Affiliate links on our site may earn us commissions. Learn More.

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this website you are giving consent to cookies being used. Visit our Privacy Policy.

arrow
Newsletter

Discover The Best Wellness Tips In Your Inbox

Subscribe to Health Reporter’s newsletter and get our health experts’ highlights and the latest news about healthy living.
The newsletters are spam-free and sent from our health experts and professionals.
sent

Thank You!

You have successfully subscribed to our newsletter!
Home arrow Nutrition arrow Healthy Eating arrow Is Naan Bread Healthy? Nutrition and Calories

Is Naan Bread Healthy? Nutrition and Calories

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: June 22, 2023
4 min read 1649 Views 0 Comments
clock 4 eye 1649 comments 0

Learn about the nutritional value of one of the most widely consumed breads in Asia.

is naan bread healthy

Naan bread is a traditional Indian food that went from being a favorite of royalty around the year 1300 to the table of the common people, even though its artistic preparation is a skill that not everyone can master.

This gastronomic treasure has the particularity of being as soft as a cloud, thanks to the addition of yogurt to its preparation, which differentiates it from other varieties of flatbread, such as pita bread.

But is this delicious bread healthy? In this article, we’ll explore the nutritional makeup of naan bread and discuss whether or not it is a good choice for a healthy diet.

Is Naan Bread Healthy?

Yes, naan is a healthy alternative compared to other breads of this type because the addition of yogurt or milk in the recipe makes it rich in protein.

In addition, if prepared with whole-grain wheat flour, it provides a good amount of fiber, which helps improve digestion, promote satiety, and control blood sugar.

However, like with any other type of bread, it is important to moderate your consumption and consider other nutritional aspects of the dough and baking process.

How Is Naan Bread Made?

Naan bread is traditionally baked in a tandoor oven after the dough has been manually kneaded to achieve its characteristic flattened shape.

Ingredients include wheat flour, which may be refined or whole grain, plus milk or yogurt, yeast, salt, sugar, water, and sesame seeds.

It is traditionally served with a little ghee spread on top, which is a clarified butter rich in healthy fats with a richer flavor. Fresh herbs and spices are also commonly added to enhance the flavor of the dough, making it one of the most well-known Indian dishes across the world.

Is Naan Bread Good for Weight Loss?

No, naan bread is not a low-calorie food as it contains carbohydrates and is also typically accompanied by fat spread on top, such as ghee or regular butter.

However, you could prepare the bread without butter and add more fiber with whole-grain wheat flour if you’re following a weight loss diet. The fiber in whole-grain flour slows down digestion and prevents the insulin spikes associated with foods high in refined flour that cause high blood sugar.

If your goal is to lose weight, one of the key points is to know how to control portions. Try eating half of the naan bread in combination with a nutritious main meal to consume fewer calories and not affect your progress.

What Ingredients Does Naan Bread Contain?

The basic ingredients for a typical naan recipe are:

  • 500g wheat flour or whole-grain flour
  • 10g yeast
  • 5g sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • A teaspoon of sesame seeds
  • 25ml oil or melted butter
  • 120ml plain non-fat or Greek yogurt

Naan bread can be prepared in different ways; some recipes even omit the fat and use only yogurt and water as wet ingredients for kneading. This variation makes it less caloric as it contains less fat and is, therefore, lighter and healthier.

Once on your plate, you can increase its nutritional value and enhance its flavor by adding a little olive oil spread, seeds, herbs, or spices. Try Naan bread with garlic!

Nutrition Facts

This type of bread contains a good amount of B vitamins, as well as iron and complex carbohydrates as long as it is made with whole-grain flour.

It contains a considerable amount of protein from the wheat cereal and the yogurt used in its preparation. In the following table, you will see a breakdown of each of the nutrients in 100g of commercially prepared white naan bread:

 Nutrition table (per 100g)

Calories/NutrientAmount
Calories (kcal)291
Net Carbs (g)50.4 
Fiber (g)2.2 
Sugar (g)3.55 
Fats (Total)5.65 
Protein (g)9.62 

Source: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171845/nutrients

High in vitamins and minerals

Naan bread contains a good proportion of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and magnesium.

Because of this, it becomes a nutrient-rich addition to a healthy and balanced diet, which can be favorable for overall health if consumed in moderation.

Low in protein

With 9.62g per serving, this type of bread has a good amount of protein. However, for a food to be considered high in protein, 20% of its total calories must come from protein, which is not the case with naan bread.

Naan bread is a carbohydrate, so it can be accompanied by almost anything – by combining it with options such as chicken, cheese, or fish, you can get a more complete and high-protein meal.

Low in fats

Since plain naan contains just 5.65g of fat per serving, it can be is considered a low-fat food. When making naan at home, you can even go one step further and completely omit butter and oils from the recipe, and prepare it with only water and low-fat yogurt.

These changes may modify its characteristic fluffy texture, but if you are following a weight-loss diet, you will know that sometimes it is beneficial to make a few adjustments to traditional foods in order to include them in your healthy routine.

High in carbohydrates

Almost 70% of the total calories in naan bread are from carbohydrates, making it the main nutrient in the recipe.

The carbohydrates come from wheat flour, and the health benefits will depend on the type of flour used.

The ideal is to use whole-wheat flour instead of refined regular flour to take advantage of the fiber and make the bread more satiating, which favors those who are following a fat-burning diet.

A Word From a Nutritionist

When following a traditional diet, it is recommended to consume whole-grain bread instead of white bread as the latter contains refined flour.

Whole grains contain more nutrients and provide more health benefits; therefore, it is better to make naan bread with whole-wheat flour. However, if you follow other types of diet, such as the ketogenic diet, this bread is out of the question because it is high in carbohydrates.

Many Greek and Indian dishes use wheat bread as a side dish to plenty of vegetables and protein, which give the meal the right balance of nutrients and fiber.

Conclusion

Naan is traditionally known as a flattened white bread with yeast that allows an infinite number of variations to add flavors such as butter, spices, paneer, and seeds.

The addition of different ingredients makes it very rich in nutrients but also dense in calories and high in carbohydrates.

However, you can consume it in moderation, try out healthier versions like whole-grain naan bread and always make sure to add generous amounts of vegetables and protein to your plate.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Was this article helpful?
check
Thank you! We received Your feedback
HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: June 22, 2023
4 min read 1649 Views 0 Comments
0 Comments

Leave a comment

checked
Thank you for your comment!
We will review it as soon as possible.
HealthReporter
Your Name
Missing required field
Your Comment
Missing required field

company-logo