The 14 best gluten-free flours



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By Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD

Flour is a common ingredient in many foods, including breads, desserts and noodles. It is also often used as a thickener in sauces and soups.


Most products are made from white flour or wheat. Although this is not a problem for many, people with celiac disease, sensitivity to non-celiac gluten or people who avoid gluten for other reasons should not consume these two types of flour.

Fortunately, there is a variety of gluten-free flours on the market, each with a different taste, texture and nutritional composition.

Here are the 14 best gluten-free flours.

1. Almond Flour

Almond flour is one of the most common cereal and gluten-free flours. It is made of blanched and crushed almonds, which means that the skin has been removed.

A cup of almond flour contains about 90 almonds and has a nutty taste. It is commonly used in bakery products and can be a grain-free alternative to bread crumbs.

It can usually be replaced by a 1: 1 ratio in place of ordinary flour or wheat flour. If you cook with this type of flour, use an extra egg. Note that the dough will be thicker and your final product more dense.

Almond flour contains many minerals, including iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, copper and manganese. It's also a good source of vitamin E and monounsaturated fat.

However, its fat content increases the number of calories to 640 per cup, or 200 calories more than wheat flour (1, 2, 3).

Although almonds and all nuts are naturally gluten-free, it is still important to read the package to confirm that the flour has not been prepared in a facility where gluten is processed.

summary

Almond flour is a nutritious substitute for gluten-containing flours and can be used in a variety of cooking recipes.

2. Buckwheat Flour

Buckwheat may contain the word "wheat", but it's not a grain of wheat and it does not contain gluten. It belongs to the family of pseudo-cereals, a group of cereals consumed as cereals but not belonging to the graminaceous family.

Buckwheat flour has a rich, earthy taste and is perfect for baking quick breads and yeast.

Because of its lack of gluten, it tends to be friable. To make a quality product, it can be combined with other gluten-free flours, such as brown rice flour.

It contains a variety of B vitamins and is rich in minerals such as iron, folate, magnesium, zinc, manganese and fiber. Buckwheat flour also contains many antioxidants, including polyphenol rutin, which has anti-inflammatory properties (4, 5, 6, 7).

Buckwheat can be contaminated with gluten-containing foods during processing, transportation or when used as a rotational crop with wheat. Make sure you look for certified gluten-free products on the label to be sure.

summary

Buckwheat flour is rich in fiber and nutrients and contains antioxidants that help the body fight off inflammation.

3. Sorghum Flour

Sorghum flour is made from an ancient cereal grown for over 5,000 years. The grain is naturally gluten-free and is considered the fifth largest cereal grain in the world (8).

It has a clear color and texture, as well as a sweet and sweet flavor. Considered a heavy or dense flour, it is often mixed with other gluten-free flours or used in recipes requiring small amounts of flour.

The sorghum grain is rich in fiber and protein, which can help slow the absorption of sugar. It also contains an abundance of mineral iron and antioxidants that help fight inflammation (9, 10, 11).

Sorghum flour can be contaminated with gluten during processing. Look for the certified gluten-free label.

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Research suggests that sorghum flour contains nutrients that can help reduce inflammation and balance blood sugar.

4. amaranth flour

Like amaranth, amaranth is considered a pseudo-cereal. It is a group of more than 60 grains that were once considered a staple in the Inca, Mayan and Aztec civilizations.

Amaranth has a earthy and nutty flavor and tends to take on the flavor of the other ingredients. It can replace 25% of wheat flour but must be combined with other flours when cooking. The best use of this type of flour is the making of tortillas, pie crusts and bread.

It is rich in fiber, protein and micronutrients: manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and selenium. These nutrients contribute to brain function, bone health, and DNA synthesis (12, 13, 14, 15).

If you have gluten intolerance, be sure to read the labels. Amaranth transformed in the same facilities as wheat may contain traces of gluten.

summary

Amaranth flour is rich in nutrients that play a role in brain health, bone and DNA synthesis.

5. Teff Flour

The teff is the smallest grain in the world and is 1/100 the size of a grain of wheat.

It comes in a variety of colors, ranging from white to red to dark brown. The light colors have a sweet flavor, while the darker shades have a more earthy taste.

Teff flour has been used traditionally for the manufacture of the injera, a fermented Ethiopian bread and similar to leaven. It is now also used for other foods such as pancakes, cereals, bread and snacks. It can replace 25 to 50% wheat or all-purpose flour.

