We have been making our rye breads for more than 25 years. Which is quite a long time in New Zealand, but not long at all when you consider the evidence of rye being farmed well before the Bronze Age! In the Middle Ages it was widely farmed domestically and Rye bread has been a staple part of the diet across Northern and Eastern Europe for many centuries.
The breads we make are typical of those found in Germany and further north to Scandianvia and east to Russia. They are dark, heavy breads, made with few ingredients and a sourdough starter which creates the rise in place of yeast.
The health benefits of rye bread have been widely studied for several decades for all sorts of reasons and there has been a lot research to support the claims that are made for it.
Rye is a rich source of fibre which makes it key to good health and weight management. The fibre in rye is rich in non-cellulosic polysaccarides which means it uses its water binding capability to expand in the body to make you feel fuller. The full feeling means that eating rye bread for breakfast and / or lunch will reduce the snacking cravings.
Being low on the Glycemic Index means that rye takes time to break down in the body which stops feeling of hunger, whilst keeping energy levels high.
More than 240,000 people in New Zealand have been diagnosed with diabetes, mostly type 2 and we have one of the highest rates of obesity on the world. A healthy lifestyle including an eating plan can help. Rye is great source of magnesium which is important for glucose metabolism and insulin secretion. Rye bread is recognised as being a good choice for those at risk from diabetes.
Whilst high fibre diets are not currently fashionable, we are only just beginning to better understand the impact of a healthy gut on our wider health. The fibre found in our rye bread - 4.7g per slice - is healthy enough to help to bind toxins in the colon and protect colonic cells from damage. Fibre also improves digestion, cleans the digestive tract and promotes a healthy bowel. Here in New Zealand we have the highest rate of colorectal cancer in the world. There are many factors that come into play to try and avoid bowel cancer including eating a diet containing plenty of whole grains does help to maintain healthy bowel function.
The insoluble fibre in rye is effective in reducing bile acids which can lead to gallstones.
Our Rye bread is made without yeast, using a sourdough starter and a long natural fermentation time which makes it a fermented food. This process produced a bread which is less stressful on the digestive system and can be tolerated by many who cannot eat wheat breads.
The fibre in rye binds with the bile salts in the intestine and disposes of them. The body then makes more bile salts which requires the breakdown of cholesterol.This reduces cholesterol levels and ccan reduce the risk of heart diseases. The fibre also helps to lower th LDL cholesterol which is the low-density lipoprotein which is known to increase the risk of heart strokes.
More good news! Rye is rich is phytoestrogens which is a plant molecule that has a similar effect to the oestrogen produced by the body. This molecule can help to moderate menopausal effects.
The phytoestrogens and lignans in rye also hep to protect breast tissues. In research conducted on pre-menopausal women it was discovered that a diet rich in high fibre reduced their chances of developing breast cancer.
We all need calcium for healthy bones and it is especially impoertant for woem whose done density reuces during menopause. Eating food high in calcium, like rye bread, can help to retain strong bones.
Rye is packed with iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, selenium, B12 and E vitamins. In New Zealand our young and volcanic soils are typically short of zinc and selenium so extra top ups from food are beneficial.
Calcium and magnesium are vital for our teeth and calcium is well known to be essential for bone density and strength. Eating rye bread which is packed with both magnesium and calcium will help to ensure healthy bones and dental health.
For vegans, eating food high in calcium helps to maintain a well balanced diet in the absence of the more traditional dairy sources.