Nowadays, more and more people discover many health benefits of coconut flour nutrition. Not only that it has lots of uses, but it is also a delicious, gluten-free, good and healthy alternative to other flours available in the market.
What is coconut flour nutrition? Coconut flour has a lot of fiber content, healthy & good fats, and protein. It is also free from other grains and wheat. Coconut flour is also low in sugar content, has a low score in glycemic index and has digestible carbohydrates and calories.
People who are having Paleo diet, Celiac Disease who needs gluten-free food, digestive problems (i.e. leaky gut syndrome ), nut allergy, diabetic, vegans, and everyone else in between usually favors coconut flour.
Coconut meat is obtainable by removing the outer green husk from the coconut. It has wealthy white lining when grounded and dried, and it will produce coconut flour.
It is made of zero grains, zero nuts and comes from real coconut which makes it not the “flour” that we believe. Flour is obtainable from several commodities such as nuts, dried vegetables, seeds and also coconut meat.
If you split open the natural coconut and remove the solid white part which is the coconut meat, you’ll be able to create the dry “flour” when you separate the milk. The meat is baked at a little temperature to desiccate it and produce a white, fine-grained flour purely made of coconut.
Benefits of Coconut Flour
There’s so much reason to love about coconut flour! It contains a lot of nutrients, low in calorie content, and is useful in a lot of recipes. Unlike any other grain flours, coconut flour is very unlikely to cause any digestive or autoimmune responses.
The benefits that coconut flour can provide are immeasurable and quite impressive:
1. High in Fiber
Coconut meat contains an astounding 61% of dietary fiber! The body does not usually absorb fibers. Also, it does not absorb and use some carbohydrates and calories either. Rather, they only go along the digestive tract and aids in removing toxins and waste along with them.
2. Maintain a safe blood sugar level
Coconut flour as previously mentioned has low glycemic index. In addition to that, it doesn’t increase the blood sugar level. Recent studies reveal that consuming food that has coconut flour can aid in lowering the overall glycemic impact of food and it helps in making the blood sugar level as stable as possible. Coconut flour is therefore beneficial for people with diabetes and those who wanted to have and maintain a healthy weight.
3. Help in Metabolism
Coconut flour contains a high level of healthy saturated fats in the form of Medium chain fatty acid. The body uses these fats and converts them to energy. It also helps maintain proper metabolism, balanced blood sugar levels, etc.
4. Aids in Digestive Health
The coconut flour can also support healthy Digestion due to its high nutrient density. It can also help in maintaining good heart health as well! Recent studies reveal that coconut flour can help lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol and serum triglycerides. Coconut flour is very beneficial to our health due to its high content of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber and its healthy content of medium chain fatty acid.
Coconut Flour and its nutritional facts
1/2 cup serving (approximately 56 grams) of coconut flour has about:
– 4 grams of sugar
– 8 grams of protein
– 8 grams of fat
– 20 grams of fiber
– 32 grams of carbohydrates
– 240 calories
A dash of coconut flour goes a long way! For example, with just two tablespoons of coconut can give 5 grams of fibers, 8 grams of carbohydrates and in only 60 calories; this is useful and advisable to people with low-calorie diet, weight loss plan, watching carbs intake and looking to up their fiber in their diet.
Coconut flour against Almond Flour
Coconut flour and almond flour are both favorable due to its versatility, high nutrient content, filling fats and gluten free properties. Both flours are a great option in baking. However, coconut flour offers more fiber and has fewer calories than almond flour.
As mentioned above, coconut flour is a good substitute for people with a nut allergy and can’t consume almonds. However at the same time, nuts are high in nutrients, and almond flour is a great option for its vitamin and mineral content. Almond flour is also low in carb, has protein, fibers, and healthy fat.
Let’s make a side-by-side comparison of 1/4 cup serving of coconut flour against almond flour.
