Thanks to increasing research, more and more people have been turning to alternative sources of flour in recent years. For the health conscious, almond flour is quickly becoming a favorite alternative to traditional bleached white flour. But what is almond flour exactly?
Almonds are one of the most nutritious and versatile nuts on the planet. Almond flour is simply ground up almond pulp, which has a very similar resemblance to regular flour, with a characteristic nutty flavor.
Today, almond flour is commonly used as a gluten-free substitute to wheat flour. Almonds provide a rich source of minerals, vitamins, fiber, and healthy fats that may play an important role in disease prevention and overall health.1
Almond Meal vs Almond Flour
For those wondering what is almond flour made from, almond flour is made up of finely ground almonds. For readers that are new to using alternative flours, they may also see the term ‘almond meal’ used in recipes. But is almond meal the same as almond flour?
Both almond flour and almond meal are made from ground almonds, however almond flour typically contains blanched almonds with the outer skin removed. Almond meal contains the skin and is often ground up coarser than flour. Additionally, almond meal generally has a darker appearance.
Almond flour is thought to be better suited for cakes, pastries and other delicate dessert recipeslmond meal, on the other hand, is commonly used with cookies, pancakes, breads and recipes that allow for a coarser texture.
How to Make Almond Flour
For readers curious about how to make almond flour but are not sure where to start, the following section outlines how to make homemade almond flour. Simple to prepare, making almond flour at home only requires almonds and a blender.
First, measure a cup of blanched (not roasted) almonds. You can choose organic almonds if you desire organic almond flour. Next, place the almonds in your high-speed blender or food processor. Turn the mixer on high speed for approximately ten seconds, until a fine powder forms. Store your almond flour in a container with a tight seal for long-term use.
If you want to make bread with almond flour, try blending your almonds with the skin to get a slightly denser, nuttier flour. You can experiment with different blender options to achieve the best almond flour for your needs.
Does Almond Flour Go Bad?
When kept in an air-tight container and stored in a cool, dark place, bulk almond flour can last several months. Because almonds contain a high level of oils, almond flour can go rancid when subjected to oxidation for long periods. Almond flour can also be frozen, which extends the shelf life to six months.
Almond Flour Nutrition
Is almond flour healthy? Almond flour is a nutrient dense, healthy alternative to traditional flours, especially for anyone with food sensitivities. While almond flour nutritional information facts may change slightly from brand to brand, below is a breakdown of the calories, notable vitamins and macronutrients, including how much protein in almond flour per serving. For every 2 Tbsp., there are:2
- 80 calories in almond flour
- 5 g of carbs in almond flour
- 5 g of fat
- 4 g of protein
- 30 mg of calcium
- 90 mg of potassium
- 2 mg of vitamin E
Almond flour nutrition facts may vary if the product uses unblanched almonds, as they contain slightly more antioxidants, fiber, and protein due to the addition of the rough skin.
Benefits of Almond Flour
The benefits of almond flour include:
1. Promote Healthy Weight
2. Improved Cardiovascular Health
3. Antioxidant Activity
4. Support Healthy Brain Function
5. Cholesterol Lowering Activity
6. Boost Energy Levels
Promotes Healthy Weight
People on diets often shy away from almonds, due to their high fat content. However, recent research proves that individuals who eat almonds regularly may lose more weight. Almonds contain 39% fat, which is mostly made up of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. These fats are known to be effective in improving satiation and reducing waist circumference.3
Almond flour is also considered a healthy substitute for white flour, which digests quickly and can spike insulin levels that signal fat cell storage. Almond flour can be used to boost the nutritional profile of everyday recipes to support a healthy diet and long-term weight maintenance.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
Almonds have a dense nutrient profile and provides abundant antioxidants, which help support long-term cardiovascular health. Studies show that nuts, including almonds, have a favorable fatty acid profile and bioactive compounds that improve overall cardiovascular function.5
Almond flour is lower on the glycemic index than wheat flour, and is often recommended for people on a low glycemic or low cholesterol diet to prevent blood sugar spikes and promote heart health.
