Focaccia Bread Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Herbed focaccia bread

Photography by Paula Thomas / Getty Images

Focaccia bread, which is a flatbread typically topped with olive oil, spices, and herbs, has been consumed by people for more than a thousand years. Traditionally, it was a speciality reserved for All Saints Day celebrations, but it soon became a popular staple because of its uniqueness and simplicity.

Genoa, which is a port city and the capital of northwest Italy's Liguria region, claims to be the creators of the focaccia bread made with a bread dough that is not higher than 2 centimeters. This variety is seasoned with olive oil and enriched with rock salt, herbs, and other ingredients such as onion or olives.

Overall, focaccia bread was rooted in Greek and Etruscan culture before it made its way to Italy. Since then, it has undergone a number of transformations and boasts a plethora of varieties today. Here is what you need to know about the nutrition facts and health benefits of focaccia bread.

Focaccia Bread Nutrition Facts

The nutrition information for one slice (57-grams) of Focaccia bread is provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 142
  • Fat: 4.5g
  • Sodium: 320mg
  • Carbohydrates: 20.4g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugars: 1g
  • Protein: 5g
  • Calcium: 20mg
  • Folate: 78.7mcg
  • Phosphorus: 73mg
  • Potassium: 65mg
  • Monounsaturated fatty acids: 3.32g

Carbs

Focaccia bread contains 20 grams of carbohydrates per slice, 1 gram of fiber, and 1 gram of sugar, and is considered a simple carbohydrate. Simple carbohydrates contain little to no fiber and are often high in sugar. Simple carbs digest more rapidly and are higher on the glycemic index.

Whole-grain bread is complex because it is made with whole grain, while a bread like focaccia is categorized as a simple carb because they are made with white flour and not whole grain. Both simple and complex carbs can be a part of a nutritious diet and lifestyle.

Fats

One slice of focaccia bread has 4.5 grams of total fat and 3.32 grams of monounsaturated fatty acids. The majority of the fat found in focaccia bread is coming from monounsaturated fats making focaccia bread a good source of dietary fats.

Protein

There are 5 grams of protein in one slice of focaccia bread. Focaccia bread recipes call for about 3 to 4 cups of all-purpose flour. According to the USDA, 1-cup (125 grams) of all-purpose flour contains 12.9 grams of protein.

Wheat protein, like that found in all-purpose flour, does not contain all nine essential amino acids needed from the foods we eat. However, the protein you eat throughout the day adds up so eating focaccia still counts as a plant-based protein source.

Vitamins and Minerals

A slice (57 grams) of focaccia bread has a variety of vitamins and minerals including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, selenium, thiamin, and folate. Most notably, focaccia bread is an excellent source of folate, selenium, niacin, thiamin, and phosphorus.

One slice provides almost 20% of the recommended daily intake of folate. Folate is essential for the production of DNA and a deficiency can lead to megaloblastic anemia. Symptoms of a folate deficiency include weakness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, headache, and irritability.

Selenium is a trace element that is involved in reproduction, thyroid hormones, DNA synthesis, and immune function. Focaccia bread provides 16% of the daily recommended intake of selenium. Selenium is most commonly found in bread, grains, meat, poultry, fish, dairy, and eggs.

Focaccia bread also provides 10% of the daily requirements of phosphorus. Phosphorus is an essential mineral found in foods including whole grains, dairy, meats, beans, lentils, and nuts. Phosphorus plays an important role in bones, teeth, DNA, and RNA.

One serving of focaccia bread also provides 14% of the daily recommended intake of niacin. Niacin is involved in energy production from the food you eat and proper cellular function. Niacin is found in poultry, beef, pork, fish, nuts, legumes, bread, and cereals.

Thiamin (aka vitamin B1) is a water-soluble vitamin that plays an essential role in energy metabolism and the lifespan of cells. One serving of Focaccia bread provides 22% of the daily total recommended intake. Thiamin is found in whole grains, meat, and fish.

Calories

A 57-gram serving of focaccia bread contains 142 calories. Carbohydrates account for 57% of the total calories, while fat provides 28% and protein provides 14%. Focaccia bread is neither a high-calorie nor low-calorie food.

