Bread’s Place in the European Diet
In Europe, bread has historically been an important component of everyday life and meals, but in recent years the consumption of bread has been declining across the EU. The reasons for the decrease in bread consumption are many. It is mainly due to changes in our eating and living habits: for example, far fewer people are eating breakfast in the morning, a meal that traditionally has contained bread.
The role Bread plays in maintaining a healthy lifestyle
A healthy, balanced diet is the foundation of good health, and bread can play an important part in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and healthy eating habits. Apart from being affordable, bread’s nutritional content such as minerals, vitamins, and fibres is a benefit for both children and adults.
Bread does not contain sugar and fat, but complex carbohydrates, which are vital for our body’s energy metabolism. In a healthy, balanced diet, carbohydrates should make up around 60 percent of the total energy intake. Complex carbohydrates such as bread contribute to keeping our cognitive functions performing correctly. This is particularly important because although the brain represents only 2% of our body weight, its energetic needs are incredible high (20%).
Consumption of some kinds of bread helps prevent metabolic diseases, such as metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Bread also contains most of the nutrients that are essential for life : carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins (A, B1, B2, Niacin, Folic Acid, …) and minerals (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iodine, iron and zinc). Depending on its fibre content, bread can help regulate intestinal transit and prevent colon cancer. It is recommended by cardiologists in particular as a main component of any heart-healthy diet. Its consumption helps reducing the blood urea level, strengthen the nervous system (because of vitamin B1), and fortify the muscles, thus making it especially suitable for sportsmen, children, and elderly people.
Bread enhances our food equilibrium and brings us a high rate of complex carbohydrates as well as a satiate feeling, which fatty foods do not bring. It is also crucial to note that whilst some people believe eating bread leads to weight gain, this is false. As such, bread has its place in slimming diets.
The emotional draw of Bread
For many people, eating bread is an everyday life pleasure: whether eaten with butter, jam, or honey, bread can mean happiness. The multiplicity and variety of bread also gives us the opportunity to eat it in many occasions. Whilst often eaten with butter, jam, or honey, bread actually complements many ingredients and other foodstuffs: chocolate, ham, cheese, cold meat, eggs, foie… you can prepare a sandwich with almost everything!