Which flour is the healthiest?
Flour is a staple ingredient in many dishes, from bread to baked goods, and its choice can impact the nutritional value of a meal. Due to the variety of flours available on the market, it’s important to understand their properties and their significance for health. Can we definitively determine which flour is the healthiest? In today’s article, we will attempt to find the answer.
Flour is a key ingredient in many dishes. Its type can affect not only the taste and texture of a dish but also its nutritional value. Considering the diversity of available options on the market, the question arises: which flour is truly the healthiest?
Flour – key information
Flour is a product derived from ground plant grains, primarily produced from grains. The “type” information on the flour packaging indicates the amount of minerals contained in 100 grams of the product. Let’s illustrate this with an example.
Type 500 flour means that the content of minerals in 100 grams of the product is 0.5%. In type 2000 flour, the content of mineral compounds is as high as 2%. The lower the type of flour, the more refined it will be, and therefore, it will be lighter in color and less nutritious.
Flours containing gluten
Wheat flour is rich in protein, B vitamins, and minerals such as phosphorus and magnesium. Due to its high gluten content, it is ideal for baking both cakes and bread. Gluten gives the dough elasticity and fluffiness, which is a highly desirable characteristic. The most commonly available wheat flour is type 450 or 500, which is highly processed and contains few nutrients.
This is wheat flour but derived from a different variety of wheat than traditional wheat. It has a lower glycemic index and a higher soluble fiber content, which has a beneficial effect on digestion. It can be used for baking bread, making dumplings, or other baked goods like yeast rolls.
Rye flour contains less protein and gluten than wheat flour. The nutritional value of rye flour is better than wheat flour due to its higher content of vitamins and minerals. Because of its lower glycemic index, rye flour can be a good choice for people concerned about maintaining proper blood sugar levels (e.g., those with diabetes or insulin resistance).
The term “wholemeal” usually refers to wheat or rye flour and indicates that it has been produced from grains subjected to a single milling process. Flour produced in this way contains a lot of grain husks and bran and is not uniform. As a result, it is characterized by a high content of mineral compounds such as phosphorus, zinc, copper, magnesium, B vitamins, and dietary fiber.
Gluten-free flours are an excellent solution for individuals with celiac disease or those dealing with gluten intolerance. They are prepared from grains that naturally do not contain gluten. These include buckwheat, millet (buckwheat flour), rice, corn, rice flour, amaranth, and oats.
This is the most commonly used gluten-free flour due to its versatility. It is used for making bread, pancakes, crepes, tortillas, and even cakes, such as sponge cake.
It is often used for preparing sweet dishes, such as waffles or pancakes. It is also used as one of the ingredients in gluten-free bread.
Frequently used for thickening soups and sauces. It has a neutral smell and taste, and due to its stickiness, it improves the consistency of dough for dumplings or pancakes.
Although oats do not naturally contain gluten, they can be contaminated with gluten during the production process. Therefore, it’s advisable to choose certified gluten-free flour, marked with a crossed-out sheaf symbol, especially for individuals with celiac disease.
Which flours can you use on a keto diet?
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat diet with minimal carbohydrate consumption. You can learn more about it in the article “The Ketogenic Diet – What Is It and What Are Its Principles?” Due to the carbohydrate restriction, which mainly comes from grain products, most types of flour need to be excluded from the ketogenic diet. The flours that can be used on a keto diet are coconut flour and almond flour. They are often used to prepare desserts and for breading meats.
Other types of flour
Flours made from chestnuts or legumes, such as chickpea or lentil flour, are rich in protein and fiber. They can be used to make pasta (legume flours) or desserts (chestnut flour). These are also gluten-free flours.
Which flour is the healthiest?
It’s not possible to definitively determine which flour is the healthiest because it depends on individual dietary needs. If there are no specific recommendations to exclude a particular product or product group, it’s advisable to use various types of flour in your daily diet. Dietary diversity is key to providing the body with all the necessary nutrients for proper functioning.
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