How Coconut Flour is made
Coconut Flour is made from fresh organic coconut meat. The meat is dried and defatted and then finely ground into a powder very similar in consistency to wheat flour and is a great as a low-carb, high-fibre, gluten-free alternative to wheat flour for baking and cooking
The benefits of Coconut Flour
- Coconut Flour is a low carb flour. It is ideal for baking low – carb breads and baked goods. It has fewer digestible (net) carbs than any other flour. It even has fewer digestible carbs than most vegetables.
- Coconut Flour is a good source of protein. It has as much protein as wheat flour but it has none of the specific protein in wheat called "gluten". This is an advantage for a growing percentage of the population that have developed an allergy to gluten or a wheat sensitivity.
- Coconut Flour is high in fibre. It contains 38.5% fibre which is the highest percentage of dietary fibre found in any flour. Coconut flour contains almost 3 times as much fibre as soy flour. It is also free of the nutrient-binding Phytic Acid found in grain fibres which can reduce the body’s absorption of key nutrients.
- Coconut Flour can be used to make breads, cakes, pies, and other baked goods. Use 15-25% in place of other flours in most standard recipes. A variety of delicious baked goods can also be made using 100% coconut flour.
- Coconut Flour is gluten-free and hypoallergenic. It is ideal for those who follow a low – carb eating plan. It works well as part of a weight loss program because it’s high fibre content helps provide a feeling of satiety.
- Blood Sugar and Diabetes Coconut Flour has minimal effects on blood sugar levels and does not give blood sugar spikes like many other more processed flours do. Blood sugar is an important issue for anyone who is concerned about heart disease, overweight, hypoglycaemia, and especially diabetes because it affects all of these conditions.
Using coconut flour:
Enjoy it as a protein-packed porridge; add a spoonful to your breakfast cereal or muesli; stir a little into smoothies; or simply sprinkle it over your food.
High Fibre for Good Health
According to The Australian Heart Foundation most Australians need to increase their fibre intake. (The average adult consumes 18–25g compared to the recommended 30g.)
Fibre can improve digestion, help regulate blood sugar, protect against diabetes, help prevent heart disease and cancer, and aid in weight loss.
Coconut flour contains soluble and insoluble fibre, both of which are important to a healthy diet. Coconut flour has the highest fibre content of any flour and the lowest amount of digestible carbohydrates, fewer even than most vegetables. (Carbohydrates mainly composed of fibre are not absorbed by the body).
Coconut flour is also free of nutrient-binding Phytic Acid (often called an anti-nutrient) - a problem with grain-derived fibre.
Australian scientists from the Garvan Institute say that insoluble dietary fibre, or roughage, not only keeps you regular but also plays a vital role in the immune system, keeping certain diseases at bay.
The indigestible part of all plant-based foods pushes its way through most of the digestive tract unchanged, acting as a kind of internal broom. When it arrives in the colon, bacteria convert it to energy and compounds known as ‘short chain fatty acids’. These are already known to alleviate the symptoms of colitis, an inflammatory gut condition.
Regular use of Coconut flour is an excellent way to increase your daily fibre intake.
Just two level tablespoons a day will give you an additional 8 grams of fibre. (It’s best to build up gradually.)
Gluten-free balanced protein
Coconut Flour is a rich source of balanced protein containing all 8 essential amino acids. With almost 20% protein it has far more than wholemeal grain flours do and none of the gluten. This is great news for those who have developed an allergy to gluten or a sensitivity to wheat.
In an attempt to solve the problem of gluten intolerance and food allergies food manufacturers have developed a variety of wheat-free or low-carb breads and flours made from soy, beans and nuts. Many of these alternatives to wheat are expensive and don’t taste good unless they are loaded with flavour enhancers and sweeteners. Coconut flour is a much better and far healthier alternative.
Fibre Assists Weight Management
Since you cannot digest dietary fibre, you do not derive any calories from it. Fibre absorbs water like a sponge, helping to fill the stomach and to produce a feeling of fullness. It also slows down the emptying of the stomach, which maintains the feeling of fullness longer than do low-fibre foods. Thus, less food and fewer fat-promoting calories are consumed.
Studies have shown that consumption of an additional 14 grams of fibre a day is associated with a 10 per cent decrease in calorie intake and a loss in body weight.
Blood Sugar and Diabetes
Blood sugar is an important issue for anyone who is concerned about heart disease, overweight, hypoglycaemia, and especially diabetes because it affects all of these conditions.
Diabetics are encouraged to eat foods that have a relatively low glycaemic index. The glycaemic index is a measure of how foods affect blood sugar levels. The higher the glycaemic index, the greater the effect a food has in raising blood sugar.
Diabetics need to eat foods with a low glycaemic index. When coconut flour is added to foods, including those high in starch and sugar, it lowers the glycaemic index of these foods. This was clearly demonstrated by T. P. Trinidad and colleagues in a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2003. In their study, both normal and diabetic subjects were given a variety of foods to eat. These included muesli bars, carrot cake, and brownies—all foods that a diabetic normally limits because of their high sugar and starch content. It was found that as the coconut flour content of the foods increased, the blood sugar response of the diabetic and non-diabetic subjects became nearly identical. In other words, coconut flour moderated the release of sugar into the bloodstream so that there was no spike in blood glucose levels.
Using Coconut Flour
Enjoy it as a protein-packed porridge; add a spoonful to your breakfast cereal and to smoothies; or simply sprinkle it over your food. Get creative and use it to bake delicious muffins, biscuits, cakes and breads.
Coconut works differently to wheat flour in standard recipes because it has no gluten and it is highly absorbent. Coconut flour cannot be substituted 100% for wheat or other flours in standard recipes because the lack of gluten means the baked product tends to be very crumbly and does not hold together. A proportion of about 20% coconut flour to 80% plain flour works well and this still increases the fibre content considerably. However, special gluten-free recipes have been developed which use only coconut flour – and they are delicious. These are available in books such as Cooking with Coconut Flour by Bruce Fife. A selection of tried and tested recipes is also available on our website. You can also read more in this article on Coconut Flour by Bruce Fife (112Kb) or download a PDF with more coconut flour recipes