Coconut flour: 4 grams protein, 4 grams fat, 10 grams fiber, 16 grams carbohydrates and 120 calories
Almond flours: 6 grams protein, 14 grams fat, 3 grams fiber, 6 grams carbohydrates and 160 calories
To sum it all up, no flour is better than the other. Almond flour is extremely healthy, but it has higher calorie and fat content while it provides fewer carbohydrates and fibers. Having high calorie and fat content is not a bad option. In fact, it is the reason why almond flour is a great option for people on low-carbohydrate, ketogenic or higher fat diet. It all goes down to the preference and requirements of the body needs and preference in the end.
The nutritional benefit of coconut flour is impressive! Due to its MUFA fatty acids, hence they are low in omega-6. Although nuts including almonds are in general healthy and add omega-6 to your diet, chances are you already have a lot omega-6 in your body.
Both omega-3 and omega-6 are good in our body and a must-have in our diet. However, there is a need to consider the ratio of omega-3 and omega-6. A lot of people eat a lot of food rich in omega-6 (processed foods, refined oils, low omega-3 seafood) than omega-3. While coconut flour won’t increase omega-3 in one’s diet, it can. However, help decrease the amount of omega-6 since it can be an alternative to nut flours and refined grain flours.
Both coconut and almond flour and used in coating proteins. However, they provide different texture and quality when cooked. Almond flour is said to have nutty, crumbly, crunchy and less soft quality. In addition to that, almond flour has a stronger taste (nutty) while coconut flour got a milder taste.
Coconut flour tends to absorb more water compared to almond flour. It is also denser and makes a softer product. Both products can be used together to make a lot of gluten-free recipes!
Cooking using coconut flour
If you either prefer savory or sweet recipes, coconut flour is a good choice! Coconut flour is unsweetened and has a little aroma and taste of coconut, but it can easily blend well with other flavor and does not overpower other ingredients. When the coconut dries, it gives off a light and airy appearance and texture. In contrast, it is quite dense when cooked with or baked.
Note that you need to de-clump the coconut flour first before using it when cooking. Coconut flour is prone to forming clumps; mix it with a fork to remove any air bubbles or lumpy bits. Compared to other flours, coconut flour tends to absorb more water like an absorbent sponge. Therefore it usually dries out traditional recipes.
Combine coconut flour with other flours or self-rising ingredients like eggs when baking gives off best results. Instead of using breadcrumbs to coat, coconut flour makes an excellent alternative. Also, it can also be used to thicken soups and stews. To get the best-finished product, make it appoint to mix it well before adding it to your dish and after combining it with other ingredients.
Baking using coconut flour
Take advantage of health benefits coconut flour can provide by using it some baked goods:
– Cupcakes, like Strawberry Shortcake Cupcake
– Bread with dense texture
– Cookies, like these gluten-free Mounds Cookies
– Cinnamon buns
– Crepes, like coconut banana crepes
– Brownies, like sweet potato brownies
– Truffles, like Dark Chocolate Protein Truffles
– Pancakes, like coconut chia pancakes
Make sure to use equal parts of liquid and coconut flour, for example, use two tablespoons of water for every two tablespoons of coconut flour. The water will be absorbed quickly during the process. Not adding enough of liquid will make your baked goods too dry and crumble easily.
Aside from water, coconut oil is a good alternative to add more benefits and retain moisture. Baked goods using coconut flour gives you a denser quality, for example in a heart bread.
In about 25% of total flour recipe, it is advisable to use coconut flour as an alternative for best results. Meaning, if you are baking using other flour, you can substitute 24% coconut flour instead.
Adding coconut flour will pass extra fiber, MUFA fats, and nutrients to the finished product without compromising the texture or taste. Just always be reminded of the equal ratio of flour and liquid needed.
While most cooks are not favorable to using coconut flour on its own in recipes, esp. baking, and some people yields a good result when combining 100% coconut flour and eggs when baking.
Coconut flour is gluten-free, which will make it crumble. Using egg in place of gluten will hold it together without crumbling. When making coconut-egg-muffin, you can either customize it to your preference, either sweet or savory. For sweet treats, you can also add cinnamon, pure honey, and cocoa. In contrast, you can add herbs and spices for savory treats.
