Have you ever wondered why nutritionists lately are emphasizing on the usage of coconut flour in daily meals? Coconut is a complete fruit that is used widely in various cuisines. Be it the coconut water or the tender, young coconut, each has its own distinct taste and usage.
This post talks about the nutritional value of coconut flour and its many amazing benefits. To know more, read on!
High Absorbent Coconut Flour
The flour serves as a sponge when compared to other flours and absorbs the high amount of liquid during mixing. That is why mixing the coconut flour with liquid needs expertise, as you need to be sure about the amount of liquid needed for preparing a particular dish. It’s super-absorbent quality makes coconut flour ideal for preparing light textured, moist bakery foods.
The solids of coconut are grounded into a fine powder to prepare coconut flour. It has a mild coconut flavour and scent, and hence it is an ideal option for all types of flour-based recipes that do not require strongly flavoured ingredients such as spices or cocoa powder. Apart from its multiple usages in the kitchen, its reputation has grown for the past few years in the Western world owing to the health benefits it offers. It is much more nutritious than the regularly used processed flours.
How To Use Coconut Flour?
You can use coconut flour for preparing muffins and cakes as the flour has a lighter texture. For adding a special twist to pancakes and parts of breads, try mixing coconut flour with your all-purpose or multi-grain flour. It will add loads of nutrition to the dish and will also make it more fluffy and light in texture.
Nutrition In Coconut Flour (1 Ounce)
- 5g protein
- 11g fibre
- 17g carbohydrates
- 4g fat (the medium chain triglycerides)
You can purchase coconut flour from health food stores, farmers markets, online retailers and even grocery stores. The thumb rule for using the right ratio for coconut flour and water is 1 cup of water + 1 cup of coconut flour + 6 eggs. Store the coconut flour in an airtight mason jar in the pantry.
Here are some amazing health benefits of coconut flour that will indeed make it your favourite ingredient in the kitchen:
The gluten-free status of coconut flour is the major attraction because it does not contain gluten protein molecules (1). Other flours such as barley, rye and wheat contain a good amount of gluten, which is highly allergenic and is life threatening for people suffering from Celica disease. The gluten causes damage to the lining of the small intestine and prevents the absorption of nutrition from the food.
According to the latest studies, especially the evidence put forth by Dr. William Davis through his book, Wheat Belly, in 2011, gluten is unhealthy for everyone and is the main cause of bloating, brain fog and lethargy (2). The availability of gluten-free products such as the coconut flour provides an option for switching over to a completely gluten-free diet. It is the main reason behind the increasing popularity of coconut flour among the health conscious community.
2. Loaded With Dietary Fiber
One of the studies published in the Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies, December 2006, says that the use of coconut flour in our diets can reduce the heart disease risk largely (3). Replacing the processed flours with coconut flour lowers cholesterol levels and guards you from diabetes and cancer.
Another study conducted by the scientists at the Food and Nutrition Research Institute in the Philippines claims that the health benefits stem from the presence of high levels of dietary fibre in the coconut flour. 100 grams serving of coconut flour contains around 39 grams of fiber, which is almost double the amount present in wheat bran.
A Naturopathic physician and the author of the book, ‘Cooking with Coconut Flour’, Dr. Bruce Fife, says that coconut flour can contribute immensely to making the adults reach their daily recommended fiber intake. According to him, coconut flour very easily can provide around 20 to 35 grams of dietary fiber when included in the daily diet. He recommends adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of the flour to baked goods, smoothies, gravies or casseroles.
3. Good For Digestion
Fiber is crucial for healthy digestion and carrying out the elimination processes smoothly (4). The fiber absorbs the irritating agents, parasites and carcinogens from the body and promotes their timely expulsion. It is the best natural method of systematic detoxification and cleansing of the body. Even though grains contain a high amount of fiber, the refinement processes obliterate the fiber, due to which you are left with refined sugars and flours that provide a very less amount of the required dietary fiber.
