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The Top 5 Healthiest Flours for Every Purpose

Updated: Mar 10, 2022


So, March is in fact National Flour Month! I do love how there is a national day for absolutely EVERYTHING these days! But they do get me thinking, which isn't a bad thing. And a question I do get asked at times, is which flour is the healthiest flour to use in baking and cooking. Are all flours equal? What are the difference between them? There is such a wide range from coconut to wholemeal, it can get rather overwhelming and confusing!


Most of us are aware the white and all-purpose flours are less healthy, as they’re refined and remove the bran and germ, which store most of its fibre and nutrients, from the wheat.

As such, many people are interested in replacing white flour with more wholesome options for baking and cooking, which is great! But which one?

Some of the more popular flours aren’t made from grains at all, but rather nuts or seeds.

Here are 5 of the healthiest flours for every purpose, plus their nutrient profiles.


1, Coconut Flour


Coconut flour is gluten-free and a good source of fat, protein, fibre, and antioxidants. It’s more calorie-dense than traditional grain-based flours

Unlike grain flours, coconut flour contains a substantial amount of fat. This fat is primarily saturated and largely comprised of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), with mounting evidence to show this may be beneficial to people developing or already with memory impairment, as in Alzheimer's disease and in the treatment of obesity, dyslipidaemia, elevated cholesterol, insulin resistance and hypertension. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25997382/


Nutritional properties:


A 64-gram serving provides :

  • Calories: 210

  • Protein: 8.5 grams

  • Fat: 13 grams

  • Carbs: 34 grams

  • Fibre: 25 grams

Good for:

It's mildly sweet flavour works best in baked goods like cakes, cookies, and muffins


Top tips:

It absorbs a lot of liquid, which may dry out some baked goods.

When substituting coconut flour for wheat flour, use about 1/4 of what the recipe calls for, then replace the remaining 3/4 with another type of flour.

Additionally, because it needs more liquid than other flours, add 1 egg per 32 grams of coconut flour in baked goods.


2. Almond Flour


Almond flour is grain- and gluten-free, as well as a good source of protein, omega-3 unsaturated fat, magnesium, and vitamin E- a powerful antioxidant Keep in mind that almonds, like other nuts and seeds, are high in calories.


The nutrients in this flour offer several benefits, such as improved insulin resistance, as well as lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and blood pressure. Almonds may also protect brain health, as vitamin E may reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-almonds


Nutritional Properties:


A 56-gram serving of almond flour offers:

  • Calories: 340

  • Protein: 12 grams

  • Fat: 30 grams

  • Carbs: 12 grams

  • Fibre: 4 grams

Good to use for:


Its nutty flavor suits a wide range of baked goods like pancakes, cookies, scones and biscuits and savory dishes, like homemade pasta and meatballs.


Top tips:

In most recipes, you can simply substitute almond flour for wheat flour at an equal ratio.


3. Quinoa Flour


Quinoa is often thought of as a grain, but is in fact a seed. It's gluten-free and provides a flour that’s high in protein, iron, fibre, and unsaturated fats. Furthermore, it boasts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that may benefit digestive health, inhibit tumor growth, and lower overall disease risk


Nutritional Properties:

A 56-gram serving of quinoa flour provides:

  • Calories: 200

  • Protein: 8 grams

  • Fat: 2 grams

  • Carbs: 38 grams

  • Fibre: 6 grams

Good to use for:

It gives a fluffy texture to baked goods, such as pancakes and muffins as well as pizza and pie crusts, in addition to serving as a thickener for soups and sauces.


Top Tips:

Quinoa flour lends a moist, tender texture to baked goods. Substitute it for half the amount of wheat flour in most recipes.

Some people find this flour bitter, but you can diminish the aftertaste by toasting it on a dry skillet over medium heat for 5–10 minutes, stirring gently, before adding it to your recipe. A bit of a faff maybe?


4. Buckwheat Flour


Buckwheat flour is rich in fibre, protein, and numerous minerals, like magnesium, copper, iron and phosphorus . Despite its name, buckwheat is unrelated to wheat and therefore gluten-free. It is in fact a seed.

Research shows that this flour may help with bone health and energy levels, reduce blood sugar in people with diabetes https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17645626/

And help reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.


A 60-gram serving of buckwheat flour offers:

  • Calories: 200

  • Protein: 4 grams

  • Fat: 2 grams

  • Carbs: 44 grams

  • Fibre: 6 grams

Good for:

Buckwheat flour has an earthy flavor and is used to make traditional Japanese soba noodles. It works well in pancakes and bread as well as being a tasty addition to baked goods and crumb coatings.


Top tips:

For best results, buckwheat flour should be used in combination with other whole grain flours, comprising 25–50% of the total flour in a recipe.


5. Wholewheat Flour


Whole wheat flour is rich in protein, fibre, and several minerals, especially compared with refined white flour which removes the most nutrient-rich parts — the bran and germ.

Thus, whole wheat flour is widely considered healthier.

As it contains gluten, it isn’t appropriate for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.


Nutritional properties:


A 60-gram serving of 100% whole wheat flour provides :

  • Calories: 200

  • Protein: 8 grams

  • Fat: 0 grams

  • Carbs: 42 grams

  • Fibre: 8 grams


Good to use for:

It’s extremely versatile and can be used in numerous baked goods and doughs. You can enjoy it in homemade breads, muffins, cakes, cookies, rolls, pizza dough, pancakes, and waffles.


Top tips:

Whole wheat flour can be used in equal amounts as white or all-purpose flour in any recipe. Bear in mind that it gives a less fluffy texture than white flour because it’s unrefined.


Bottom line...

Healthy flours are more widely available today than ever before. There is certainly no need to stick to the usual but nutritionally inept white flour option!

Traditional flours are made from wheat, but many others come from nuts, grains and seeds such as coconut, quinoa, almonds, and buckwheat. Each kind offers a unique taste and nutrient profile.

Almond Flour has the highest calories and Fats by a long shot.

The other 4 flours have pretty similar calorie scoring.

Wholewheat flour has the lowest fat content at zero (compared to 30g for Almond Flour)

Coconut Flour has the highest Fibre content .

But they all have a range of other health benefits too!

The best thing is to have a bit of fun experimenting and finding out which flour suits you best!


Happy Baking!


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2 Comments


Huge thanks for the info on baking and the different flours, even tho I bake I have always used the traditional ones, so I will definitely be trying these. Brilliant post xxx 🎂🍪🍩

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Jennie Bradley
Jennie Bradley
Mar 18, 2021
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Glad you found it helpful!

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