Coconut flour is a healthier substitute to refined carbohydrates flours. You can lower glycemic index on a recipe by adding coconut flour to your baked goods. It only means that the sugar will affect blood glucose slower to normal and will help prevent an episode of hypoglycemia.
Use coconut flour in making delicious dishes in many ways:
– To make delicious bread or biscuits
– As a replacement for breadcrumbs in meatballs
– For savory, high-protein egg muffins, mixed and baked with eggs
– To thicken soups or stews without need for dairy or refined flour
– In place of pecan or almond coating and other nut coatings, on fish or chicken
– To make a faux pizza crust, like coconut pizza crust
– To make chicken, turkey, grass-fed beef or fish burgers, for example, Cilantro Salmon Burgers
– To make grain-free “Paleo” coconut bread or wraps
– To bind together veggie burgers or meatloaf
There are a lot of ways to make use of the nutrient boost coconut flour can provide. Use coconut flour as a healthy, gluten-free coating for protein instead of using breadcrumbs or flours. You can try and mix coconut flour with spices like black pepper, garlic powder, sea salt, paprika, and onion powder to make delicious primary coating mixture. You can also add oregano, basil parsley and other herbs for traditional Italian and French flavor.
You can store your coconut flour in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer to keep it always fresh as possible. It doesn’t need special preservatives to store it, especially with your homemade coconut flour. It would usually take up to a year if preserved well in a cool, dry place.
Making homemade coconut flour
You can make your homemade coconut flour from scratch on your own!
Begin with blending coconut meat and water in a high-speed blender, like Blendtec or Vitamix. Next is to use a straining bag or cheese cloth to strain all the coconut meat, leaving behind only coconut milk that you can use in many dishes later on.
Take the coconut meat you gathered and spread it on a baking sheet. At a low temperature, bake it for several hours to make it dry. Remember that you are not cooking to coconut meat to create flour. Instead, you are just slowly dehydrating it until it becomes powdery and flour-like.
Some people might consider coconut flour as raw for this reason, while others beg to differ; it just depends on how high you dehydrated the coconut meat. Most would advise baking coconut flour at lowest, or around 150 degrees setting so that the oven stays for 4-6 hours to get the optimum result and better quality.
A step-by-step guide to making your coconut flour:
Start by blending coconut meat and coconut milk in a high-speed blender. Then use a cheese cloth or straining bag to separate the coconut meat from the coconut milk. You can bottle the coconut milk.
1. Preheat the oven. The temperature should be low, around 150 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Slowly dehydrate the coconut flour you are making at about 4-6 hours, it depends on the heat settings. Check after 4 hours to see if it is already powdery and flour-like in appearance.
Where to purchase coconut flour
Health food stores, major grocery stores, farmers markets and online sellers carry pre-made coconut flour.
Coconut flour is pure and free from digestive irritants and additives, that’s the reason why it is useful for people with a nut allergy, digestive disorders, insulin sensitivities and others. Meaning, more and more sellers should start stocking up coconut flour.
You can always buy coconut flour online and have it delivered to your doorstep.
Make sure to always look out for quality brands coconut flour and always read the coconut flour nutrition panel when buying pre-made coconut flour.
It is wise to purchase a coconut flour brand with the only ingredient as “coconut flour.” You don’t want your coconut flour to be sweetened, artificially flavored, with preservatives or any binding agents with them. The shorter the list of ingredients, the better and ideal your coconut flour is. In other words, you get most benefits from coconut flour without having unwanted side effects.
People with Celiac disease, a gluten sensitivity or just avoiding gluten, always be on the lookout for the labels. One should ensure that the label indicates that it is gluten free manufactured in a whole gluten free facility.
It will ensure that it was tested using R5 ELISA Gluten Assay and will not have any traces of gluten in it, which is sometimes not the case with other flours that are from wheat containing facilities.