Flour Nutritional Facts

Nutritional Advantages | All About Gluten

 

Nutritional Advantages of Various Types of Flour

Most types of flour are composed mainly of carbohydrates, but the quantity varies according to the type of substance used to create the flour. Some types of flour (especially those ground from nuts) contain more fat and protein than carbohydrate, which is why it is difficult to produce nut flours that are as dry and finely ground as flour produced from grains. Various types of flour milled from grains (especially wheat) are the types that most people are accustomed to, however flour varieties ground from seeds, legumes, tubers, and nuts are often used and have an equal number of nutritional benefits. The table below describes key nutrients present in various types of flour.

Description Key Nutrients

Amaranth Flour

Amaranth flour contains more fiber and iron than wheat and it is a good source of calcium. Amaranth flour is high in protein and when it is used in combination with other flours (such as wheat), the protein value is as beneficial as fish or poultry.

  • Protein
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Gluten free

Arrowroot Flour

Arrowroot flour is high in fiber and is easily digestible, so it is often used in breads and biscuits for small children. It is gluten free so it is a beneficial substitute for individuals allergic to gluten (celiac disease).

  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Gluten free

Barley Flour

Flour produced from whole barley is much more nutritious than flour ground from pearled barley because the bran is left intact. Whole barley flour is considered an excellent ingredient for providing soluble fiber, which helps to reduce cholesterol in the blood.

  • Soluble fiber
  • Niacin
  • Iron

Buckwheat Flour

Buckwheat flour is a rich source of nutrients and it is gluten free. In spite of its name, buckwheat is not a type of wheat, but is actually an herb plant related to rhubarb. Buckwheat flour is an excellent wheat flour substitute for people who are allergic to gluten (celiac disease).

  • Protein
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorous
  • B vitamins
  • Iron
  • Gluten free

Corn Flour

Corn flour is a good source of several important nutrients. It also contains protein, but not to the same degree as many other types of flour. Since it is gluten free, it is an excellent wheat substitute for people who are allergic to gluten.

  • Vitamin A
  • Manganese
  • Potassium
  • Gluten free

Flaxseed Flour

Like whole flaxseed, the flour is equally nutritious. It is an excellent source of cholesterol-reducing omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fiber. It is also one of the best sources of lignin, which may play a role in fighting certain types of cancer.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Soluble fiber
  • Lignin

Job's Tears Flour

Flour milled from Job's Tears is reported to be beneficial in revitalizing the blood and nervous system.

  • Iron
  • Calcium

Kamut® Flour

Kamut grain is organically grown and the flour is highly nutritious with higher levels of protein and potassium than regular wheat. The gluten in Kamut flour is often said to be easier to digest than the gluten in wheat flour.

  • Protein
  • Potassium
  • Niacin
  • Thiamin
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Riboflavin

Millet Flour

The natural alkalinity of millet flour makes it easily digestible, so it is very beneficial for people with ulcers and digestive problems. It is also believed to be one of the least allergenic varieties of flour.

  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorous
  • Manganese
  • Zinc
  • B vitamins
  • Fiber
  • Gluten free

Oat Flour

Oat flour is very nutritious and is considered a good source of the soluble fiber betaglucan, which helps to decrease cholesterol in the blood.

  • B vitamins
  • Vitamin E
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorous
  • Calcium
  • Thiamin

Quinoa Flour

Quinoa flour is rich in protein and nutrients, especially amino acids. It contains about 17% high-quality protein, which is more than any other grain flour and is equivalent to milk in protein quality.

  • Protein
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Zinc
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Copper
  • Gluten free

Rice Flour

All types of rice flour are high in protein, but brown rice flour has a higher level of B vitamins, iron, and fiber than white rice flour because the bran is included. Since rice flour contains no gluten, it is beneficial for people who cannot tolerate gluten in their diets because of a severe allergic reaction (celiac disease).

  • Protein
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Thiamin
  • Niacin
  • Gluten free

Rye Flour

Rye flour is available in light, medium, or dark varieties, which indicates the level of bran that is incorporated into the flour. Additional bran increases the nutrient level of the flour.

  • Dietary fiber
  • Vitamin E
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Thiamin
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium

Sorghum Flour

Nutritionally, sorghum flour is similar to corn flour, but it has a higher concentration of protein. It is gluten-free so it is an excellent choice for people who are gluten intolerant.

  • Protein
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • Gluten free

Soy Flour

Flour ground from soybeans is very high in protein and low in carbohydrates. It is available in full-fat, low-fat, and defatted versions. The full-fat variety contains about 20% fat and 35% protein; the low-fat variety contains about 6% fat and nearly 45% protein; and the defatted variety contains less than 1% fat and about 50% protein. Soy flour can be added to wheat flour when making baked goods to boost the protein level.

