Coconut flour is a unique alternative to wheat flour.

It’s popular among low carb enthusiasts and those who have gluten-related disorders.

In addition to its impressive nutrition profile, coconut flour may offer several benefits when enjoyed as part of a healthy diet. These include improvements in blood sugar stability, digestion, and heart health.

This article examines coconut flour, including its nutrition, its benefits, and how it compares with similar products.

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Coconut flour is made from coconut flesh that has been dried and ground.

It’s a byproduct of coconut milk and oil production (1, 2).

During manufacturing, coconuts are first cracked open and drained of liquid. The coconut meat is then scraped out, rinsed, grated, and strained to separate the solids from the milk. The solids are then baked at a low temperature until dry before being ground into flour.

The resulting white powder looks and feels similar to flour made from grains such as wheat. Its flavor is mild.

Coconut flour is commonly used in gluten-free and grain-free foods such as cupcakes, bread, and cookies.

It can be found in most grocery stores and online.

Summary

Coconut flour is made from dried, ground coconut flesh. It has a mild taste and a texture similar to wheat flour.

Coconut flour has an impressive nutrient profile, being particularly high in fiber, potassium, iron, and plant-based protein.

A 1/4-cup (28-gram) serving of coconut flour contains (3):

  • Calories: 120
  • Carbs: 18 grams
  • Sugar: 6 grams
  • Fiber: 10 grams
  • Protein: 6 grams
  • Fat: 3 grams
  • Iron: 11% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Potassium: 13% of the DV

Compared with wheat flour, coconut flour is higher in fiber, protein, and certain vitamins and minerals, such as potassium and iron (3, 4).

Potassium and fiber are nutrients that are commonly underconsumed in modern-day diets, which can lead to health issues such as elevated heart disease risk and digestive problems (5, 6, 7).

Adding coconut flour to your diet can help you meet the recommended daily intake for these important nutrients.

Additionally, because coconut flour is lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein than traditional wheat flour, it’s a popular choice for those following low carb dietary patterns.

Summary

Coconut flour is high in fiber and is a good source of protein, potassium, and iron.

Coconut flour has a diverse nutrient profile and may offer a range of health benefits. That said, few studies have directly examined it.

May help keep blood sugar stable

Coconut flour is packed with fiber, which may promote healthy blood sugar levels.

A 1/4-cup (28-gram) serving provides a whopping 36% of the DV for fiber. That’s more than four times as much as all-purpose flour (3, 4).

Foods rich in fiber help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing down the speed at which sugar enters your bloodstream.

Studies show that higher fiber diets benefit those with diabetes by reducing blood sugar and insulin levels while promoting a healthy body weight (8).

Because coconut flour is also lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein than all-purpose flour, it’s better at promoting healthy blood sugar regulation.

What’s more, older research shows that adding coconut flour to baked goods lowers their glycemic index (GI). The GI is a measure of a food’s impact on blood sugar levels (9).

Promotes digestive health

Coconut flour’s high fiber content makes it a good choice for keeping your digestive system healthy.

Most of its fiber is insoluble, which adds bulk to stools and helps move food smoothly through your gut, thereby reducing the risk of constipation (10).

Studies show that diets high in fiber may reduce the risk of a number of health conditions that impact the digestive tract, including colon cancer (11, 12).

Additionally, older research suggests that coconut flour contains small amounts of soluble fiber and other fermentable fibers that feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut (13).

In turn, these bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids such as acetate, propionate, and butyrate, all of which nourish your gut cells (14).

May reduce heart disease risk factors

Because of its high fiber and potassium content, consuming coconut flour may support heart health by reducing heart disease risk factors.

Specifically, research suggests that eating coconut flour may help reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels (13, 15).

A study in 42 women who were considered overweight found that consuming a low calorie diet that included 26 grams of coconut flour per day for 9 months reduced total cholesterol and blood sugar levels. In turn, this may reduce heart disease risk (15).

What’s more, coconut flour is a good source of potassium, which is essential for promoting and maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. Having elevated blood sugar levels increases the risk of developing heart disease (16).

Still, more research is needed to learn more about this possible benefit.

May help support a healthy body weight

Coconut flour may help you maintain a healthy body weight.

It offers both fiber and protein. These nutrients are important for appetite regulation and can help keep you feeling full between meals. This could lead you to reduce your overall calorie intake (17).

