If you just found out that you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, you don't have to worry about missing out on your favorite foods. There are now more gluten-free options available than ever before. There are many alternatives to traditional white flour that are great options for those who want to avoid gluten.
People who don't eat gluten should avoid eating white flour and wheat flour. Instead, try cooking with some of the following gluten-free flours and see which you prefer. Each flour offers a different taste, texture, and nutrient composition so you may find that certain flours work better in certain recipes than others.
1 - Almond Flour
This is by far the most common grain- and gluten-free flour. Almond flour is typically used in baking goods. It is also a great, grain-free substitute for breadcrumbs. Almond flour contains many minerals including iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, copper, and manganese. It also is a good source of vitamin E and monounsaturated fat, however, contains a total of 640 calories per cup. That's 200 calories more than wheat flour.
It is usually substituted in a 1:1 ratio in place of regular or wheat flour. If you want to use this flour for baking, use one extra egg. The batter will be thicker and your end product denser. If you decide to purchase almond flour, check the packaging to make sure it's gluten-free. Nuts are naturally gluten-free, but it's important to check that the flour isn't made in a facility that processes gluten.
2 - Buckwheat Flour
The word "buckwheat" may be deceiving as it's not a wheat grain. It actually belongs to the family of pseudocereals and is completely gluten-free. Buckwheat is often used for baking bread. People tend to describe it as having a rustic, earthy flavor. Because buckwheat doesn't have any gluten, it tends to have a somewhat crumbly consistency. Sometimes people mix buckwheat flour with other gluten-free flours, like brown rice flour, to make a quality product.
One cup of buckwheat flour averages around 185 calories. Not only is it high in fiber and nutrients, but it also contains antioxidants which help fight inflammation. Buckwheat can sometimes be cross-contaminated when used as a rotational crop with wheat so remember to make sure the package says it's certified gluten-free.
3 - Sorghum Flour
Sorghum flour is made from an ancient grain and is the 5th most important cereal grain in the world. It is light in color and has a milder, sweeter flavor, similar to wheat. It contains around 12 grams of fiber and 16 grams of protein per serving.
Because it is a heavy and dense flour, people tend to mix it with other gluten-free flours or only use it in recipes that require a small amount of flour. Like buckwheat flour, sorghum flour also contains anti-inflammatory properties. It can also help balance blood sugar levels. Make sure to look out for the certified gluten-free label to avoid possible contamination.
4 - Amaranth Flour
Amaranth, like buckwheat, is considered a pseudocereal. Once a staple food in the Inca, Maya, and Aztec civilizations, amaranth is now typically used to bake tortillas, pie crusts, and bread. It has a nutty, earthy flavor and is high in fiber, protein, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and selenium which contribute to brain function, bone health, and DNA synthesis.
Amaranth can replace 25% of wheat flour but should be combined with other flours when baking. Don't forget to read the label to ensure there are no traces of gluten.
5 - Arrowroot Flour
This flour is perfect to use as a thickener. If you want to use it to bake bread or desserts, mix the arrowroot flour with either almond, coconut, or tapioca flours. Arrowroot flour works great on its own if you want a crispy and crunchy product.
Made from a starchy substance extracted from a tropical plant, this flour is high in potassium, B-vitamins, and iron. Arrowroot flour is also paleo friendly and may help stimulate immune cells and boost immune function.
6 - Brown Rice Flour
This flour is made from ground brown rice and is considered a whole-grain flour. Brown rice flour may help lower bad cholesterol, slow the production of plaque in the arteries, and protect against heart disease.
It can be used to make roux, pasta, thicken sauces, and as breading for chicken or fish. If you want to use it to bake bread, cookies, or cake, it's recommended that you combine it with other gluten-free flours. Brown rice flour is high in protein and fiber. Review the packing to make sure that the brown rice flour hasn't been processed in a facility that also processes wheat.
7 - Oat Flour
Oat flour is made from ground whole-grain oats. It will help give your baked goods the perfect moist consistency and texture. If you want a lighter and fluffier consistency, you may need to adjust some ingredients. Because the oats contain soluble fiber, oat flour can help lower bad LDL cholesterol, blood sugar, and insulin levels.
If you've ever had oatmeal for breakfast, you'll know that it will leave you feeling satisfied for many hours. Since oat flour is just oats that have been ground-up, adding the flour to your recipes will give them the same effect. Oats were actually rated #1 in breakfast food and #3 overall in a satiety index of common foods by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Oat flour is often subject to contamination so if you don't eat gluten, be sure to check the label for "Certified Gluten-Free".
8 - Coconut Flour
Coconut flour offers results similar to traditional white flour when used for baking bread and desserts. It has a light texture and absorbs more water than regular flour or almond flour. Coconut flour can increase your energy and may help lower "bad" LDL cholesterol.
Organic coconut flour is naturally composed of 75% fiber. It is also low-carb. Like many of the other flours, coconut flour can sometimes be contaminated in the processing phase, so double check the label to see where the flour was produced.
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