By Ryan Raman
Almond flour is a popular alternative to traditional wheat flour. It's low in carbs, packed with nutrients and has a slightly sweeter taste.
This article explores the health benefits of almond flour and whether it's a better alternative to other types of flour.
What is Almond Flour?
Almond flour is made from ground almonds.
The process involves blanching almonds in boiling water to remove the skins, then grinding and sifting them into a fine flour.
Almond flour is not the same as almond meal, despite the fact that their names are sometimes used interchangeably.
Almond meal is made by grinding almonds with their skins intact, resulting in a coarser flour.
This difference is important in recipes where texture makes a big difference.
Summary: Almond flour is made from blanched almonds that are ground and sifted into a fine flour.
Almond Flour is Incredibly Nutritious
Almond flour is rich in nutrients. One ounce (28 grams) contains (3):
• Calories: 163
• Fat: 14.2 grams (9 of which are monounsaturated)
• Protein: 6.1 grams
• Carbs: 5.6 grams
• Dietary fiber: 3 grams
• Vitamin E: 35 percent of the RDI
• Manganese: 31 percent of the RDI
• Magnesium: 19 percent of the RDI
• Copper 16 percent of the RDI
• Phosphorus 13 percent of the RDI
Almond flour is particularly rich in vitamin E, a group of fat-soluble compounds that act as antioxidants in your body.
They prevent damage from harmful molecules called free radicals, which accelerate aging and increase your risk of heart disease and cancer (4).
Magnesium is another nutrient that's abundant in almond flour. It's involved in many processes in your body and may provide several benefits, including improved blood sugar control, reduced insulin resistance and lower blood pressure (10).
Summary: Almond flour is incredibly nutritious. It's particularly rich in vitamin E and magnesium, two important nutrients for health.
Almond Flour is Better for Your Blood Sugar
Foods made with refined wheat are high in carbs, but low in fat and fiber.
This can cause high spikes in blood sugar levels, followed by rapid drops, which can leave you tired, hungry and craving foods high in sugar and calories.
Conversely, almond flour is low in carbs yet high in healthy fats and fiber.
These properties give it a low glycemic index, meaning it releases sugar slowly into your blood to provide a sustained source of energy.
It's estimated that between 25–38 percent of people with type 2 diabetes have a magnesium deficiency, and correcting it through diet or supplements may significantly reduce blood sugar and improve insulin function (12, 13, 14).
In fact, almond flour's ability to improve insulin function may also apply to people without type 2 diabetes who have either low magnesium levels or normal magnesium levels but are overweight (1, 15).
This could mean that almonds' low glycemic properties and high magnesium content may help control blood sugar in people with or without type 2 diabetes.
Summary: Almond flour may be better than conventional flours for your blood sugar, as it has a low glycemic index and is rich in magnesium.
Almond Flour is Gluten-Free
Wheat flours contain a protein called gluten. It helps dough stay stretchy and capture air during baking so that it rises and becomes fluffy.
People who have celiac disease or a wheat intolerance cannot eat foods with gluten because their body mistakes it as harmful.
For these individuals, the body produces an autoimmune response to remove gluten from the body. This response results in damage to the lining of the gut and can cause symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, weight loss, skin rashes and tiredness (16).
Fortunately, almond flour is both wheat-free and gluten-free, making it a great alternative for baking for those who can't tolerate wheat or gluten.
Nevertheless, it's still important to check the packaging of almond flour you buy. While almonds are naturally gluten-free, some products may be contaminated with gluten.
Summary: Almond flour is naturally gluten-free, making it a great alternative to wheat flour for those who have celiac disease or a wheat intolerance.
Almond Flour May Help Lower LDL Cholesterol and Blood Pressure
Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide (17).
It's well known that high blood pressure and "bad" LDL cholesterol levels are risk markers for heart disease.
An analysis of five studies including 142 people found that those who ate more almonds experienced an average decrease of 5.79 mg/dl in LDL cholesterol (19).
While this finding is promising, it might have been due to other factors than simply eating more almonds.
