Loaded with cancer-fighting antioxidants that can help prevent cardiovascular and neurological diseases, purple bread is trying to rally as the first superfood of the baked goods world. It’s missing one critical ingredient: it can’t back up all it claims.

CNN reported today that a Singapore food scientist at the National University of Singapore, Professor Zhou Weibiao, has developed a recipe that gives an antioxidant boost to regular wheat bread.

This boost comes from a healthy compound called ‘anthocyanins.’

Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, director at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston, reports:

“We aren’t sure why this compound may help prevent disease, but it’s clear that consuming anthocyanin-rich foods should be encouraged.”

Foods rich in anthocyanins are blueberries, black rapes, raisins, blackberries, plums, purple cabbage, eggplant, purple cauliflower and purple potatoes.

Studies have shown that anthocyanins can help prevent cardiovascular and neurological diseases and cancer, and play a role in controlling obesity and diabetes, as they can inhibit digestive enzymes and reduce glucose levels. Anthocyanins can also help with cognitive decline.

So, the health features of the purple bread are remarkable, and consuming it on these merits alone sounds like a great idea once it’s out of the oven and on the supermarket shelves. As of right now, purple bread is not commercially available.

Purple bread can’t rise to all it claims

The problem is that purple bread is being promoted as digesting 20% slower than regular wheat bread.

This is excellent news since bread has been notoriously linked to a high glycemic index which causes the peak and crash we want to avoid. Bread and obesity go way back, too. And, regular white bread digests quickly so we eat too much; and, we don’t stay full long enough.

That’s why this purple bread is looking pretty good, once you get used to the idea of purple bread. It almost looks like a dark rye; it’s a nice color; it’s just not a color naturally associated with bread – fresh bread, anyway.

There is no evidence to support the claim that this new wannabe superfood actually digests 20% slower than regular bread.

The NCBI reports that there are many aspects to anthocyanins’ role in the body that remain a mystery, such as bioactivity, uptake, absorption, bioavailability, and distribution in the tissues.

Densie Webb, PhD, RD at Today’s Dietitian agrees. “Despite the discovery of many health benefits of anthocyanins, their bioavailability is still not clear and unreliable.”

So, purple bread is healthier than regular bread; just how much healthier still remains to be researched.

This may be why purple bread is not yet available commercially.

Still, a cancer-fighting-anti-oxidant rich-cardiovascular and neurological disease fighting-diabetes controlling bread that can help with cognitive decline is right up there with the best superfoods.

Portland’s Spring Break Baking and Pastry Camp

They may not be making any purple bread, but the Portland Culinary Workshop has some awesome classes for the budding baker in the family to spend a couple of hours each day during Spring Break.

Let your kids get some flour-coated hands-on experience from expert instruction and by the end of Spring Break you’ll have a pastry chef in the family!

Portland’s Culinary Workshop also has lots of great cooking classes for adults.

Happy Spring Break!

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