Almond Flour/ Meal
Typically, almond flour is made from finely ground blanched almonds, while almond meal has a more coarse texture with the skins retained during grinding. Naturally gluten free and high in protein and monounsaturated fats, almond flour is the lowest carb option in this flour roundup.
Brown Rice Flour
Ground from rice with the germ and bran layers left intact, brown rice flour is a naturally gluten-free source of fiber, manganese, selenium and B vitamins.
First domesticated in Southeast Asia, buckwheat is most closely related to the rhubarb plant. With a high proportion of eight amino acids, buckwheat combined with other whole-grain flours, such as wheat or spelt, creates a complete protein. Buckwheat is a good source of fiber, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and B vitamins.
An ancient relative of wheat, most similar to durum, Kamut is an organic product that orginated in Egypt. Kamut flour is a high-gluten option that is easy to digest, so some people with wheat intolerances may be able to eat it. It also has up to 30 percent more protein than other wheat varieties and is high in potassium, B vitamins, vitamin E, zinc, magnesium and iron.
Millet was first cultivated in China thousands of years ago. It is a seed, most commonly used as a cereal in Asia and Africa. Rich in iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, manganese, zinc, B vitamins and fiber, millet has a protein content closest to that of wheat. Millet is easy to digest, naturally gluten-free and imparts a sweet taste. If it cannot be found, grind whole millet as needed using a high-speed blender or flour mill.
High in potassium, calcium, protein, and B vitamins, oats are easy to digest and exceeptionally versatile. Due to their impressive amount of soluble fiber, oats may help lower "bd" LDL cholesterol and provide long-lasting energy. If oat flour cannot be found, grind whole oats in a food processor (1 1/4 cups oats will yield one cup oat flour).
A seed originating in the Andes region of South America, quinoa is made into a flour that is rich in a multitude of minerals, B vitamins and vitamin E, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. Most importantly, quinoa contains a balanced set of amino acids, making it a complete protein source, with a protein content higher than that of any other flour. If quinoa flour cannot be found, grind whole quinoa as needed using a high-speed blender or flour mill.
An ancient grain dating back to medieval times in Europe, spelt has made a comeback as a healthy alternative to whole wheat. Although it is a species of wheat, it is easier for some with wheat intolerances to digest. A good source of protein, B vitamins and fiber, spelt also contains a type of carb that aids in blood clotting (mucopolysaccharides) and stimulate the immune system. The gluten in spelt flour is fragile, so take special care not to over-mix.
Andrea Stewart Roa, M.S.
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