Chew on This

Gluten issues? Try peanut, almond, coconut — or even coffee flour.

Coconut and almond flours are rich in nutrients and can be used in baking and other recipes.
Coconut and almond flours are rich in nutrients and can be used in baking and other recipes.

As a coffee lover, my ears perked up when I heard of coffee flour. This product is impressive for both sustainability and nutrition.

Coffee beans grow inside a protective coffee fruit, which had previously been discarded. Innovators are now taking the coffee fruit and processing it into a product called coffee flour. This is providing increased revenue for farmers, and less waste since it is not being discarded into rivers.

The taste of coffee flour is described as that of a roasted fruit. Nutritionally, it is impressive. One tablespoon of coffee powder has 5.2 grams of fiber and 301 mg of potassium. One small banana has 362 mg of potassium. For purchase information and recipes go to www.coffeeflour.com.

Three other interesting flours to consider are peanut, almond and coconut flour. All are lower in carbohydrates than wheat flour, rich in nutrients and gluten free.

Peanut flour is made from crushed and full or partly defatted peanuts. Peanut flour is high in protein and 2 tablespoons is an excellent source of fiber, magnesium, phosphorus and niacin. All these nutrients contribute to heart health. For recipes go to www.peanut-institute.org.

Not surprisingly, almond flour, which is just crushed almonds, adds a wonderful flavor to muffins, breads and cookies. It can even be used as a coating for fish. Almond flour is a very good source of vitamin E and also contains iron, manganese, magnesium and copper. And of all the tree nuts, almonds are the highest in calcium. Visit www.almonds.com for tempting almond powder recipes.

The last nut flour to consider is coconut flour. Inulin, which is a gut-promoting prebiotic, is in coconut flour. In fact, coconut flour has 5 grams of fiber per tablespoon. With this high fiber content, coconut fiber has a lower glycemic index than wheat fiber, which is a consideration for people with diabetes. Great recipes can be found at www.thecoconutmama.com.

Sheah Rarback is a registered dietitian on the faculty of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. Follow her on Twitter @sheahrarback.

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