- sprouted foods
You already know that many of the most popular grain flours aren’t that great for you – like all-purpose or whole wheat flours, for example. They're also present in most processed foods, and hard to avoid unless you eat a whole foods diet.
It’s not hard to see why an easier to digest flour that offers nutrients in a more bioavailable state would be a smarter choice than traditional flours.
But what about other flours?
How does sprouted flour stack up against almond, coconut, fava, potato, or any other flours?
Is there really a reason to switch to sprouted grains and sprouted flours?
A Common Misconception About Sprouted Flours
I’ve seen a few blog posts floating around that treat sprouted flour like a wheat flour. Surprise – that’s not always the case. If you want to get the benefits of sprouted flours but can’t eat wheat, you can still find a sprouted grain flour that’s appropriate for you. The same goes for those of you who prefer flours made from nuts or legumes. They can be sprouted, too.
Even sunflower seed flour can be made with sprouted grains. Did you know that sunflower flour was a thing?
Yeah. Me neither – but now I do! I also know it’s tasty.
You don't have to turn to sprouted grains if you don't want to. If you enjoy the flavor of seed flours, indulge yourself. Just sprout them first, or buy a sprouted version. The same holds true for flours made from garbanzo beans, fava beans, or other legumes. Where potatoes are concerned, the flour made from this starchy vegetable is significantly higher in carbohydrates than sprouted flours, but it does offer some significant nutritional advantages 1 when compared to white flour. If you like potato flour, use it sometimes - just remember that it's a starchier, more carbohydrate-laden flour.
Just please, please, don't use bleached all-purpose white wheat flour...I'm begging you.
Why are Even Non-wheat Sprouted Flours Better?
In the last post on sprouted flours, we talked almost exclusively about sprouted grain flours and the benefits of using them. In case you missed that post, you can read more about sprouted grain flours here.
Sprouted flours of all types offer a few significant benefits. In addition to providing a tastier texture for your baked goods, they also deliver superior flavor and nutrition. Since health is our main concern, let’s take a look at the nutrition angle.
Normal flours contain vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients in forms that aren’t necessarily easy for your body to access.
According to Sally Fallon Morrell, President of the Weston A. Price Foundation,
“The process of germination not only produces Vitamin C, but also changes the composition of grains and seeds in numerous beneficial ways. Sprouting increases Vitamin B content, especially B2, B5, and B6. Carotene increases dramatically – sometimes eightfold. Even more important, sprouting neutralizes phytic acid, a substance present in the bran of all grains that inhibits absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc; sprouting also neutralizes enzyme inhibitors present in all seeds. These inhibitors can neutralize our own precious enzymes in the digestive tract.
A portion of the starch in grain is transformed into sugar. Sprouting inactivates aflatoxins, potent carcinogens found in grains. Finally, numerous enzymes that help digestion are produced during the germination process (p. 112 of the book Nourishing Traditions).”
In plain speech, that means that the energy inside seeds and grains is there for new plants to use as they grow. It’s not readily available for you, or for the plants. Once the plant decides it’s ready to reach for the sky, it bursts through the seed and starts making enzymes that help make the necessary nutrients it has stored ready for use. That process also makes it easier for your body to access the good stuff, and breaks down the chemicals that keep you from getting the maximum energy and nutrient content from the seeds and grains you consume.
Why use sprouted flours? To me, the answer is common sense.
If you're in the mood for a treat, there is a great pancake recipe 2 at the Gratefully Nourished blog. It’s one of my favorite indulgences, and is ridiculously simple, but yields a delightfully fluffy and filling pancake with the perfect butter (or coconut oil) crust.
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