  • Protein
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus
  • Niacin
  • Gluten free

Spelt Flour

Spelt flour contains up to 25% more protein than wheat and it is a rich source of B vitamins and fiber. It has been shown that the carbohydrates in spelt flour are useful in enhancing the immune system and in helping to clot the blood.

  • Protein
  • B Vitamins
  • Fiber
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Niacin
  • Thiamin
  • Phosphorus

Sweet Potato Flour

Sweet potato flour is high in fiber and contains a higher level of carbohydrates and lower level of protein than common wheat flour.

  • Potassium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Fiber
  • Gluten free

Teff Flour

Because the teff grain is so small, there is no way to remove the husk, bran, and germ, which means that none of the nutrients are lost when the grain is ground into flour.

  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Thiamin
  • Fiber
  • Gluten free

Triticale Flour

Because Triticale is a man-made grain created from the cross breading of wheat and rye, the flour milled from it combines the nutritional benefits of both wheat flour and rye flour.

  • Protein
  • Lysine
  • Folic acid
  • Vitamin B6
  • Iron
  • Thiamin
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
  • Fiber

Wheat Flour

There are many forms of wheat flour, but whole-wheat varieties are the most nutritious. It can be added to white flour to improve the nutritional value. Studies have shown that the insoluble fiber in wheat bran may help fight colon cancer and at very least it is beneficial for the digestion.

  • Protein
  • Fiber
  • Iron
  • B vitamins
  • Thiamin
  • Niacin
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Zinc


All About Gluten

Gluten is the substance that gives dough its elasticity, strength, and makes the dough rise. Wheat has a high level of gluten. When baked goods are made with various types of non-gluten flour, wheat flour is often added so that the dough is able to rise effectively. Many types of flour milled from various grains, seeds, legumes, tubers, and nuts do not contain gluten.

Gluten forms only when liquid is added to flour causing a reaction of the insoluble proteins gliadin and glutenin. Gliadin has the consistency of syrup when it is combined with water and glutenin becomes very rubbery. The combination of the two is what gives dough its sticky and elastic qualities. The quantities of these proteins are highest in flour milled from wheat, but the level is also high in barley, rye, and triticale. Grains related to wheat, such as spelt and kamut®, also contain the proteins necessary to form gluten.

Breads and baked goods made solely with non-gluten flour have different characteristics than baked goods made with gluten flour. The texture is much more dense and crumbly because the dough made with gluten-free flour does not rise. Many people prefer the dense texture. Various types of baked goods made with gluten-free flour are also full of flavor and some have even better nutritional profiles than baked goods made with gluten flour.

Some individuals have an allergic reaction to gluten and therefore must not consume products containing gluten. Some non-gluten flours that can be safely consumed by gluten-intolerant individuals are rice (brown and white), potato, chickpea, quinoa, cornmeal, soy, sorghum, and buckwheat.

Besides breads and pasta, which are the most obvious foods containing gluten, there are many other products that may contain gluten that are not so obvious. Foods as varied as distilled vinegar to canned soups may contain gluten, so reading the label is very important to ensure that a product is gluten-free and has been processed in a gluten-free environment (even small traces of gluten contamination in a manufacturing environment can be transferred to other foods).

Listed below are some of the not-so-obvious products that may contain gluten:

  • Dairy Products including some varieties of ice cream, some cheese spreads, and some fat-free products may contain gluten.
  • Vegetables that are breaded, creamed, or scalloped usually contain gluten.
  • Fruits that are canned may contain a thickener made with gluten.
  • Canned soups and dehydrated soup mixes often contain varying degrees of gluten.
  • Condiments that contain gluten include soy sauce, some types of ketchup and mustard, some varieties of dry spice blends, vinegar distilled from grains, some types of salad dressing, which may contain a modified starch often containing gluten, and some types of rice syrup that may contain barley malt for flavoring.
  • Candies may contain gluten if flour is one of the ingredients. To prevent candies from sticking together, some types may be dusted with flour that contains gluten even though the ingredients in the candy may be gluten-free. It is best to read the label to make sure the product was manufactured in a gluten-free environment.
  • Imitation seafood products such as imitation crabmeat may be created with binders containing gluten.
  • Extracts and Flavorings are often combined with alcohol distilled from grains that contain gluten.
  • Beverages that contain gluten include malted milk, some chocolate drinks, some flavored coffees, beer and ale, spirits distilled from grains, and some carbonated beverages, such as root beer.
  • Envelope adhesive may contain gluten so it is best not to seal envelopes by licking the glue.
  • Medications including some types of prescription and over-the-counter pills may contain gluten.

It is also important to remember that many foods prepared in restaurants that contain gluten-free ingredients may be prepared next to or on the same surfaces as high-gluten foods, so gluten contamination may be possible. An example would be using the same griddle to prepare a gluten-free food that is used for a high-gluten food, such as pancakes. If in doubt, it is best to ask when ordering certain foods in a restaurant.

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