Grandmas all over the world have baked, cooked, braised, grilled, broiled, and fried their way into the hearts of their grandchildren and children before them.
Flour power might be one of the most important things in their recipes. Not just any flour, but “the right kind for the job at hand,” as any grandma worth her salt (or flour) might have said.
Keep this list by your stove and you’ll become everyone’s favorite grandma. Each of the nine flours below has a specific use and health benefit.
In the past, whole grains were put through a stone-grinding mill to make flour. The result was a coarse, brown flour that still had the bran in it and a lot more vitamins, fiber, and healthy oils than the flour sold in stores today. When modern roller milling is used to turn whole grains into white flour, almost all of the nutrients in the whole grains are lost. Try these to help your health:
1. Soy Flour
High in protein and used as a base in most bread, buns, crackers, and many ready-made foods. One problem is that there is probably no way to tell if these flours contain soybeans that have been genetically modified. Even reading the label won’t help in this case.
2. Rice Flour
Because it is high in vitamin B, it is good “food for the brain.” Rice flour is gluten-free and makes a good base for fritters.
3. Chickpea Flour
Gluten-free and high in protein.
4. Potato Flour
Gluten-free and great for thickening sauces or stews.
5. Barley Flour
It is high in silica and helps keep the kidneys healthy.
6. Pea Flour
It is again gluten-free and has a lot of protein. Because of how it tastes, it goes better with salty foods. Also good for making soups and casseroles thicker.
7. Oat Flour
Has a lot of iron, fiber, and magnesium, and it lowers cholesterol.
8. Milled Cornmeal
This is also sometimes called maize. It is high in protein, doesn’t have gluten, and helps the spleen work and bones grow.
9. Rye Flour
High in potassium and good for the brain and liver.
From this list, you can see that there are a lot of different kinds of grain that can be used to make flour. If you have a wheat or gluten allergy, which often shows up as eczema, yeast infections, or irritable bowel syndrome, you should first see if you can eat one of the other flours on this list.
Wheat bran that hasn’t been processed is the best source of fiber. Bran helps prevent bowel cancer in two different ways. First, it cleans the bowel of waste, and second, it speeds up the metabolism by moving waste through the intestine faster. This makes it less likely that carcinogens will touch the surface of the colon and stay there for too long.
But don’t eat too much bran—just a little on your cereal or maybe one bran muffin a day. This is especially important for vegetarians and vegans. When you buy flour like aashirvaad atta or store-bought foods that contain flour, you should choose carefully for yourself and your family. Now that you have flour power, you can do this.