A pantry essential, flour is used to make pasta, baked foods, casseroles, and desserts. However, certain flour varieties are healthier than others. For instance, because they are processed to eliminate the wheat bran and germ, which contain the majority of the fiber and nutrients, white and all-purpose flours are less healthful.
As a result, a lot of individuals are curious about using healthier alternatives to white flour when baking and cooking. In actuality, some widely used flours are made from nuts or seeds rather than grains at all.
Here are the nutritional characteristics of 5 of the healthiest flours for every use.
1. Coconut flour
The dried coconut meat is ground into a smooth, soft flour to create coconut flour, which is grain- and gluten-free. Compared to conventional grain-based flours, it has more calories per serving and is a rich source of protein, fat, fiber, and minerals including iron and potassium.
Coconut flour has a high fat content compared to grain flours. The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) that make up the majority of this fat are predominantly saturated and may help maintain a healthy metabolism.
Although it’s debatable, saturated fat from coconuts probably has a different impact on health than fast food, fried foods, and processed meats—and might even have advantages.
Additionally high in antioxidants, coconut flour also seems to have antibacterial qualities.
A serving of 1/2 cup (64 grams) offers
- 210 calories
- 8.5 grams of protein
- 13 grams of fat
- 34 grams of carbs
- 25 grams of fiber
- 22% of the daily value for iron (DV)
- 18% of the DV for potassium
The flavor of coconut flour lends itself to cakes, cookies, breads, and other baked items. It is pleasantly sweet. It has a tendency to be gritty and absorb a lot of liquid, which could cause some baked items to dry out. Therefore, it functions best in foods that rely on eggs to preserve moisture and structure, like muffins.
Use roughly 1/4 of the recipe’s specified amount of coconut flour to replace the wheat flour, and then switch out the remaining 3/4 of the flour with another kind.
Additionally, add 1 egg every 1/4 cup (32 grams) of coconut flour in baked items because it requires more liquid than other flours.
2. Almond flour
Blanched almonds are ground into a fine powder to create almond flour. It is naturally free of gluten because it doesn’t include wheat. Almond meal, a more coarse substance produced by grinding almonds with their skins on, should not be confused with almond flour.
Magnesium, omega-3 unsaturated fats, plant protein, and vitamin E, a potent antioxidant, are all present in moderate amounts in almond flour. Almonds have a lot of calories, much like other nuts and seeds.
The ingredients in this wheat provide a number of advantages, including reduced blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol as well as better insulin resistance. Vitamin E may lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s, and almonds may do the same for your brain health.
A serving size of 1/2 cup (56 grams) of almond flour provides (12 Trusted Source):
- 340 calories
- 12 grams of protein
- 30 grams of fat
- 12 grams of carbs
- 4 grams of fiber
- 5% of the DV for calcium
- 6% of the DV is iron.
- 8% of the DV for potassium
- 65% of the DV for magnesium
- 100% of the DV for vitamin E
Almond flour is simple to use and has a nutty flavor. For the most part, you may just use almond flour in place of wheat flour in a recipe.
It works nicely in savory dishes like handmade spaghetti and meatballs as well as baked items like pancakes, cookies, scones, and biscuits.
3. Quinoa flour
To create quinoa flour, quinoa is ground into a fine powder. This gluten-free pseudo cereal is frequently referred to as a whole grain because it hasn’t been refined or processed, preserving its natural benefits.
Particularly noteworthy are that it’s a good source of protein, fiber, iron, and unsaturated fats. Additionally, it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may improve digestive health, stop tumor growth, and reduce the chance of contracting various diseases.
Quinoa flour is (15): in a serving of 1/2 cup (56 grams):
- 200 calories
- 8 grams of protein
- Fat: 2 grams
- 38 grams of carbs
- 6 grams of fiber
- 33% of the DV is iron.
- 4% of the DV for potassium
Quinoa flour gives baked items a moist, soft feel. In most recipes, replace it with half the amount of wheat flour. Some individuals find that this flour has a bitter aftertaste, but you can lessen it by toasting it in a dry skillet over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes while tossing it gently before using it in your dish.
For making muffins, pie crusts, and pancakes, quinoa flour works well. Additionally, it can be used to thicken sauces and soups.
4. Buckwheat flour
Buckwheat, a plant recognized for its seeds that resemble grains, is processed to make buckwheat flour. Buckwheat is not linked to wheat, despite its name, and is consequently gluten-free.
Traditional Japanese soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour, which has an earthy flavor. In addition to micronutrients like manganese, magnesium, copper, iron, and phosphorus, it is a good source of fiber and protein.
According to research, this flour may help diabetics lower their blood sugar levels and enhance biomarkers for heart health. Additionally, it might have prebiotic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer effects. A form of fiber known as prebiotics provides food for the good bacteria in your gut, which promotes the health of your digestive system.
A portion of buckwheat flour of 1/2 cup (60 grams) provides (20 Trusted Source):
- 200 calories
- 4 grams of protein
- 2 grams of fat
- 44 grams of carbs
- 6 grams of fiber
- 17% of the DV is iron.
- 34% of the DV for manganese
- 33% of the DV for magnesium
- 73% of the DV is in copper
- 17% of the DV for phosphorus
Buckwheat flour should make up 25–50% of the total flour in a recipe for the greatest results when combined with other whole grain flours. It makes a delicious crumb coating for meat or other proteins and works well in pancakes and fast breads.
5. Whole wheat flour
Most baked items that you buy in stores and bakeries are made with wheat flour. Whole wheat and white flour, however, are very dissimilar. White flour is produced by removing the bran and germ, which contain the most nutrients, as opposed to whole wheat flour, which is produced by grinding whole wheat kernels into a powder.
Therefore, whole wheat flour is generally thought to be healthier. It contains lots of vitamins and minerals, fiber, and protein. It is inappropriate for those who have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity since it includes gluten.
100% whole wheat flour in a serving of 1/2 cup (60 grams) supplies
- 200 calories
- 8 grams of protein.
- Fat content: 0 g
- 42 grams of carbs
- 8 grams of fiber
- 11% of the DV is iron.
- 5% of the DV for potassium.
In any recipe, whole wheat flour can be used in a 1:1 ratio with white or all-purpose flour. Because it is unrefined, keep in mind that it produces a less airy texture than white flour. It is delicious baked into breads, muffins, cakes, cookies, rolls, pizza dough, pancakes, and waffles.
Today, there are more healthy flour options accessible than ever before. The majority of flours, including coconut, quinoa, almonds, and buckwheat, are naturally gluten-free and made from nuts and grains other than wheat, which is the traditional source of flour. Each variety offers a distinct nutrient profile and flavor.
To determine which flours work best for your recipes, you can experiment with a variety of them. When baking, make sure to look up conversions because their ratios aren’t interchangeable.