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Shocking Truth: How Bread Impacts Mental Health!

The growing popularity of pound bread as a breakfast staple in India has raised concerns about how bread impacts gut health and thereof our mental health. While the West, excluding Asian and African migration, developed bread as a convenient option due to their circumstances and lack of knowledge about making rotis/chapatis, it was the best solution they could come up with at the time.

Pound bread became widely available in bakeries before the introduction of household baking machines, which made it even more accessible to consumers. It was affordable and didn’t require much time or effort. Today, with timed baking ovens, baking bread at home has become even more straightforward. However, in the year 2023, very few people seem to care about baking their own bread.

In India, people are increasingly turning to bread to assert a sophisticated lifestyle and eliminate the laborious task of making rotis. Traditionally, the duty of preparing rotis falls on mothers and maids, and in their absence, bread inevitably becomes the substitute.

Source: Pinterest

Now, let’s delve into why bread can be problematic for individuals with active, passive, or dysfunctional gut health. Pound breads produced in industrial units often prioritize cost and efficiency over the quality of ingredients. They may not pay attention to the quality of yeast used or the necessary fermentation period for the dough.

Furthermore, when white flour is chewed, it forms a sticky paste that adheres to the ciliated lining of the digestive system. This lining is responsible for pushing food through the digestive tract while also absorbing microorganisms such as bacteria and microalgae. The sticky residue from bread consumption hinders this process, leading to various problems.

One significant issue associated with consuming bread that doesn’t disintegrate within the stipulated period is the depletion of the body’s energy resources. Over time, this can contribute to the development of celiac disease. Celiac disease is an immune reaction to eating gluten, which causes inflammation and damages the lining of the small intestine. This condition can lead to various medical complications. It’s worth noting that the impact of bread on gut health extends beyond gluten alone—it encompasses the overall composition and characteristics of the food.

While rotis are relatively better compared to pound bread, they are still not as gentle on the digestive system as soft and soluble foods like rice that have been drained of starch. To derive optimal nutrition, it is advisable to include a variety of foods such as fish, eggs, vegetables, and meat in your diet.

Understanding how bread impacts mental health, needs you to understand gut sensitivities and mechanisms. The impact of our dietary choices cannot be underestimated. Pound bread, while convenient and popular, may pose risks to gut health due to its composition and processing. By opting for healthier alternatives such as whole grain rotis and incorporating a variety of nutritious foods, we can support a thriving digestive system. Let’s prioritize our gut health and make informed decisions for a healthier future.

For further reading, I recommend you explore articles-

  1. Discussing the impact of bread on gut health
  2. Celiac disease and gluten-related issues
  3. Importance of fiber for gut health
  4. Benefits of whole grain consumption
  5. Inclusion of diverse food sources for optimal well-being

A version of this article first appeared on Twitter

Linda Ashok

Linda Ashok is an India English Poet & Polymath. She is a mental health advocate studying Psychology from IGNOU'25.