A pretzel is a handmade yeast bread that is usually shaped into a twisted knot. This popular snack can be soft and chewy or rigid and crunchy, but almost consistently has a shiny, brown appearance. Because of the alikeness of pretzels to other snacks such as potato chips, people frequently ask what the calorie and salt content of pretzels are and whether they are a healthier snack option, and whether are pretzels good for your stomach.
This article explains what pretzels are and how you can include them in a healthy diet.
Table of Contents
What are pretzels?
Pretzels are a kind of bread usually people make from wheat or rye flour and a few different ingredients such as yeast, sugar, salt, water, & butter.
The snack is oftentimes associated with Germany, although various kinds of pretzels appear to have appeared in Europe during the Middle Ages – especially in Italy, France, & Austria. Today, pretzels are popular all over the world nowadays.
The soft pretzels are large and have a chewy texture. They are usually served individually and are commonly sold at concession stands, restaurants, and bakeries.
However, hard pretzels are very small but crunchy and can be eaten in a handful. They are easily available in most grocery and convenience stores, making them an easy snack choice. And hard pretzels are also good for your stomach.
You can simply season classic pretzels with salt, but you can easily liven them up with garlic, nuts & seeds, chocolate, or other ingredients. Pretzels are usually serve with mustard/cheese/yogurt sauces.
Before baking, treat pretzels with a sodium hydroxide solution (commonly known as lye). So that the dough turns the pretzels brown and shiny during baking.
Food-grade sodium hydroxide is considered safe for consumption but can be dangerous if not you do not use it properly, so it is usually people who only use it in food processing plants. If you want to make pretzels, you can substitute baking soda for a similar taste and texture.
What kind of variety do pretzels come in and are pretzels good for the stomach?
Pretzels are a type of yeast bread that comes in two main varieties: hard type and soft type. The popular snack gets its shiny, brown appearance thanks to a chemical solution called lye, which causes a unique chemical response during baking.
Pretzels are high in carbohydrates and low in fat and protein, and they also contain some other nutrients.
Both soft pretzels and hard pretzels are made from wheat flour, which is mainly composed of carbohydrates. When you eat carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into sugars that it uses for energy.
Because most wheat flour is fortified with other nutrients, pretzels also contain iron and some B vitamins, such as thiamin, riboflavin, & niacin.
Like other foods made from wheat, pretzels contain a certain amount of fiber. Fiber is helpful to improve gut health, and eating it can help relieve digestive symptoms like constipation (although not all types of fiber are equally effective at doing so).
Most pretzels contain only a small amount of fiber, but choosing a pretzel made with whole grains or whole wheat flour can add an extra three grams of fiber to your snack. But are pretzels good for your stomach?
So a great way to include pretzels as part of a healthy diet is to pair the carbs with another source of fiber, lean protein, or healthy fats to round out the nutritional value of the snack.
Some examples of nutritious foods that pair well with pretzels are; fresh fruits and vegetables, hummus, yogurt, peanut butter, trail mix, and hot chocolate.
Which one is better; soft vs. hard pretzel?
One of the main differences between soft pretzels and hard pretzels is their shelf life.
Hard, crunchy pretzels tend to last at least a few months if the package has not been opened. On the other hand, a soft pretzel can only last a few days before it hardens and goes stale.
As you can see in the table above, one soft pretzel can contain 2.5 times more calories. And carbohydrates than one serving of hard pretzels. The soft pretzel also has twice as much salt per serving.
While hard pretzels often come in packages that contain 1–2 ounces, that is why hard pretzels are good for your stomach though. Soft pretzels are often very large and can weigh up to 5 ounces. They, therefore, contain more of the most nutrients.
Soft pretzels can still be part of your healthy diet. But it’s usually best to eat them in a reasonable quantity. One easy way to enjoy a soft pretzel without going overboard on calories, carbs, or salt is to save half for later or share with a friend.
Are Pretzels good for your stomach?
While definitely not as easy to eat as a boiled potato or gel. Hard-baked pretzels are still a great option for those with a weak stomach. They are refine carbohydrates of fiber and vitamins.