Looking for the Best Gluten-Free Flour? Consider Blanched Almond Flour
Flour is the foundational ingredient in a host of foods we enjoy eating including bread, desserts, pasta, and snacks. But all flours are not equal when it comes to digestive health and overall nutrition. If you’ve been searching for a smarter, healthier option to white flour, you should consider blanched almond flour.
White Flour vs. Almond Flour: What’s the Difference?
Flour is made by grinding down a cereal grain or the starchy portions of plants. White flour is made by separating the starchy endosperm part of wheat grain from the other parts of the kernel while whole wheat flour is made using the entire wheat kernel.
Almond flour is made with ground almonds. But before the almonds are milled, they are blanched in boiling water to remove the skins. From there, they are ground and sifted into a fine powder. The result is a wheat-free alternative with a slightly sweeter nuttier taste packed with nutrients.
Why Consider Blanched Almond Flour?
The vast majority of flour consumed here in the United States is white wheat flour. So why should you go “against the grain” and choose almond flour instead? Here are seven important reasons why you should think about making the switch to almond flour:
1. Improves Digestive Health
Studies have shown that about one in 133 people have celiac disease, a serious autoimmune condition that often goes undiagnosed. People with celiac disease cannot properly digest gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten grains contain oligosaccharides which can be easily fermented by intestinal bacteria. The result is often painful bloating, cramping, and other digestive symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. If a person with celiac disease continues to eat foods with gluten, the buildup can ultimately damage their small intestine.
In addition to those with celiac disease, researchers recently have discovered that an untold number of Americans struggle with gluten sensitivity – a condition that is distinctly different from celiac disease but can still make you very sick. People with gluten sensitivity can suffer from a wide range of health issues. In addition to gastrointestinal problems similar to celiac disease, gluten sensitivity has been known to trigger headaches, brain fog, fatigue, eczema-like skin rashes, and depression. The major difference between celiac disease and gluten sensitivity is that people with a gluten sensitivity do not suffer intestinal damage like someone with celiac disease.
Exactly how many people have gluten sensitivity has not yet been studied. But leading gastroenterologists estimate that anywhere from 6 to 30 percent of Americans could be reacting to the gluten found in their diets without realizing it. While doctors are still trying to understand the exact cause of gluten sensitivity, the solution is simple: Eliminating or at least reducing gluten from your diet.
2. Promotes Heart Health
Cholesterol and blood pressure are key components of heart health, which is a serious issue in the United States. It’s estimated that nearly 47 percent of American adults have high blood pressure. In addition, nearly 38 percent of adults in the United States have high cholesterol. Both of these conditions can lead to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Almond flour is rich in monounsaturated fat – the good kind of fat that helps keep your cholesterol in check. One study showed that women who ate just half a cup of raw almonds every day had lower cholesterol counts than women who don’t. Beyond improved cholesterol counts, research has shown that eating almonds and almond-based products can improve blood pressure levels.
3. Boosts Brain Health
Because almond flour is a good source of Vitamin E, it can help boost brain function. When your brain is healthy and full of antioxidants, you may be at a lower risk of developing cognitive diseases.
4. Lowers Blood Sugar
Almond flour contains significantly fewer carbohydrates than wheat flour which may help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. A ¼ cup of almond flour contains 5 grams of carbohydrates compared to almost 24 carbohydrates in the same amount of all-purpose white flour, making it a high-glycemic food.
Maintaining stable blood glucose levels is a must to avoid the complications associated with diabetes. And carbohydrate consumption is known to have the biggest impact on blood glucose stability.
5. Builds Strong Bones
Almond flour is jam-packed with minerals including calcium and manganese. The value of calcium to build and maintain strong bones is well documented. The lesser-known mineral manganese is considered an essential nutrient that supports bone mineral density which is especially important as we age. Manganese also plays an important role in the absorption of calcium as well.
6. Supports Immune System
Unlike wheat flour, almond flour contains both magnesium and copper, minerals that support a healthy immune system.
7. Enhances Skin Health
In addition to immune system support, copper also is a valuable antioxidant that can enhance your skin by helping your body produce collagen and elastin. One cup of blanched almonds contains 1.027 grams of copper compared to 0.18 milligrams found in the same amount of white flour.
How to Use Almond Flour?
While almond flour is certainly different from traditional white flour, it can be used in the same way. For example, almond flour is a great choice for desserts — as it results in delicious yet gluten-free and healthier varieties of your favorite treats. If you’re not a baker yourself, you definitely need to check out Bougie Bakes’ line of gluten-free desserts. Some of our favorite options include Chocolate Chunk Cookies, Sugar-Free Sugar Cookies, and Lemon Poppy Cookies.
Bougie Bakes: Gluten-Free Goodness
Going gluten-free with almond flour is a big decision that’s made easier with gluten-free companies like Bougie Bakes. In addition to being gluten-free, everything we bake here at Bougie Bakes is also sugar-free, dairy-free, and soy-free. We even have vegan desserts to try!