The phytochemicals preserved in almond flour have powerful health benefits that may work to prevent various diseases. The antioxidants in almonds have been shown to lower oxidative stress and help fight harmful free radicals within the body.6,7,9
Supports Healthy Brain Function
Increasing research shows that dietary antioxidants may help prevent neurodegenerative conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.7 Almond flour may also prevent cognitive dysfunctions that increase with age. In a 2016 animal study, almonds were shown to increase acetylcholine (neurotransmitter) levels in the brain and improve memory retention.8
In several recent studies, almonds have been noted to have a beneficial effect on low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Almonds are rich in plant sterols, which likely contribute to the effect. Often referred to as ‘bad’ cholesterol, high LDL levels have been noted in obese individuals.9
Boost Energy Levels
Almonds are a great source of vitamins, minerals and fats. Almonds take a while to digest and provide a great source of protein and fatty acids that may help users feel full for longer. Baking with almond flour is a great way to add additional nutrients to granola bars, muffins, and pancakes to help provide sustained energy throughout the day.
Can you Substitute Almond Flour for Coconut Flour?
Coconut flour is another alternative often used to replace conventional flour. For those considering coconut flour vs. almond flour, we take a look at the pros and cons of each.
Blanched almond flour contains more calories than coconut flour, however it has less carbohydrates per serving and is lower on the glycemic index. Both flours are naturally gluten free, and a good source of vitamins and minerals.
Coconut and almond flour have different benefits, and preference may depend on personal diet needs. It’s been said that more people experience food sensitivities or intolerances when using coconut flour. While almond flour typically substitutes 1:1 for wheat flour in standard recipes, coconut flour ratios will differ. This is because coconut flour typically absorbs more water than almond flour.
Where to Buy Almond Flour
For readers wondering ‘where can I buy almond flour?’ thanks to popular demand, almost anyone can conveniently buy almond flour today. Most local supermarkets and health food stores sell various brands of almond flour. Online retailers such as Amazon offer a wide variety of almond flour brands, bulk almonds, and almond meal varieties that can be shipped worldwide.
Almond flour cost varies depending on location. The average price is around $7/pound, or $20 for a large bag.
Scientific Research Referenced in this Article
- Chen, C. Y., Lapsley, K., & Blumberg, J. (2006). A nutrition and health perspective on almonds. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 86(14), 2245-2250. DOI:1002/jsfa.2659.
- Bob’s Red Mill. (2017). Almond Meal Nutritional Info. Retrieved November 23, 3017 from – View Reference
- Wien, M. A., Sabate, J. M., Ikle, D. N., Cole, S. E., & Kandeel, F. R. (2003). Almonds vs complex carbohydrates in a weight reduction program. International journal of obesity, 27(11), 1365-1372. DOI: 1038/sj.ijo.0802411
- Jenkins, D. J., Kendall, C. W., Josse, A. R., Salvatore, S., Brighenti, F., Augustin, L. S., … & Rao, A. V. (2006). Almonds decrease postprandial glycemia, insulinemia, and oxidative damage in healthy individuals. The Journal of nutrition, 136(12), 2987-2992. Retrieved November 23, 2017 from http://jn.nutrition.org/content/136/12/2987.
- Kris-Etherton, P. M., Yu-Poth, S., Sabaté, J., Ratcliffe, H. E., Zhao, G., & Etherton, T. D. (1999). Nuts and their bioactive constituents: effects on serum lipids and other factors that affect disease risk. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 70(3), 504s-511s. Retrieved November 23, 2017 from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/70/3/504s.short.
- Chen, C. Y. O., & Blumberg, J. B. (2008). In vitro activity of almond skin polyphenols for scavenging free radicals and inducing quinone reductase. Agric. Food Chem, 56(12), 4427-4434. DOI: 10.1021/jf800061z.
- Wilson, D. W., Nash, P., Buttar, H. S., Griffiths, K., Singh, R., De Meester, F., … & Takahashi, T. (2017). The Role of Food Antioxidants, Benefits of Functional Foods, and Influence of Feeding Habits on the Health of the Older Person: An Overview. Antioxidants, 6(4), 81. DOI: 3390/antiox6040081.
- Batool, Z., Sadir, S., Liaquat, L., Tabassum, S., Madiha, S., Rafiq, S., … & Perveen, T. (2016). Repeated administration of almonds increases brain acetylcholine levels and enhances memory function in healthy rats while attenuates memory deficits in animal model of amnesia. Brain research bulletin, 120, 63-74. DOI:1016/j.brainresbull.2015.11.001.
- Ros, E. (2010). Health benefits of nut consumption. Nutrients, 2(7), 652-682. DOI: 3390/nu2070652.
- National Institutes of Health. (2016, May 9). Vitamin E. Retrieved November 24, 2017 from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-Consumer/