Teff flour is rich in protein, which promotes a feeling of fullness and can help reduce cravings (16, 17).

Its high fiber content can help manage blood sugar levels, reduce appetite and promote weight loss (18, 19).

In addition, it contains more calcium than any other grain and is the only ancient grain containing vitamin C (20, 21).

As with any grain, to make sure your teff flour is 100% gluten free, look where it has been processed.

summary

Teff is the smallest grain in the world. Nevertheless, its flour is packed with a nutritional punch.

6. Flour of marante

Arroche marante flour is a less common gluten-free and grain-free powder. It is made from a starchy substance extracted from a tropical plant known as the Maranta arundinacea.

This flour is versatile and can be used as a thickener or mixed with almond, coconut or tapioca flour for bread and dessert recipes. If you want a crisp and crispy product, use it alone.

This flour is rich in potassium, vitamin B and iron. Studies have shown that it can stimulate immune cells and enhance immune function (22, 23).

summary

The starch-based fern flour can be a good thickener or be mixed with other flours to create bread products. It could even give an immune boost.

7. brown rice flour

Brown rice flour is made from ground brown rice. It is considered a whole grain flour and contains bran, germ and endosperm.

It has a nutty taste and can be used to make roux, thicken sauces or prepare breaded dishes, such as fish and chicken. Brown rice flour is often used to make noodles and can be combined with other gluten-free flours for bread recipes, cookies and cakes.

This flour is rich in protein and fiber, which can help reduce blood sugar levels and reduce body weight (24, 25, 26, 27).

It is also rich in iron, B vitamins, magnesium and manganese, as well as in plant compounds called lignans. Research suggests that lignans help protect against heart disease (28, 29, 30).

To avoid gluten contamination, look for brown rice flours that have not been produced at a facility that also processes wheat.

summary

Brown rice flour offers many health benefits. It can help reduce blood sugar levels, reduce body weight and protect against heart disease.

8. oatmeal

Oatmeal is obtained by grinding whole oats. It gives bakery products more taste than all-purpose flour and gives a softer and more dilapidated texture.

Baking with oatmeal will probably make your final product more humid. Due to its lack of gluten, some ingredients will need to be adjusted to create light and fluffy bakery products.

Oat contains a type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which has many health benefits. This fiber can help reduce "bad" LDL cholesterol, as well as blood sugar and insulin levels (31, 32, 33).

They are also rich in other nutrients such as protein, magnesium, phosphorus, B vitamins and the antioxidant group avenanthramides (34, 35, 36, 37).

Oats and oatmeal are often prone to contamination, depending on how they were grown and where they were processed. If you can not eat gluten, be sure to look for certified gluten-free products.

summary

Oatmeal provides soluble fiber and antioxidants that can help protect against heart disease and lower blood sugar levels. Note that it can be contaminated with gluten.

9. corn flour

Corn flour is a very finely ground version of cornmeal. Cornmeal is made from the whole seed, including bran, germ and endosperm.

It is commonly used as a thickener for liquids and can be used to make tortillas and bread.

Corn flour is available in white and yellow varieties and can be combined with other gluten-free flours to form a pizza crust.

It is rich in fiber and is a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin for carotenoids. Both of these plant compounds act as antioxidants and may be beneficial to eye health by reducing age-related macular degeneration and reducing the risk of cataracts (38, 39, 40).

It is also rich in vitamin B6, thiamine, manganese, magnesium and antioxidant selenium (41).

Corn belongs to a branch of the family of grasses different from that of wheat, barley and rye rich in gluten. Cross-contamination is generally more likely in processed foods made from corn flour. Even corn bread can contain ordinary flour.

summary

Cornmeal is a whole grain flour, providing fiber and antioxidants that can be beneficial to the health of the eyes.

10. Chickpea flour

Chickpeas are part of the legume family. Chickpea flour is made from dry chickpeas and is also known as chickpea flour, chickpea flour and besan.

Chickpeas have a nutty taste and a grainy texture and are popular in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. Chickpea flour is used for the production of falafel, hummus and flatbread socca.

It is a good source of fiber-based protein and plants. These nutrients work together to slow down digestion, promote fullness, and manage body weight (42, 43, 44, 45).

Chickpea flour also contains many minerals, magnesium and potassium, both of which play a positive role in improving heart health (46, 47, 48).

