Yarrows Salba breads

Last updated 08:19 15/05/2012

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Yarrows make a range of Salba breads that retail for around $4/loaf and are, generally, toast slice thickness. The range includes Traditional Soy and Linseed, Low GI White with Manuka Honey and Mixed Grain with Manuka Honey.

I'd never heard of Salba before this bread came on the market, so what is it? According to the packaging, it's an ancient grain that the Aztecs called "running food" due to its high nutrient source. Salba is from the Salvia plant species and is commonly grown in Peru with the seeds collected for use in health products and, now, breads. It has a very high content of omega-3 which helps protect against heart disease. Fibre content is high, making it useful for keeping bowels regular and protecting against bowel cancer. Other beneficial nutrients present include: antioxidants, magnesium, calcium, iron and folate.

The Salba range of breads contain 4-5 per cent salba, along with flour, grains, iodised salt, yeast, canola oil (a "good" mono-unsaturated oil), milk solids, emulsifiers, vinegar and vitamin B1 (thiamin). Iodised salt is now compulsory in commercial breads to help prevent iodine deficiency.

Compared to other wholemeal breads, the Salba range has a similar energy content, but fat and protein content is slightly higher and carbohydrate content lower.

Fat content for Salba is 4g per 100g compared with less than 2.2g for other breads, but it is higher in omega-3, which is a plus.

When looking for a high-fibre bread, a minimum of 6g of fibre per 100g is recommended. Most breads average 4-5g fibre per 100g, but the whole range of Salba breads have an excellent dietary fibre content ranging from 8.6g-12.5g/ 100g.

Sodium content of 300-400mg/100g is lower than most other breads and within the recommendation of less than 450mg per 100g.

When I recommend this bread, people often say it is too expensive. It does cost more than budget range breads, but it is so much more filling that you eat less of it. I find it takes four slices of ordinary wholemeal/grain bread to give me the same fullness as two slices of Salba bread.

One loaf at $4 provides more fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium and the fullness of two loaves, so works out cheaper if you are looking from both the cost and health-benefit perspectives. And, best of all, this bread is made locally.

My next goal is to find out how I can source or grow Salba grains to experiment with my own homemade bread.

z Content prepared by Jackie Keenan, registered dietitian.

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