Coconuts are actually NOT nuts, and coconut flour is rich with nutritional properties from protein to manganese, and may also aid in weight loss.
Coconut flour is an increasingly popular alternative to wheat flour for adding variety to baked goods and batters, and for those avoiding grains and or gluten. While coconuts are called nuts, they are not actually nuts. They are the monocot seed of the palm family. The coconut palm or cocos nucifera is a member of the Arecaceae family, which also includes acai berries, dates, and other drupe fruits grown in tropical and subtropical regions.
Coconut flour is definitely a delicious, healthy alternative to wheat and other grain flours. Ground from dried coconut meat, coconut flour is high in fiber and low in digestible carbohydrates. Here are the six things you need to know.
1. Coconut flour is rich in protein, fiber (just 2 tbsp delivers 5 grams of fiber) and fat, which makes it exceptionally filling and satisfying.
2. Coconut flour is an exceptionally good source of manganese, which helps you to better utilize many nutrients including choline and biotin (found in eggs), vitamin C and thiamin. Manganese also supports bone health, nervous system function, thyroid health and helps to maintain optimal blood sugar levels.
3. Coconut flour is also a good source of lauric acid, a saturated fat thought to support the immune system and possibly even the thyroid. Like most healthy fats, lauric acid also promotes good skin health.
4. Can using coconut flour help with weight loss? Studies to date are inconclusive; but the hypotheses are that the coconut oil contained within the flour helps to stimulate the metabolism, burning more calories and helping with weight loss and energy levels. Most of the fats within coconut are medium chain and can be used immediately by the body as energy.
5. Coconuts are a dense source of caprylic acid, which is known to have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
6. Coconut flour is extraordinarily absorbent and thus very little coconut flour is needed to successfully produce a recipe. In baked goods, you generally want to substitute 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup coconut flour for 1 cup grain-based flour. You will also need to increase the number of eggs. It’s best to follow recipes, as using coconut flour in baking requires more precise measurements. On the other hand, if you are frying or sautéing and need to dredge meats or vegetables, you can use coconut flour in an amount that is equivalent to wheat flour.