Research suggests that diets high in protein and fiber may even promote weight loss (18, 19).

For example, a study in 345 people found that the most influential predictor of weight loss was dietary fiber, independent of calorie and macronutrient intake (18).

Still, even though dietary patterns high in fiber and protein likely enhance weight loss and support a healthy body weight, there’s currently no evidence that directly links coconut flour to weight loss.

Free from gluten and grains

Coconut flour is free from gluten, so it’s a suitable option for people with celiac disease, wheat allergy, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (1).

Gluten is a group of proteins found in certain grains, including wheat, barley, and rye. People who cannot tolerate gluten may experience symptoms ranging from gas, cramps, or diarrhea to gut damage and nutrient malabsorption after ingesting it (20, 21, 22).

People with celiac disease or wheat allergy should avoid all gluten-containing grains, while those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity can choose to either reduce their consumption or eliminate the protein from their diet.

Coconut flour offers an alternative to wheat and other gluten-containing flours. It’s also naturally grain-free, so it’s a popular choice for those following grain-free diets such as the paleo diet.

Summary

Coconut flour may promote stable blood sugar levels and a healthy heart. In addition, it’s a good choice for digestive health and may support a healthy body weight.

You can use coconut flour in a variety of recipes, both sweet and savory. It’s a popular ingredient for those following gluten-free and grain-free diets.

You can substitute it for other types of flour when making bread, pancakes, cookies, muffins, or other baked goods. However, be mindful that coconut flour tends to absorb more liquid than other types of flour, so you can’t use it as a one-to-one replacement.

For the best results, start by substituting 1/4 cup (28 grams) of coconut flour for every 1 cup (120 grams) of all-purpose flour.

You may also want to increase the liquids by the amount of coconut flour you add. For example, if you use 1/4 cup (28 grams) of coconut flour, pour in 1/4 cup (60 mL) of additional liquids.

Further, remember that coconut flour tends to be denser than other types of flour and doesn’t bind as easily.

Bakers often recommend that you mix it with other types of flour or add 1 egg for each 1/4 cup (28 grams) of coconut flour to give your end product a fluffier, softer texture.

This unique flour can also be used as breading or to thicken soups and stews. What’s more, you can use it as a binding agent in burger or veggie loaf recipes, as well as to make grain-free pizza crust or wraps.

Summary

You can use coconut flour in a variety of recipes, including baked goods, pizza crusts, wraps, soups, stews, burgers, and meat and veggie loaves. You may need to add more liquid or eggs or combine it with other flour types for the best results.

Coconut flour is often compared with other types of gluten-free flour, such as almond and brown rice flours.

Here’s a chart comparing the nutrition content of these (3, 23, 24):

1/4 cup (28 grams) coconut flour 1/4 cup (30 grams) almond flour1/4 cup (39.5 grams) brown rice flour
Calories 120200143.5
Fat 3 grams16 grams 1 gram
Protein6 grams6 grams 3 grams
Carbs18 grams6 grams 30 grams
Fiber10 grams 2 grams 2 grams

Coconut flour is lower in calories than brown rice and almond flour. It’s also much higher in fiber. It contains the same amount of protein as almond flour but is higher in protein than brown rice flour.

Those on low carb diets like the keto diet may want to opt for almond flour because it contains only a third of the carbs found in coconut flour.

The most significant benefit of choosing coconut flour over other gluten-free options is its exceptionally high fiber content.

Although all these flours are good options for gluten-free baking, a 2020 study found that using a combination of coconut and almond flour in gluten-free keto-friendly cupcakes resulted in more tender, tasty, and moist cupcakes than using only coconut flour (1).

Summary

Coconut flour is lower in calories and higher in fiber than almond or brown rice flour. Adding almond flour to coconut flour-based baked goods may improve their texture and palatability.

Coconut flour is a gluten-free flour made solely from coconuts.

It’s high in fiber and is a good source of protein. Adding it to your diet may promote stable blood sugar, good digestion, and heart health.

It may also support a healthy body weight when consumed as part of a nutritious, balanced diet.

Plus, it’s delicious and versatile, so it’s a smart choice when choosing a flour alternative.

Just one thing

Try this today: When cooking with coconut flour for the first time, it’s a good idea to stick to a tried and tested recipe. Stop by this post to find some great gluten-free, low carb bread recipes that include this versatile, nutritious flour.