Coconuts aren't just for bikinis and tropical drinks anymore. Their oil is touted for its good fats and great moisturizing, and that's not their only healthy byproduct. When coconut meat is dehydrated, defatted and ground into a fine powder, a miraculous substitution food is produced: coconut flour. Replace your regular baking flour with 15 to 25 percent coconut flour, or add heaping tablespoons to smoothies, cereals and drinks to reap its amazing health benefits.
Coconut flour consists of 58 percent fiber, giving it the highest level of fiber on the flour market. It even makes wheat bran, with its 27 percent fiber content, look pitiful.
The glycemic index, or GI, ranks carbs by the effect they have on your blood sugar. Small fluctuations in blood sugar are fine; large fluctuations are trouble. Coconut flour has a low glycemic index, which means it'll keep you fuller for longer and give you steady, balanced energy.
Yes, it's the diet catch-phrase of the new millennium: low-carb. For those jumping on the low-carb bandwagon, coconut flour has less digestible (or net) carbs than all the other flours on the market. This is part of what makes it so glycemic-friendly.
For those who want to cut back on sugar, coconut flour comes with an added bonus: its mildly sweet, coconut-y taste. Of course, you'll still want to add sugar to desserts (or even better, a natural sweetener like agave), but you may be able to get away with less.
Gluten is an important protein found in wheat (and other grains), but a significant number of people are allergic to it. Since wheat flour is used as a base for a huge number of recipes, finding a flour alternative is very important for those with allergies. Coconut flour is absolutely free of gluten.
- Photo Credit flickr.com
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