Cross-contamination can occur with some manufactured foods based on other gluten-containing flours.

summary

As a legume, chickpea flour contains protein, fiber and other plant-based nutrients that can protect against heart disease.

11. Coconut Flour

Coconut flour is made from dried coconut meat and offers a sweet coconut flavor.

Its light texture gives results similar to those of ordinary flour and is perfect for baking bread and desserts. Note that coconut flour absorbs much more water than ordinary flour or almond.

It is rich in saturated fatty lauric acid. This medium chain triglyceride can provide energy to your body and help reduce the "bad" LDL cholesterol in combination with the fiber content of the flour (49, 50).

Research suggests that its fiber content can help maintain a healthy blood glucose level because it does not cause them to peak (51).

Coconut flour is a good option for those who are allergic to nuts and gluten. It can be contaminated during the treatment phase, so be sure to look at where your flour has been produced.

summary

Complete with healthy saturated fiber and fats, coconut flour is a good option for people with food allergies.

12. tapioca flour

Tapioca flour is made from the starchy liquid extracted from the South American cassava root.

This flour is used as a thickener in soups, sauces and pies and has no discernible taste or taste. It can also be used in combination with other gluten-free flours in bread recipes.

Apart from carbohydrates, tapioca flour has little nutritional value in the form of fiber, protein or micronutrients. In fact, it is considered inferior to other whole grain flours, gluten-free and often considered empty calories (52, 53).

One of the health benefits of tapioca flour is its resistant starch content, which functions as a fiber. Resistant to digestion, this starch is associated with an improvement in insulin sensitivity, a drop in blood sugar, a loss of appetite and other digestive benefits (54, 55 , 56, 57).

If you are on a gluten-free diet, make sure that the tapioca flour is not associated with another gluten-containing meal.

summary

Low in overall nutrients, tapioca flour is a good choice of grain-free, gluten-free, and nut-free flour for thickening liquids and for use in bakery products. It can also offer digestive benefits.

13. Cassava flour

Cassava is a root vegetable or a starchy tuber originating in South America. This is also known as yuca.

Unlike tapioca flour, which consists of a starchy liquid extracted from the cassava root, cassava flour is obtained by grating and drying the entire root.

This flour is gluten-free, cereal-free and nut-free.

It is very similar to white flour and can easily be used in recipes requiring all-purpose flour. It has a neutral flavor and is easy to digest. It also contains fewer calories than coconut flours or almonds.

Cassava flour is mainly composed of carbohydrates. Similar to tapioca flour, it also provides a resistant starch, which has various benefits for the digestive system (54, 55, 56, 57).

Some research suggests that the resistant starch content of this type of flour could help reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. Note that treating the cassava root can decrease the levels of resistant starch present in the flour (58, 59, 60).

Since cassava flour can be used alone in food products, it is less likely to be contaminated. However, it is always important to look at where the product has been processed.

summary

Cassava flour without gluten, without cereals and without nuts is a good choice for people with food allergies. Its resistant starch content can also offer some digestive benefits.

14. Tigernut flour

Despite its name, tiger flour is not nut-based. Tigernuts are small root vegetables that grow in North Africa and the Mediterranean.

Tigernut flour has a nutty flavor that is well suited to baked goods. Its sweetness allows you to reduce the amount of sugar in your recipe.

Note that it is slightly coarser than white flour and probably gives more textured products.

A quarter cup contains 10 grams of fiber, which can help lower cholesterol. Tinnitus flour is also rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, iron, phosphorus, potassium and vitamins E and C (44, 61, 62, 63).

More recent in the gluten-free market, few companies produce this flour. The risk of contamination by gluten is low because tiger nuts are not based on cereals.

summary

Rich in nutrients, tigernut flour offers a simple alternative to white flour in baked goods.

The final result

There are a variety of healthy and gluten free alternatives to plain flour or wheat flour for people with celiac disease, those who are sensitive to non-celiac gluten or those who avoid gluten for other reasons.

Some gluten-free flours contain more nutrients than others, making them healthier choices to include in your diet.

Many gluten-free flours require recipe adjustments or a combination of different types of gluten-free flours to create a tasty final product. Make sure to evaluate your recipe.

If you choose or need gluten-free flour, compare the nutrients, taste and composition of the recipe before choosing your flour.

Republished with the permission of our media partner Healthline.

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