Coconut flour is growing in popularity as more people discover the health benefits of coconut flour, in addition to its many uses as a delicious, gluten-free and beneficial alternative to other flours.
Coconut flour is high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats and free from wheat and other grains. It is also low in sugar, digestible carbohydrates and calories. Plus, this flour has a low score on the glycemic index (Low GI). This makes it a favorite among Paleo dieters, gluten-free eaters including those with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity or those with digestive problems like leaky gut syndrome.
In reality, coconut flour is not actually “flour” like others. It contains zero grains and consists of 100% pure coconut meat.
Health Benefits of Coconut Flour
The health benefits of using coconut flour in recipes include the following:
Coconut flour contains high levels of MCTs, also called medium-chain fatty acids. Research shows that MCTs act as important nutrient and metabolic regulators in the body. These fatty acids are easily digested when consumed. They go straight to the liver, where they have a thermogenic effect and the ability to positively affect metabolism.
1/4 cup coconut flour supplies 25% of daily dietary fiber needs. In order to avoid constipation, getting enough fiber-rich foods in our diet is a must. In addition, healthy bacteria living in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which is called probiotics, help regulate bowel function. Fiber from coconut flour acts as a prebiotic that helps probiotic bacteria thrive and encourages optimal digestion helping to prevent constipation.
Helps Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
Coconut flour is lower in carbs than other common flours, such as wheat and corn, so it’s a better choice for diabetics and other people looking to maintain healthy blood sugar. Unlike higher-carb flours, coconut-derived flour has a milder effect on blood sugar levels. Plus, it comes with all of that beneficial fiber, fat, and protein, making it a very well-balanced flour that can help us feel full longer and make us less likely to overeat. Coconut flour nutrition certainly has health benefits for people with diabetes and those who are working toward reaching a healthy weight too.
Help in Lower Bad Cholesterol
With its high fiber content, this flour is also a great choice for boosting heart health. Studies show that coconut flour has the ability to help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels and serum triglycerides in people who have raised cholesterol levels.
Boosts Heart Health
As a rich source of fiber, which helps lower bad cholesterol and triglycerides, flour from coconuts is also known for boosting heart health. In fact, research links high intakes of dietary fiber with a reduced risk of developing coronary heart disease as well as dying from the disease.
How to Cook with Coconut Flour
Coconut flour can be used in both sweet and savory recipes. It is unsweetened and has a slight smell and taste of coconut, but this easily blends well with other ingredients in recipes and does not overpower other tastes. While it has a light, airy appearance and texture when dried, it becomes pretty dense when cooked with or baked.
You want to make sure to de-clump the flour first before cooking with it since it’s prone to forming clumps. Do this by mixing it with a fork to take out any air bubbles or lumpy bits.
Can we use Coconut flour instead of All-purpose flour
Yes, but depending on the recipe and likely have to make some changes to the amounts of liquid ingredients in the recipe. Coconut flour is high in fiber, so it absorbs a lot of water while cooking compared to other flours.
For breading foods like pieces of meat or fish, we can use coconut flour as a 1:1 all-purpose flour replacement. This flour can also be used on its own to thicken soups and stews or to coat ingredients in place of breadcrumbs.
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