For example, participants in the five studies did not follow the same diet. Thus, weight loss, which is also linked to lower LDL cholesterol, could have varied across the studies (20).
Although several studies show that correcting these deficiencies may help decrease blood pressure, they aren't consistent. More research is needed in this area to make stronger conclusions (23, 24, 25).
Summary: The nutrients in almond flour may help reduce LDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure. The current findings are mixed, and more research is needed before making a definite link.
How to Use Almond Flour in Baking and Cooking
Almond flour is easy to bake with. In most baking recipes, you can simply replace regular wheat flour with almond flour.
It can also be used in place of bread crumbs to coat meats like fish, chicken and beef.
The downside of using almond flour over wheat flour is that baked goods tend to be more flat and dense.
This is because the gluten in wheat flour helps dough stretch and traps more air, which helps baked goods rise.
Summary: Almond flour can replace wheat flour at a 1:1 ratio. Because almond flour lacks gluten, baked products made with it are denser and flatter than those made with wheat products.
How Does It Compare to Alternatives?
Many people use almond flour in place of popular alternatives like wheat and coconut flour. Below is information about how it compares.
Almond flour is much lower in carbs than wheat flours, but higher in fat.
Unfortunately, this means almond flour is higher in calories. However, it makes up for this by being incredibly nutritious.
One ounce of almond flour provides you with a good amount of your daily values for vitamin E, manganese, magnesium and fiber (3).
Almond flour is also gluten-free, while wheat flours are not, so it's a great option for people with celiac disease or a wheat intolerance.
In baking, almond flour can often replace wheat flour at a 1:1 ratio, although baked products made with it are flatter and denser because they lack gluten.
Phytic acid, an antinutrient, is also higher in wheat flours than almond flour, which leads to the poorer absorption of nutrients from foods.
It binds to nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron, and reduces the extent to which they can be absorbed by your gut (27).
Although almonds naturally have a high phytic acid content in their skin, almond flour does not, as it loses its skin in the blanching process.
Like wheat flours, coconut flour has more carbs and less fat than almond flour.
It also contains fewer calories per ounce than almond flour, but almond flour contains more vitamins and minerals.
Both almond flour and coconut flour are gluten-free, but coconut flour is more difficult to bake with, as it absorbs moisture very well and can make the texture of baked goods dry and crumbly.
This means you might need to add more liquid to recipes when using coconut flour.
Coconut flour is also higher in phytic acid than almond flour, which can reduce how many nutrients your body can absorb from foods that contain it.
Summary: Almond flour is lower in carbs and more nutrient-dense than wheat and coconut flours. It also has less phytic acid, which means you receive more nutrients when you eat foods containing it.
The Bottom Line
Almond flour is a great alternative to wheat-based flours.
It's incredibly nutritious and provides many potential health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease and improved blood sugar control.
Almond flour is also gluten-free, which makes it a great option for those with celiac disease or a wheat intolerance.
If you're looking for a low-carb flour that's rich in nutrients, almond flour is a great choice.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Authority Nutrition.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker vetoed a sweeping climate bill on Thursday that would have put the commonwealth on a path to eliminating carbon emissions by 2050.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Ajit Niranjan
World leaders and businesses are not putting enough money into adapting to dangerous changes in the climate and must "urgently step up action," according to a report published Thursday by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
Adaptation Has a Long Way to Go<p>The Adaptation Gap Report, now in its 5th year, finds "huge gaps" between what world leaders agreed to do under the 2015 <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/5-years-paris-climate-agreement/a-55901139" target="_blank">Paris Agreement</a> and what they need to do to keep their citizens safe from climate change.</p><p>A review by the Global Adaptation Mapping Initiative of almost 1,700 examples of climate adaptation found that a third were in the early stages of implementation — and only 3% had reached the point of reducing risks.</p><p>Disasters like storms and droughts have grown stronger than they should be because people have warmed the planet by burning fossil fuels and chopping down rainforests. The world has heated by more than 1.1 degrees Celsius since the Industrial Revolution and is on track to warm by about 3°C by the end of the century.</p><p>If world leaders <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/climate-change-performance-index-how-far-have-we-come/a-55846406" target="_blank">deliver on recent pledges</a> to bring emissions to <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/joe-bidens-climate-pledges-are-they-realistic/a-56173821" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">net-zero</a> by the middle of the century, they could almost limit warming to 2°C. The target of the Paris Agreement, however, is to reach a target well below that — ideally 1.5°C. </p><p>There are two ways, scientists say, to lessen the pain that warming will bring: mitigating climate change by cutting carbon pollution and adapting to the hotter, less stable world it brings.</p>
