If you’re bored with your usual bread options, it may be time to take a trip to the dark side. Made from rye flour, dark pumpernickel bread has a distinctive deep-brown color and a dense texture. This delicious and filling bread provides fiber, vitamins and antioxidants and may promote healthy blood sugar levels.
Pumpernickel bread originated in Germany, and its dark color comes from molasses and cocoa powder. One slice of dark pumpernickel bread contains 80 calories, 3 grams of protein and only 1 gram of fat. Whole-grain pumpernickel breads provide fiber, the beneficial plant component that lowers cholesterol levels, adds bulk to foods and keeps your digestive system healthy. The Institute of Medicine recommends women consume at least 25 grams of fiber a day, and two slices of dark pumpernickel bread provide 4 grams of fiber. Some breads labelled "pumpernickel" are not whole-grain options, so choose pumpernickel breads labeled "100 percent whole grain" or those that have a whole-grain ingredient, like whole rye flour or pumpernickel flour, listed first on the ingredient list.
Vitamins and Antioxidants
Pumpernickel bread provides niacin, thiamin and riboflavin, essential vitamins for metabolism. The dark crust of pumpernickel bread is a rich source of antioxidants, beneficial chemicals that prevent cell damage in the body. A German study published in 2002 by the “Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry” tested the antioxidant levels of several varieties of bread. The study concluded that the crusts of dark breads, like dark pumpernickel, had the highest antioxidant content.
Blood Sugar Control
According to the American Diabetes Association, 10 percent of women live with diabetes, and even more women are at risk of developing the condition. Diabetes occurs when your body can not effectively control blood sugar levels, and women who have the condition need to control their carbohydrate intake. The glycemic index ranks foods according to their effects on blood sugar. Regular white bread is a high glycemic food, because it causes a rapid increase in blood sugar levels. Whole-grain pumpernickel bread is a low glycemic food, because it has a mild effect on blood sugar.
Pumpernickel bread adds a rich flavor to many familiar recipes. If you want a filling breakfast, make French toast with dark pumpernickel bread. Top your French toast with blueberries and strawberries in the summer and chopped apples and nuts in the fall. If you’re having turkey for dinner, make a fiber-rich stuffing with pumpernickel bread, chopped vegetables and your favorite spices. For special occasions, make a fiber-rich bread pudding with pumpernickel bread instead of white bread.
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Bread, Pumpernickel
- Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry: Structural and Functional Characterization of Pronyl-lysine, A Novel Protein Modification in Bread Crust Melanoidins Showing In Vitro Antioxidative and Phase I/II Enzyme Modulating Activity
- American Diabetes Association: The Glycemic Index of Foods
- Whole Grains Council: Classic Pumpernickel Bread
- USDA: How Many Grain Foods Are Needed a Day?
- USDA: What Counts as an Ounce Equivalent of Grains?
- American Diabetes Association: Diabetes Statistics
- Whole Grains Council: Types of Rye Flour
Jennifer Dlugos is a Boston-based writer with more than 10 years of experience in the health-care and wellness industries. She is also an award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter who teaches screenwriting and film production classes throughout New England. Dlugos holds a master's degree in dietetics.