Consuming gluten-free products and flours have been tied to several health benefits, especially in people with celiac disease. Apart from health reasons like allergies, some people choose not to eat foods containing gluten.
Gluten is a family of proteins found in many grains, such as wheat, oats, barley, rye, and spelt. It is responsible for the chewy nature of products containing it. Products made with gluten-free flours feel crumby and tough. It is true that flour is a vital ingredient in many foods, including breads and noodles. However, gluten it contains may cause severe reactions in people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. For them and those avoiding gluten for unknown reasons, using gluten-free flours is the best way of staying healthy. This article explores some of the flours free of gluten you can use at any time.
1. Almond Flour
This is the first alternative you can opt for. Almond flour is one of the most popularly used grain flour. It is also free of gluten. It is made by grinding blanched almond seeds. You can be sure of consuming about ninety almonds in just one cup of almond flour! Yes, that’s what it is. Almond flour can be used in baking gluten-free breadcrumbs. If your recipe calls for wheat flour or regular flour, you can replace it with almond flour in a ratio of 1:1. To make your product denser and thicker, you can add one or two eggs, depending on the quantity of your recipe.
Almonds have many health benefits, and so are their flours. They contain several minerals, including calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, and copper. They are also a great source of vitamin E and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. However, they tend to contain more calories than wheat due to their high-fat content. Just one cup of almond flour contains 640 calories which is above wheat flour by 200 calories.
2. Buckwheat Flour
While it has the word “wheat” in it, buckwheat is actually pseudocereals. This means that in as much as it is eaten like and grouped with cereals, it doesn’t belong to the grass family and is not cereal. It is also gluten-free. With its earthy flavor, buckwheat is a good alternative to baking yeast breads. Since it lacks gluten, its products will be sort of crumbly. So, to have a soft and quality product, it will be best to combine it with rice flour or any other available gluten-free flour.
Buckwheat flour benefits your health by providing an array of B vitamins, iron, zinc, folate, magnesium, fiber, and manganese. Additionally, buckwheat flour has a high content of antioxidants, especially polyphenol rutin, which possesses anti-inflammatory properties.
3. Sorghum Flour
Sorghum is the fifth most consumed and important cereal grain all over the world. It is free of gluten. Sorghum has a light color, texture, and sweet flavor. It replaces gluten flours only in recipes that call for a small amount of flour and should be mixed with gluten-free flours. This is because it is dense in nature. Apart from being a gluten-free flour, sorghum may help regulate blood sugar and promote weight loss. It contains a high amount of protein and fiber, which are digested slowly and prolong feelings of fullness. It is also high in mineral iron and antioxidants, which helps with inflammation and reduction of cancer and heart disease risk. It will help confirm the gluten-free label on the packet of sorghum flour as it may be contaminated with gluten during processing.
4. Amaranth Flour
Amaranth is small seeds, and like buckwheat, they are also considered pseudocereal. During the civilization of the Incans, Mayans, and Aztecs, amaranth was a staple food. With its earthy and nutty flavor, amaranth pairs well with the flavor of other foods. Amaranth flour provides the best option for gluten-free flour if you want to bake bread, tortillas, and pie crusts. Remember to mix this flour with other gluten-free flour. It boasts fiber, protein, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, selenium, and iron. Most of these nutrients are essential for healthy brain function, healthy bones, and the synthesis of DNA. If you have celiac disease or are sensitive to gluten, make sure to confirm for the gluten-free label as amaranth processed in the same factory with wheat may be contaminated with gluten.
5. Corn Flour
Whole corn flour is usually used to make cornmeal. This means that it contains bran, germ, and endosperm of the whole kernel. Corn flour can also be used to make bread and tortillas in place of gluten flour. Additionally, it can be used in preparing pizza crust. In terms of health benefits, corn flour has high fiber content and isa great source of plant compounds lutein and zeaxanthin. These are carotenoids that have antioxidant properties and can benefit your health by reducing the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Additionally, cornflour provides vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B6, magnesium, manganese, iron, and selenium which is also an antioxidant.
6. Oat Flour
This is another good alternative for people with celiac disease or just avoiding gluten. This flour is made by grinding dried whole-grain oats. Unlike most gluten-free flours, oat flour gives its baked products a moist and crumblier texture. To make a high-quality baked product, you may need to adjust some ingredients since oat flour lacks gluten. This will ensure that your products are fluffy. It is also beneficial for your body by providing beta-glucan. This is a soluble fiber with several health benefits, including lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, reducing blood sugar, and reducing insulin resistance. Additionally, oat flour is also high in protein, several B vitamins, magnesium, and phosphorus. Avenanthramides which are antioxidants, are also found in oat flours.
7. Brown Rice Flour
This is simply made by grinding brown rice. Like corn flour, brown rice flour is also made with whole-grain rice. It’s a good gluten-free alternative flour in making roux and breaded foods. It is high in protein and fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, manganese, iron, zinc, and plant compounds known as lignans.
Gluten is a type of protein that some people are not comfortable with. For that reason, they avoid it to avoid adverse health complications. To do so, they can use gluten-free flours in baking. Oat, corn, buckwheat, and brown rice flours are some of the best gluten-free flours.