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5 Gluten-Free Flours

 I've recently changed my diet habits to include more wheat-free products. As I often love to bake, I swapped my ordinary flour for something a little out of the ordinary - almond, coconut, chestnut, and other flours to help boost my health and keep my blood sugar levels down. These 5 flour alternatives will make a world of a difference to your health, just take a look at their benefits:
1. Almond Flour
Made from ground up blanched almonds, this flour has got a neutral taste, yet a moist crumb. It's most suitable for muffins, waffles, cakes and can be used in savory baked good too. 
The Benefits: This flour is low in carbs, but high in protein. Almond flour is also an excellent source of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that protects cells against damaging free radicals and supports immune function. Just a quarter cup provides 40 percent of the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin E. Added to this, almond flour is also a good source of the B vitamins, folate, and niacin. Furthermore, consuming almond flour can help lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of blood clots and lower blood pressure too. 
2. Coconut Flour
Made from ground up coconut flesh, this flour has a generic, slightly sweet flavor that can be used for brownies, muffins, cakes, and also pizza crust. Recipes that contain coconut flour call for very little of the flour itself, but it does require a high amount of moisture (usually in the form of eggs). 
The benefits: The fiber content is a lot higher than that of almond flour. In fact, from 1/4 cup of flour, coconut flour contains 10 grams of fiber as opposed to almond flour, which only contains three grams. This flour will help maintain a healthy blood sugar level as it's considered to be a low glycemic food. In fact, studies show that consuming coconut flour can help lower the overall glycemic impact of food and support stable blood sugar levels. It is therefore a preferred choice of flour for people who suffer from diabetes. 
3. Cassava Flour
Also known as Yuka, cassava flour comes from a root vegetable, that is especially popular for people living in Africa, Asia and Latin America. You may, however, be more familiar with tapioca flour which also comes from the cassava plant. Tapioca is the bleached and extracted starch of the cassava root. So opting for cassava flour will provide a more natural alternative. This flour's texture resembles that of wheat flour - it is smooth, and it's taste, neutral. 
The benefits: This flour is loaded with dietary fiber carbohydrates, which have been linked to a number of health benefits including low blood pressure, reduced cholesterol levels, better control of your blood sugar levels and a lower risk of obesity. It also contains a good source of magnesium, which helps keep your blood pressure in check and reduces your risk of osteoporosis. 
4. Chestnut Flour
Chestnut flour has many uses in baking and in the kitchen. It can be used as almond flour would be, but bear in mind that almond flour has a strong, nutty flavor. 
The benefits: Chestnut flour contains high quality proteins with essential amino acids and is also a good source of dietary fiber. It also contains vitamin E, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium - which many gluten-free flours often lack. 
5. Tigernut Flour
While it may be surprising, tigernuts are not actually nuts, rather this flour comes from a root vegetable. It's taste is rather pleasing (it predominantly has a semi-sweet flavor) and can be used in various baked goods. 
The benefits: This flour is naturally gluten free and is a great alternative to anyone allergic to nuts. It is a great source of many vitamins and minerals. In fact, Tigernut flour is high in fiber (one ounce contains 40 percent of the recommended daily intake), iron, potassium, protein, magnesium, zinc, and vitamins E and C. This flour also contains natural sugar, healthy fats and it has a high level of resistant starch, which therefore reaches the colon intact - resistant starch promotes prebiotic growth and supports a healthy immune and digestive tract. In addition to the aforementioned benefits, tigernut flour can also lower blood glucose levels and helps improve insulin sensitivity. 

Cover image courtesy of Depositphotos
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