The Cost of Climate Adaptation<p>About three-quarters of the world's countries have national plans to adapt to climate change, according to the report, but most lack the regulations, incentives and funding to make them work.</p><p>More than a decade ago, rich countries most responsible for climate change pledged to mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020 in climate finance for poorer countries. UNEP says it is "impossible to answer" whether that goal has been met, while an OECD study published in November found that between 2013 and 2018, the target sum had not once been achieved. Even in 2018, which recorded the highest level of contributions, rich countries were still $20 billion short.</p><p>The yearly adaptation costs for developing countries alone are estimated at $70 billion. This figure is expected to at least double by the end of the decade as temperatures rise, and will hit $280-500 billion by 2050, according to the report.</p><p>But failing to adapt is even more expensive.</p><p>When powerful storms like cyclones Fani and Bulbul struck South Asia, early-warning systems allowed governments to move millions of people out of danger at short notice. Storms of similar strength that have hit East Africa, like <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/zimbabwe-after-cyclone-idai-building-climate-friendly-practices/a-54251885" target="_blank">cyclones Idai</a> and Kenneth, have proved more deadly because fewer people were evacuated before disaster struck.</p><p>The Global Commission on Adaptation estimated in 2019 that a $1.8 trillion investment in early warning systems, buildings, agriculture, mangroves and water resources could reap $7.1 trillion in benefits from economic activity and avoided costs when disasters strike.</p>
Exploring Nature-Based Solutions<p>The report also highlights how restoring nature can protect people from climate change while benefiting local communities and ecology.</p><p><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/climate-fires-risk-climate-change-bushfires-australia-california-extreme-weather-firefighters/a-54817927" target="_blank">Wildfires</a>, for instance, could be made less punishing by restoring grasslands and regularly burning the land in controlled settings. Indigenous communities from Australia to Canada have done this for millennia in a way that encourages plant growth while reducing the risk of uncontrolled wildfires. Reforestation, meanwhile, can stop soil erosion and flooding during heavy rainfall while trapping carbon and protecting wildlife.</p><p>In countries like Brazil and Malaysia, governments could better protect coastal homes from floods and storms by restoring <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/mudflats-mangroves-and-marshes-the-great-coastal-protectors/a-50628747" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">mangroves</a> — tangled trees that grow in tropical swamps. As well as anchoring sediments and absorbing the crash of waves, mangroves can store carbon, help fish populations grow and boost local economies through tourism. </p><p>While nature-based solutions are often cheaper than building hard infrastructure, their funding makes up a "tiny fraction" of adaptation finance, the report authors wrote. An analysis of four global climate funds that spent $94 billion on adaptation projects found that just $12 billion went to nature-based solutions and little of this was spent implementing projects on the ground.</p><p>But little is known about their long-term effectiveness. At higher temperatures, the effects of climate change may be so great that they overwhelm natural defenses like mangroves.</p><p>By 2050, <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/rising-sea-levels-should-we-let-the-ocean-in-a-50704953/a-50704953" target="_blank">coastal floods</a> that used to hit once a century will strike many cities every year, according to a 2019 report on oceans by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the gold standard on climate science. This could force dense cities on low-lying coasts to build higher sea walls, like in Indonesia and South Korea, or evacuate entire communities from sinking islands, like in Fiji.</p><p>It's not a case of replacing infrastructure, said Matthias Garschagen, a geographer at Ludwig Maximilian University in Germany and IPCC author, who was not involved in the UNEP report. "The case for nature-based solutions is often misinterpreted as a battle... but they're part of a toolkit that we've ignored for too long."</p>
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