If you are new to the Paleo diet, you are probably overwhelmed by the information out there. Especially when it comes to making a simple decision about your flour. Even if you aren’t following the diet (nicknamed cavemen diet), Paleo flours are a lot healthier than regular all-purpose flour. They are also gluten-free and grain-free. White flour has been proven to spike your blood sugar level, slow down your metabolism, and even make you crave a lot more food. This is why several people are finally opting out from the white flour madness and moving onto healthier options. Here’s a lowdown on some of the best Paleo flours.
1. Almond Flour
Almond flour is one of the most popular Paleo choices. Gluten-free and low in carbs, the flour is made from blanched almonds. Packed with vitamin E, iron, manganese, and calcium, almonds are a great fix to increase your vitamin and minerals intake. In fact, one cup of almond flour meets your complete daily requirement for vitamin E. Also, since almonds are a powerhouse of nutrients, they have been found to reduce the risk of heart problems and the formation of cancer cells.1
Almond flour is a great choice for diabetics because it’s low in glycemic index (foods that don’t shoot up your blood sugar level fast). Want to shed a little holiday weight? Almonds have been proven to trim waistlines and overall body fat.2 It goes without saying, if you are allergic to tree nuts or your system can’t digest foods heavy in fiber, you might want to stay away from almond flour.
How To Cook With It: From breads to muffins, you can use swap all-purpose flour with almond flour for all your baking needs.
2. Coconut Flour
Coconut flour comes in almost neck and neck to almond flour in Paleo’s most favorite flour. Made from dried coconut flesh, the flour is low in carbs, gluten-free, and high in fiber. It’s also a lot cheaper than almond flour! It’s low in glycemic index, making it a good choice for diabetics and lower in calories when compared to almond flour. Do not choose coconut flour if you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
How To Cook With It: A little goes a long way. You can use it to thicken soups and stews. If you are baking, you only need a little because coconut flour is extremely absorbent. Most baking recipes recommend just a few tablespoons or maybe a quarter of a cup.
3. Cassava Flour
Cassava flour is slowly becoming popular among those who follow Paleo. It’s also a great wheat flour substitute because it’s close in texture, appearance, and taste. Thanks to the fact that the flour is gluten-free, grain-free, and nut-free, it’s a good choice for people with digestive-related problems or allergies. Made from drying the root vegetable cassava, it’s low in sugar and fat but higher in carbs than almond flour.
Several people believe cassava flour and tapioca flour are interchangeable but they aren’t the same. While they are made from the same plant, cassava flour is made from the entire root while tapioca flour is from the bleached and starched part of the root.
How To Cook With It: Try cakes and pancakes. You can also mix it in sauces or gravies.
4. Tigernut Flour
Tigernut flour is slowly picking pace in the Paleo world. While the name suggests otherwise, tigernut flour is not made out of nuts. It’s a root vegetable, which makes this flour perfect for those with a tree nut allergy. It’s packed with healthy fats and resistant starch. Why is this important? Resistant starch promotes the growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract and even a healthy immune system. The flour is rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, and is a good source of protein. It has a hint of sweetness and a nutty flavor.
How To Cook With It: Tigernut flour is edible without baking or cooking it. You could try baking cookies, cakes, and muffins. You could also mix it in smoothies as a nice nutty twist!
5. Chestnut Flour
If you like a strong nutty flavor, you can’t go wrong with chestnut flour. Made from ground chestnuts, the flour is packed with dietary fiber and protein. It also contains vitamin E, potassium, and phosphorous among several other vitamins and minerals. One study revealed bread with a chestnut flour and rice flour ratio of 30:70 was the perfect blend for gluten-free bread.3
How To Cook With It: Chestnut flour can be used to bake cakes, cookies, and pancakes.
These are the best Paleo flours to work with. If you want to swap wheat flours with any of these, a better idea is to check with your doctor and nutritionist to find out which is the best option for you.
|↑1||Choudhury, K., J. Clark, and H. R. Griffiths. “An almond-enriched diet increases plasma α-tocopherol and improves vascular function but does not affect oxidative stress markers or lipid levels.” Free radical research 48, no. 5 (2014): 599-606.|
|↑2||Wien, M. A., J. M. Sabate, D. N. Ikle, S. E. Cole, and F. R. Kandeel. “Almonds vs complex carbohydrates in a weight reduction program.” International journal of obesity 27, no. 11 (2003): 1365-1372.|
|↑3||Demirkesen, Ilkem, Behic Mert, Gulum Sumnu, and Serpil Sahin. “Utilization of chestnut flour in gluten-free bread formulations.” Journal of Food Engineering 101, no. 3 (2010): 329-336.|