To make the processed flours appear healthier and rich in fiber, the food manufacturers and the pharmaceutical companies are now adding laboratory concocted fiber as a part of the enrichment and supplementation program. However, these synthetic additives are harmful to health as they contain lots of preservatives, irritating chemicals and aggressive binders. On the other hand, using coconut flour in smoothies, for preparing sauces or yogurt flavours is the natural and palatable way of introducing dietary fibre in your diet. This keeps your digestive system working in top gear.
[ Read: Health Benefits Of Cassava Flour ]
4. High In Healthy Fats
The coconut flour contains a large number of fats that are good for health. A 100 grams coconut flour serving contains around 9 grams of fat, of which approximately 8 grams are saturated and are of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) type. These fats are highly essential for protecting the body against fungal, microbial and viral activities. The MCTs also boost metabolism, which makes the coconut flour ideal to be included in weight loss diets.
5. Excellent For Diabetics
Coconut flour is not only rich in dietary fiber, but also contains considerably low digestible carbohydrates as compared to the processed flours. That is why it makes a relatively gentle impact on the levels of blood sugar, making it an excellent flour option for diabetic patients and prediabetics who are keen to avoid spikes in blood sugar levels.
6. Impressive Amount of Protein
Coconut is free from the gluten proteins (5). However, it is loaded with other types of proteins. Contrarily, 100 grams of coconut flour contains around 19 grams of protein or 38% RDI, which is much more than the protein present in the other leading flours such as cornmeal, rye or white flour. It makes coconut flour an important ingredient for the vegetarian and vegan bodybuilders, as protein is highly important for cell growth and repair.
7. Trace Minerals In Large Amounts
Most of the grain products are nowadays harvested in massive amounts on the degraded soils of industrial farms, and hence the produce is subject to genetic modification. On the other hand, coconuts provide a refreshing and natural source of trace minerals. The palms of coconuts thrive in the volcanic soils that are rich in minerals. Moreover, in the tropics, where they are found in abundance, they receive natural fertilization through seawater, which is a complete mixture of all types of trace minerals essential for the human body. The coconut flour thus prepared from such coconuts provides your body with all the needed trace minerals.
Grains contain free phytic acid, a common plant toxin considered anti-nutrient (6). Coconut flour does not contain such harmful plant toxins and thus, the trace minerals from this flour easily get absorbed without any interference from the counterbalancing acids.
8. Low Amount Of Digestible Carbohydrate
Processed and refined flours are dense in simple carbohydrates, which get rapidly metabolized causing destructive blood sugar fluctuations. Such systemic reactions lead to stress responses in the body, causing hormonal dysregulation, weight gain and inflammation and severe other types of destructive consequences. As against this, several studies have revealed that the coconut flour lowers the glycemic effect because the meat of coconut contains low, simple carbohydrates along with high dietary fiber. It equates the carbohydrate metabolism, which is why the health conscious people can use this flour in moderation without worrying about the glucose buzz.
In these days of allergies and intolerances, strict protocols are required when it comes to consuming a particular product. Following such strict rules is quite difficult, causing concurrent nutrient deficiencies from the groups that are avoided. Moreover, the alternatives that are available for such people suffering from specific intolerances and allergies are unhealthy and can be subtly destructive. For such people, coconut flour is a good option as it offers naturally bolstering protein, healthy fats, minerals and vitamins and can end their struggle for finding alternative foods and help them to have a balanced meal. Few people can be allergic to coconut, but the number is very low. It is mostly recommended for those who are allergic to milk, soy, nut and wheat. Preparing recipes with coconut flour is easy, makes delicious treats, and hence is an ideal replacement for such hypoallergenic patients.
[ Read: Health Benefits Of Semolina Flour ]
10. Good For Overall Health
With its anti-viral, anti-parasite, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, the coconut flour contributes in making the immune system strong. It is a good and quick source of energy and dishes prepared using coconut flour keep you energetic and satiated for long. That is why it is recommended for improving athletic and physical performance.
Coconut flour supports and restores thyroid function, improves good cholesterol, thereby reducing the risk of heart problems.
A quick read of the benefits of coconut flour is a good enough reason to include this fiber-rich food in your daily diet. So what are you waiting for? Offer your body the protection and strength that coconut fiber provides naturally! Eat healthy, stay healthy!
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