Health Benefits

Although sometimes people believe there are not any benefits from bread, focaccia bread goes above and beyond. The presence of olive oil in the traditional recipe for focaccia bread provides several benefits. And the fact that focaccia bread has protein and essential vitamins and minerals adds even more incentive to add this delicious flatbread to your meal plan.

May Provide Satiety

If your focaccia bread is made according to tradition with extra virgin olive oil, this makes it heartier, with more protein and fats, than your average bread. It also makes it more filling and satisfying.

Because carbs digest more rapidly than protein and fats, they tend to leave the stomach quickly. Incorporating protein and fats into a snack or meal (like focaccia bread) can help you feel fuller for longer and more satisfied with what you have eaten.

May Strengthen the Immune System

It probably never occurred to you that bread could impact your immune system. Because focaccia bread is an excellent source of the potent antioxidant selenium, it absolutely can contribute to the proper function of the immune system.

Selenium has been shown in research to provide protection against certain pathogens including viruses, bacteria, and parasites, by strongly influencing inflammation and the immune response. Plus, it acts as a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from oxidative stress that results from things like smoking, drinking, and even daily stress.

Though you do not need a great deal of dietary selenium to benefit, a deficiency has proven to do the opposite. Not getting enough selenium in your diet has been shown to slow the immune response by damaging immune cell function.

May Support Heart Health

There are two categories of healthy fats—monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs). Although many different foods contain MUFAs, olive oil is a significantly good source of MUFAs.

Monounsaturated fatty acids found in focaccia bread (from olive oil) have been associated with a lower rate of heart disease. Eating foods rich in healthy fats including monounsaturated fatty acids helps lower LDL cholesterol, (often called bad cholesterol), while also increasing levels of HDL cholesterol (or good cholesterol).

May Provide Energy

Carbohydrates’ main role is to provide energy. Because they are digested rapidly, absorption and utilization of the carbs you just ate happen almost right away. Because of this, bread products including focaccia bread may provide the pick-me-up you need first thing in the morning or before the afternoon slump.

Plus, the essential B vitamins thiamin and niacin play a role in energy production too. Thiamin is a key factor involved in carbohydrate metabolism. Without enough thiamin, carbs cannot be utilized effectively. Niacin helps the body derive energy from the food you eat. It does so by assisting enzymes in the production of energy.

Fits the Mediterranean Diet

This ancient Italian flatbread is made with flour, salt, yeast, water, and olive oil resulting in a pizza-like dough that bakes up into a fluffy cloud. Traditional toppings including rosemary, olives, thyme, artichokes, pine nuts, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and ricotta cheese—all of which are all staples on the Mediterranean diet. Those following a Mediterranean-style diet would benefit from the health factors found in focaccia bread.

Allergies

Focaccia bread is made with wheat or all-purpose flour and is not gluten-free. Those with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease should avoid eating focaccia bread. Focaccia bread also is considered a high-sodium food. Homemade focaccia bread or low-sodium options would be better suited for those with high blood pressure or on a low-sodium diet.

Varieties

Traditional focaccia bread is made with similar ingredients and varieties do not often stray far from the recipe. Varieties come from the toppings used and are what differentiates them. Focaccia is most similar to a flatbread or pizza, where toppings are added before baking.

Some traditional varieties include sfincione, focaccia di recco col formaggio, focaccia alla Genovese, strazzata, cudduruni (Lentini), focaccia messinese, and focaccia seravezzina—each of which are a staple of a certain region and most commonly differ in toppings and preparation. Sweet versions of focaccia bread are enjoyed as a dessert or for breakfast.

Nutrition values would change based on toppings used. The addition of cheese, lard, prosciutto, nuts, and other high-fat toppings will add a high quantity of fat calories, while vegetables or herb toppings will add minimal calories to the total nutrition values.

Storage and Food Safety

Plain focaccia bread will store well covered in plastic on the counter for up to 2 days. Focaccia bread with dairy or meat toppings is best stored in the refrigerator covered in plastic for up to 4 days.

To freeze focaccia bread, wrap it tightly in plastic or place it in a freezer bag before freezing. The presence of mold or a foul smell means the Focaccia bread has gone bad and should be discarded.

Recipes

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Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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