From the coastal beaches to the supermarket shelves and now to your kitchen, coconuts are the next best thing when it comes to healthy eating. Coconuts have so many by-products ranging from coconut oil to coconut flakes to coconut milk to coconut flour. Coconut flour is made from dried coconut pulp that has been ground into very fine powder. The mild coconut aroma makes it a suitable choice to other ingredients like cocoa which have strong flavors. People who are health conscious have taken to coconut flour for all their baking needs due to the incredible health benefits of coconut flour. Want to know more about coconut flour benefits? Let’s fire away.
High Fiber Content
Coconut flour has far more fiber than any whole grain flour. One tablespoon of coconut flour packs 5 grams of indigestible carbohydrate compared to 0.8g and 0.2g per tablespoon of whole grain flour and white flour respectively.
This is good fiber and it’s insoluble. Perhaps you’re wondering how insoluble fiber is good for your health? Well, since your stomach can’t digest it quickly, it makes you feel full for longer, prevents constipation, and improves colon health.
Helps Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
Unlike most common flours, coconut flour is safe for diabetics due to its mild effects on your blood sugar levels. Coconut flour has a low glycemic index (GI) of 51, which means it’s slowly broken down, hence less likely to raise your blood sugar levels. Foods like white bread, rice, pasta, and cereal broke down quickly, causing a spike in your blood sugar levels.
Gluten-Free and Hypoallergenic
People who are sensitive to gluten will find comfort in using coconut flour as an alternative. Food allergies and intolerance are on the rise, but using coconut flour to bake your favorite pancakes or cookies reduces the side effects caused by wheat. If you’re gluten-intolerant or you simply want to eliminate gluten from your diets, then coconut flour should be your first choice. With growing concerns about the health risks of gluten such as bloating, brain fog and lethargy, it’s a welcome relief to start using gluten-free foods made from coconut flour.
Coconuts contain healthy fats that are beneficial to our bodies. Since coconut flour is derived from coconut solids, it retains much of its nutritional value and fats. Coconut flour contains 8.7 grams of fat per 100g, of which 8g are saturated fats. More importantly, the fats are medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) which have antimicrobial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. MCTs are known to kill bacteria that cause dental cavities and stomach ulcers, among other diseases.
Good for Your Heart
The fiber-rich coconut flour not only lowers bad cholesterol and triglycerides but also boost heart health. Dietary fibers have been linked to reduced risks of coronary heart diseases. The lauric acid, an MCT fatty acid that makes up 50 percent of the fat content in coconut flour, helps to prevent cardiovascular disease. When you consume foods baked with coconut flour, lauric acid is directly absorbed from the small intestines and metabolized by the liver to produce energy. For this reason, fatty acid does not synthesize or transport cholesterol.
Aids in Weight Loss
Due to the high-fiber content of coconut flour, you’ll feel full quicker and stay full for longer as the fiber absorbs water and expands. This reduces the chances of overeating, hence helping in weight loss.
Full of Protein
Coconut flour is a protein powerhouse with a 100-gram serving containing more than 18 grams of protein. It contains the highest amount of protein compared to other leading flours like rye and white flour. Coconut flour contains five of the eight essential amino acids that our bodies need but can only get them from foods. As we are all aware, protein is important for our growth and muscle repair, making foods baked with coconut flour a healthy treat.
Tips on How to Use Coconut Flour
Unlike other conventional flours, coconut flour can be tricky to use and without proper guidance, your foods can be a disaster. Coconut flour absorbs a lot of liquid due to high fiber content and can be challenging to make batter or dough with it.
- The trick is to mix coconut flour with other traditional flours.
- However, you need to use the correct measurements to get the recipe right. Generally, for every cup of white flour or other conventional flour, you will need a quarter or a third cup of coconut flour.
- To help with the binding, you will require protein sources such as eggs, flax seeds, or hemp powder.
- Before using coconut flour, mix it with a fork to remove air bubbles and lumps.
- Make sure to thoroughly mix coconut flour and other ingredients before cooking it for the best results.
- When baking, use an equal ratio of flour to liquid. To happy baking!
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