Coconut flour is my latest love ! Coconut flour is best example how useful coconut is. Why I say so ? Because coconut flour is not a product but actually a by-product of making coconut oil. When oil from coconut meat is extracted the remaining material is grinded and that becomes coconut flour! Thus nothing goes waste in this process.
Okay now coming to my love for coconut flour. The reason behind it goes a few months ago when was reading about dietary fibres and how they play a very important part. I feel constipated whenever I travel for a several days at a stretch as I eat outside food. In such cases doctors often suggest extra fibre supplements (Psyllium seed husks or isabgol). When I was reading about fibre, I came to know that our flours (wheat, soy, corn, etc.) they all are source of fibre but (here was the surprise) above all these was coconut flour. I came to know that coconut flour contained much high percentage of dietary fibre as compared to any other flour.
While in India we do make dishes of coconut flour, but I had not considered it to be so amazing. Since then I am my wife find ways to add coconut flour to our diet in some way or another. Here are some details of nutrients available in coconut flour.
Nutritional value of coconut flour
Rich source of energy : Coconut flour is rich source of energy. 100 gms of coconut flour provides 443 calories, 30% more than whole wheat flour. Even full fat soy flour is just able to match its calories. Most of the energy by coconut flour is provided by carbohydrate, followed by fat. It is the presence of fat in coconut flour which accounts for its high energy as compared to wheat.
Carbohydrate and fibre : Carbohydrates are 60% of the total weight of coconut flour. This is lower than 72% in wheat flour. But coconut flour far exceeds in terms of dietary fibre which is close to 40 gms in 100 gms of coconut flour. Wheat flour just contains 13% of dietary fibre by weight. This is what I was talking about when I said it is one of the richest sources of dietary fibre. Infact if you consume 100 gms of coconut flour, you get 150% of the required daily dosage of dietary fibre!
Fats : Fats account for close to 15 of coconut flour by weight. Fats still remain in coconut flour as methods used to extract coconut oil from coconut meat are not able to fully extract the oil. Most of the fats are saturated (in same lines as coconut meat). Remember these are healthy medium chain fatty acids (also found in coconut oil) and are great for promting heart and digestuve health.
Proteins : Coconut flour has 17-18% protein by weight. This makes it a very rich source of protein ahead than whole wheat flour we use normally.
Minerals and vitamins : There are no vitamins and minerals present in coconut flour in sizeable amount to have any significance except sodium.
As I have already indicated the key role of coconut flour in your diet can be to enhance the levels of dietary fibre which are otherwise not available from today’s processed foods. Coconut flour is especially great for people who are gluten intolerant. This high fibre and gluten free flour can really help in keeping their digestion up to mark.
Using coconut flour in your diet
While there are several ways to use coconut flour in your diet, the best way to mix it with your usual flour. This ensure coconut flour remains in your diet without any extra effort. If you are not used to cooking with coconut flour, you might face a few difficulties as it absorbs much more water than other flours and thus may feel dry. But with little practise you will realize how to tackle that issue.