Not all flours are created equal, and most commonly used flours fit into the “empty calorie” category. Far too many common dishes are prepared with white flour (pies, cakes, pasta, bread, etc.). A diet high in white flour (not to mention other refined carbs) can lead to blood sugar dips and spikes and eventually contribute to metabolic disorders like diabetes. Whole wheat flour is a little bit better, but a much healthier alternative is coconut flour.
Quick Overview of Why to Avoid White Flour
First and foremost, refined grains (such as most flours) have been linked to obesity. Refined flours have been stripped of their nutrients and fiber, so they are digested quickly and cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels, followed by a dip that can seriously increase sugar and carb cravings, not to mention contribute to general overeating.
A diet high in refined grains has also been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Health Benefits of Coconut Flour
Coconut flour is simply dried coconut meat that has been ground into a very fine powder. It has a mild coconut flavor and scent, so it is especially tasty in baked goods like cookies, cakes and pies (and far healthier than its white-flour counterpart).
Check out some of the benefits of replacing white flour with coconut flour:
While not everyone needs to go gluten free, avoiding a diet very high in gluten (which is the protein found in wheat) is never a bad idea. Gluten has been found to be highly inflammatory for many people, so a whole-food-based, naturally gluten-free flour like coconut flour is a great substitute.
Gluten intolerance covers a broad spectrum from slightly sensitive to seriously allergic (in the case of celiac disease), and some health experts believe gluten is best avoided by everyone for optimal health.
High in Fiber
Unlike white, refined flour that has been stripped of its nutrients and fiber, coconut flour is full of dietary fiber. Experts say that plenty of fiber in our diet is crucial for healthy digestion, and studies show that fiber lowers our risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, and diverticular disease.
High in Protein
One hundred grams of coconut flour contains a whopping 17.5 grams of protein, which is 35 percent of the RDA for daily protein intake. This adds a serious nutrient boost to any baked good, as protein is linked to decreased calorie intake and, consequently, weight loss.
Rich in Healthy Fats
Coconut is rich in medium-chain triglycerides, which contain powerful anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. They have also been shown to aid weight loss (again, something white flour definitely can’t boast).
How to Use Coconut Flour in Baking
Baking with coconut flour takes a little bit of getting used to, as you can’t simply replace it cup for cup. To read more about how to bake with coconut flour, check out this article. Coconut flour is far more absorbent than grain flours, so you usually need very little. Coconut flour is also clumpy, so it needs to be sifted or broken up with a fork or whisk when it is combined with other ingredients.
Swapping flours can take some experimentation. If you love to bake, try searching for recipes that already call for coconut flour, as this will make the process much easier.
Now, check out this delicious cookie recipe that combines almond and coconut flour!
Dark Chocolate Brownies Recipe
Makes 10-12 brownies
- 4 oz. grass-fed butter or ghee
- 8 oz. dark chocolate, chopped finely
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
- 2-3 tablespoons raw honey
- 1 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 organic eggs
- 1/3 cup almond flour
- 1 tablespoon coconut flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease an 8 x 8 baking dish with butter or ghee. Place the remaining butter (or ghee) in a double boiler, stirring constantly until it is completely melted.
- Add all other ingredients, continuing to stir until thick.
- Pour everything into your baking pan and place in the oven. Cook time will vary depending on your oven, but check at 30 minutes, inserting a fork to check for doneness.