Total Monounsaturated Fatty Acids: 0.932 g
Total Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: 1.237 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Is Pumpernickel Bread Healthy?
According to the USDA, one regular slice of pumpernickel bread contains 65 calories, 2.26 g of protein, 0.81 g of total fat, 12.35 g of carbohydrate, 1.7 g of fiber, and 0.14 g of total sugars. Its calorific value is less than that of white bread. Moreover, it is low in fat and free of cholesterol. If consumed in moderation, it can certainly offer several health benefits. If you have been asked to follow a gluten-free diet, then this bread is not for you. Since it is made from rye, it is not gluten-free.
◆ Improves Digestive Health
Pumpernickel bread is a very good source of dietary fiber. According to the Institute of Medicine, the recommended daily allowance of dietary fiber for men and women should be 38 g and 25 g, respectively. The best way to fulfill the body’s requirement for dietary fiber is to consume whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and nuts. So, consumption of whole grain bread is certainly a good way to increase your intake of dietary fiber.
Dietary fiber is essential for the healthy functioning of the body as it improves the digestive health. Soluble fiber attracts water and forms a gel during digestion. It slows digestion and makes us feel satiated. On the other hand, insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water. It adds bulk to the waste matter, allowing it to pass quickly from the large intestine. Dietary fiber also helps in maintaining the normal blood glucose levels. It also helps reduce the risk of coronary artery disease and diverticular disease.
◆ Maintains Blood Sugar Levels
While the glycemic load of a slice (30 g serving) of white bread is 10, the glycemic load of a slice of pumpernickel bread is 7. The glycemic index of white bread and pumpernickel bread are 71 and 56, respectively. Basically, the ‘glycemic load’ estimates the effect of the consumption of a food item on the blood sugar levels. A value below 10 is considered to be low, glycemic load between the range of 11-19 is considered to be medium, whereas a value of 20 or above is considered to be high.
Individuals who have been diagnosed with diabetes need to ensure that they consume food items that have a low glycemic load. Thus, pumpernickel bread is a healthier option as its glycemic load is low. The American Diabetics Association recommends that diabetics should opt for brands that mention whole-grain rye as the first ingredient.
◆ Helps Maintain Weight
In comparison to a slice of white bread that provides 83 calories and 15.5 g of carbohydrates, a slice of pumpernickel bread provides 65 calories and 12.35 g of carbohydrates. Thus, it is a good option for those who are trying to lose weight. The high fiber content in whole grains makes one feel fuller, which in turn helps in cutting down one’s calorie intake. It goes without saying that your ability to lose or maintain weight will depend on your lifestyle. Besides making the necessary changes in one’s diet, one also needs to stay physically active.
◆ Lowers Cholesterol Levels
First of all, pumpernickel bread doesn’t contain cholesterol. A hundred gram serving of pumpernickel bread contains 1.237 g of polyunsaturated fats, which in turn can be divided into omega-6 polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 polyunsaturated fats. These polyunsaturated fatty acids offer certain health benefits. Thus, this bread can be safely included in one’s diet. It is believed that soluble fiber present in this bread might interfere with the absorption of cholesterol, thereby lowering cholesterol levels. Studies have suggested that LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol gets reduced by about 5% when the intake of soluble fiber is increased by 5 to 10 g a day.
◆ Rich Source of Vitamins and Minerals
Pumpernickel bread is a rich source of phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, and calcium. It also contains vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, folate, and niacin. According to a study published by the ‘Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry’ in 2002, the crust of the dark pumpernickel bread had the highest antioxidant (substances that prevent damage caused by free radicals) content in comparison to various other types of bread. Pumpernickel bread also contains lignans, which is a phytonutrient with antioxidant properties. Studies suggest that this phytonutrient could help in reducing the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
On a concluding note, pumpernickel bread has numerous health benefits. All you need to do is check the nutritional information on the label to ensure that are buying whole-grain pumpernickel bread.