Flour is a pantry staple used for making desserts, baked goods, casseroles, and pasta. Yet, some types of flour are healthier than others. For example, white and all-purpose flours are less healthy, as they’re refined to remove the bran and germ, which store most of its fiber and nutrients, from the wheat. As such, many people are interested in replacing white flour with more wholesome options for baking and cooking. In fact, some popular flours aren’t made from grains at all, but rather nuts or seeds. Healthy flours are more widely available today than ever before. Traditional flours are made from wheat, but many others come from nuts and naturally gluten-free grains, such as coconut, quinoa, almonds, and buckwheat. Each kind offers a unique taste and nutrient profile.
Coconut flour is a grain- and gluten-free flour made by grinding dried coconut meat into a soft, fine powder. It’s more calorie-dense than traditional grain-based flours and a good source of protein, fat, fiber, and minerals like iron and potassium. Unlike grain flours, coconut flour contains a substantial amount of fat. This fat is primarily saturated and largely comprised of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which may reduce inflammation and support healthy metabolism. Although it’s controversial, saturated fat from coconut likely affects your health differently than fast food, fried foods, and processed meats — and may even offer benefits. Coconut flour is also rich in antioxidants and appears to have antimicrobial properties. A 1/2-cup (64-gram) serving provides: Calories: 210, Protein: 8.5 grams, Fat: 13 grams, Carbs: 34 grams, Fiber: 25 grams, Iron: 22% of the Daily Value (DV), Potassium: 18% of the DV. Coconut flour has a mildly sweet flavor that lends itself to cakes, cookies, breads, and other baked goods. It tends to have a gritty texture and absorb a lot of liquid, which may dry out some baked goods. Thus, it works best in dishes that use eggs to maintain moisture and structure, such as muffins.