What Is Kind Of Flour Best For Your Health? Flour! Something is so comforting and familiar about that word. It’s such a staple in everyone’s home; almost every Indian household has some atta or the other. Wheat atta, Jowar atta, Bajra atta or Rice atta. We have all grown up eating our mom’s rotis, puris, bhakris or parathas. Or at least some of us have. But somewhere along the line, those parathas and bhakris got replaced by store-bought pieces of bread or packaged parathas. Everyone has become health-conscious, and the task of choosing healthy food on an everyday basis has become essential. Flour and its effect on immunity: Immunity is the key for all of us to battle the pandemic and stay afloat. Necessities such as rice, atta, ghee, dairy are utilized on a day-to-day basis and must be analysed carefully for their nutritional properties, macronutrients, ingredients and manufacturing processes.
Staples like grains and flours are assessed on the following nutritional parameters relevant to the category of grains and flours to guide consumers to make choices based on a nutritional assessment.
- Carbohydrate source (Refined or Complex): Whole grain atta consists of all parts of the grain. It has bran, which contains fibre and other nutrients (vitamins B, iron, magnesium, and phytochemicals), endosperm, which contains carbohydrate, and germ, which consist of vitamin E and polyunsaturated fats. Whole wheat atta is considered healthier than Maida, which has endosperm only, thus rich in carbohydrates.
- Micronutrients: Micronutrients such as Calcium and Iron in flour must be assessed. No two flours are the same. One may have a higher level of iron / B vitamin than the other. Flours and grains with a higher content of micronutrients get a higher score as compared to those with low micronutrient content.
- Satiety Index: Satiety Index is a system to measure different foods'; ability to satisfy hunger, i.e. a high satiety index, (ranging from zero to five with five indicating) foods that keep you full for long. Foods that are high in fibre and protein have a high satiety index.
- Glycemic Index: Glycemic index is a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or quickly those foods increase blood glucose levels. Low glycemic index (GI) foods tend to release glucose slowly and steadily, whereas high GI foods release glucose rapidly.
- Fibre: Fibre is a type of carbohydrate that helps keep our digestive systems healthy. Whole grain flours have a higher fibre content as compared to refined flours which makes it a healthier option.
- Protein: High protein content in a flour leads to a high satiety index, thereby making high protein flours more favourable on the nutrition scale.
Ms Rashida Vapiwala, Founder, LabelBlind® states that, "often consumers pay attention to the colour and coarseness of the flour, however, and one must also observe the shelf life, added ingredients and nutritional value. More often than not, Indian households utilize wheat flour as its widely considered healthy, higher source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals."
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