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Eat Healthier with White Flour Alternatives

Written by , Published on September 18th, 2018
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If you're interested in improving your health, reducing your caloric intake, and stabilizing your insulin levels, avoiding white flour is one of the smartest ways you can adapt your diet for improved nutrition and well-being. Though white flour and powdered sugar taste very different, they have the same metabolic effect on the body. Because these two foods are so highly processed, the calories are absorbed directly into the bloodstream, which leads to a severe spike in insulin levels. Over-reliance on white flour also has a negative impact on cholesterol levels, increasing the concentration of LDL cholesterol. Luckily, there are many alternatives to white flour available today.

The number one alternative to white flour is whole wheat flour. Since the body has to process whole wheat before its calories enter the bloodstream, it doesn't have as robust of an effect on your glucose levels. Whole wheat flour also has a lot of fiber, which improves digestive motility and further protects blood-glucose levels. It also has the fantastic bonus of being very nutritious, as opposed to white flour, which is almost entirely stripped of its natural nutrients, though it is often fortified.

Aside from whole wheat flour, there are some exciting and trendy new alternatives to flour which are increasing in popularity, a few of which are quinoa, coconut, and almond flour. All of these alternative flours have a unique flavor and their own nutritional profile, so it's a fantastic idea to rotate among the ones that you enjoy the most!

While some of these flours used to be more challenging to find, the growing market for gluten-free products has led to an increase in the availability of these healthier options!

Almond Flour

Almond flour is comprised of ground almonds which have been reduced to a texture similar to wheat flour. Almond flour has a modest amount of fiber, carbs, and protein and is high in monounsaturated fat. It's also rich in vitamin E. Almond flour is fantastic for brownies and other densely baked products.

Coconut Flour

Coconut flour is manufactured by grinding up dried coconut powder. Like almond flour, coconut flour is high in protein and carbs. The downside compared to almond flour is that is has a higher level of saturated fat, which you should be aware of. Coconut flour has a low Glycemic Index, which makes it great for those interested in controlling their insulin levels. Coconut flour works great as an alternative to breadcrumbs but needs to be mixed with other types of flour when aiming for a fluffy texture. Like almond flour, coconut flour does work well for baked goods that are denser.

Quinoa Flour

Quinoa flour is incredible for do-it-yourselfers because it can be produced quite quickly in your own kitchen. All you have to do is take uncooked quinoa seeds and toss them in a spice grinder or powerful blender until they reduce into a fine texture. Quinoa has an exceptional amount of protein and is excellent for baked goods that don't need to hold their shape very well, such as bread, pancakes, or muffins. For many recipes, like coconut flour, it may need to be mixed with other types of flour to achieve your desired consistency.

Chickpea Flour

Chickpea flour is great for dishes that are enhanced by the earthy, nutty flavor of chickpeas. Some great options for chickpea flour are dumplings, bread, pancakes, and crepes. Unlike some of the other alternatives to white flour, chickpea flour holds up great when baked. Chickpeas are also loaded with nutrients, which makes chickpea flour an excellent option for those looking to maximize their nutrition intake per calorie. In particular, chickpea flour has high levels of protein, fiber, B vitamins, and selenium.

Brown Rice Flour

Brown rice flour is one of the best options on the table if you're looking for a gluten-free white flour alternative that has similar properties in the kitchen. Brown rice is high in B Vitamins, like chickpea flour, while also providing lots of manganese and iron. The great thing about rotating among these different types of flour is that you can ensure that your diet is rich in a variety of different nutrients! Brown rice does have a slightly nutty flavor but does not hinder the flavor profile of most dishes. It's also great as a thickening agent or breading.

Whole Spelt Flour

Whole Spelt Flour is a variant on other forms of whole wheat flour. Spelt is an ancient type of grain that has a much lower gluten content than the more common types of wheat. Modern forms of wheat have been selected for their gluten content, which is why they have significantly higher levels of gluten than whole-spelt flour, which has been cultivated the same way since antiquity. If you're looking for baking consistency in your white flour alternative, whole spelt flour is a fantastic option!

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