Every year we get a wealth of new information telling us the best ways to stay healthy for the long run. While the team at Sackett & Associates Insurance Services are here to help in emergencies with individual health insurance and group employee benefits, we like to help our clients and neighbors enjoy great living every day. We were surprised to learn that the old pantry stand-by of plain white flour is not quite so wholesome as we thought. In fact, we might be choosing all-purpose white flour instead of some options that offer a range of benefits with all of the same great taste
Making Flour Perfectly White
The beautiful white flour typically used in baking is actually the result of a very long process that strips the wheat grain of its inherent nutrients. Wheat has fiber, protein, and other nutrients but these are almost entirely removed through intensive milling and bleaching. After the bran and other structures have been removed, all that remains is a starch that is quickly converted into sugar inside the body. The result is a spike in blood sugar, which can lead to excessive insulin production and weight gain. Even cardiovascular problems such as artery hardening have been connected to the effects produced by plain white flour.
What Alternatives Are There?
Luckily, as people have become more and more aware of white flour’s unhealthy properties, a wide variety of alternatives have appeared on store shelves. It is now possible to find many different flour varieties at your favorite neighborhood grocer instead of just at distant specialty stores. Next time you are at the supermarket, watch for some of these:
- Coconut flour – A low-carb flour rich in fiber and naturally gluten-free that can be used in muffins, biscuits, pancakes, or as the coating for pork chops and fish.
- Oat flour – A low-fat flour with lots of fiber; add to your favorite bread, pancake, or muffin recipes. If you cannot find oat flour at the store, make your own by blending uncooked oatmeal into a fine powder.
- Whole wheat flour – The color of white flour is part of what has made it so appealing, but now you can get attractive baked goods with the nutritional properties of whole wheat – just look for white whole wheat flour.
- Chickpea – This high-fiber, protein-rich flour is a natural fit for savory baked goods like crackers and bread; it is also gluten-free.
There are many other great alternatives to traditional white flour that you can try in your cooking. A quick internet search will give you a wealth of recipes that taste great and require no more work than the preparations you are used to. For more information on health insurance coverage, please call us at 707-823-3689.