Is almond flour good for diabetics?

doctor with stethoscope, artgraphics

zaidharis

almond-flour

Flour is the most consuming part of the food in our daily life whether it is bread, cookies, pasta, or snacks. Wheat flour is widely used in our homes for normal people but the people with conditions like allergies or diabetes almond flour is the best choice. So in this article, we are going to answer “Is almond flour good for diabetes”, “what are their benefits?”,What are their drawbacks?” and all questions related to almond flour and diabetes.

Let’s start with “what is an almond?”

Almond and their plant leaves

Almond is commonly referred to as a nut which is a teardrop-shaped edible seed that is the fruit of the almond tree. It is available in shelled and blanched form in the market. In the blanched form the almond is left in boiling water for 60 seconds and then rinsed in cool water to quickly cool it to remove the outer brown skin leaving the white interior of the seed.

Before going to the topic I would like to give the nutrient composition of 100 g almond.

Nutrient composition of almonds according to USDA’s FoodData Central database:

NutrientUnitPer 100 gPer 30 g serving
Macronutrients
Waterg4.701.41
Energykcal575172
Carbohydratesg18.7
Proteing21.226.37
       Total fatg49.4214.83
       Total sugarsg3.891.17
       Dietary fiberg12.203.66
Minerals
Calciummg26479
Ironmg3.721.12
Magnesiummg26880
Phosphorusmg485145
Potassiummg705211
Sodiummg10
Zincmg3.080.92
Coppermg10.30
Manganesemg2.280.68
Seleniumµg2.500.75
Vitamins
Thiaminmg0.210.06
Riboflavinmg1.010.30
Niacinmg3.381.01
Pantothenic acidmg0.470.14
Vitamin B6mg0.140.04
Folateµg5015
Vitamin A (retinol equivalent)µg00
Vitamin E
α-Tocopherolmg26.227.87
β-Tocopherolmg0.290.09
γ-Tocopherolmg0.650.19
δ-Tocopherolmg0.050.01
Lipids
Saturated fatsg3.731.12
Monounsaturated fatsg30.899.27
Polyunsaturated fatsg12.073.62
Phytosterolsmg17252
Stigmasterolmg41
Campesterolmg51
β -Sitosterolmg13240
Other phytosterolsmg3110
Amino acids
Lysineg0.580.17
Arginineg2.470.70
Other
β -Caroteneµg10
Total phenolicsmg418125
Total flavonoidsmg23.897.17
NutrientsAlmond FlourWheat Flour
Amount of Carbohydrates18.7 g76 g
Amount of fiber12.20 g2.7 g

So we have the table of nutrition of almonds let’s go to the benefits of almond flour.

First, we will discuss the general benefits of almond flour. Remember, almond flour can help and give you the following results if it is free from sugar and sweets.

i) Low carbohydrates amount:

Weight measure with almonds

Here we will discuss the non-diabetic problem of using carbohydrates. The main problem carbs do is gaining weight because extra carbohydrates are converted to fats which are stored in the body in the form of fats. Almond flour contains 18.7 grams of carbohydrates which is much lower than wheat flour carbohydrates which are 76 grams. The low amount of carbs makes almond flour ideal for those who want to lose weight.

ii) Gluten-free:

Gluten free written from flour on table

Gluten is a structural protein that is found in certain cereal grains i.e heat, barley, and rye. In medical literature, it refers to the combination of prolamin and glutelin proteins that are naturally occurring in all grains and proven to cause celiac disease.

Stomach, intestine (zoomed) computer art graphic

Celiac disease is a long-term autoimmune disease that primarily affects the small intestine in which the individual develops intolerance to gluten (Classic symptoms include gastrointestinal problems such as chronic diarrhea, abdominal distention, malabsorption, loss of appetite, and among children failure to grow normally).

Almond is a gluten-free flour which makes it the best substitute for other flour.

iii) High amount of micronutrients:

Almonds in bowl arrows directing towards micronutrienst

Almond is micronutrient rich. Almond has a high amount of vitamin E, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and minerals i.e calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese making almond flour best than other flours.

In the above micronutrients, for example, Manganese helps the body to clot the blood properly so as to heal the body perfectly. Magnesium helps the body to breakdown the carbohydrates and cholesterol.

iv) Sodium-free and high potassium content:

almonds on a table with a spoon filled with almonds

The above table shows almond is sodium-free and high in potassium according to EU nutrition claim criteria. Therefore, it fits best in low sodium/ high potassium diets.

v) Maintain good heart health:

Heart art from almonds table background

Almond contains monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (30.89 and 12.07 respectively) which means they have one and many double bonds respectively. Unsaturated fats are oil at room temperature and indicate it’s obtained from plants (after hydrogenation it is converted to ghee which is solid at room temperature). The unsaturated fats keep the cholesterol (LDL) level in control by collecting it from the blood vessels and body tissues and carrying it to the liver for removal.

A research conducted shows that almond use significantly reduces total plasma cholesterol by (7–25%) and plasma LDL cholesterol by (10–33%).

vi) High protein and dietary fiber content:

Almond, protein and dietry fibers concept

Almond flour contains a rich amount of protein and dietary fiber. The above table shows that almond flour has 21.22 g of protein compared to wheat flour which has 10 grams of protein per 100 grams. The amount of dietary fiber is 12.20 g in almond flour while wheat flour just has 2.7 g of dietary fiber.

Dietary fibers attenuate the rising level of postprandial glycemia and lower the plasma cholesterol concentration.

Now we are going to explain the benefits of almond flour for diabetic people.

Benefits of Almond flour for diabetic people:

i) Doesn’t spike the glucose level:

Smart phone with chart of glucose level

In the above section, we discussed the low carbohydrate value for non-diabetic people, here we will discuss the benefits of a low carb value on almond flour. Diabetes is associated with a high amount of glucose (carb) while almond flour has just 18.7 grams of carbohydrates compared to wheat flour which has 76 grams. The low carb level doesn’t spike the glucose level after making it best for diabetic people.

ii) Improve insulin resistance:

Insulin resistance on computer screen

As discussed almond flour contain polyunsaturated and also it contains omega-6-fatty acids that are beneficial for diabetics because they can improve insulin resistance and cell inflammation. These benefits help you to keep your heart healthy and make you able to manage diabetes risk factors even more effectively.

iii) Reduce the risk of stroke:

Brain with dumbbell and almonds beneath, computer art

Diabetes means a high level of sugar in the blood which leads to damage to the blood vessels leading to dysfunction of endothelial cells. Also, the high glucose level can cause a clot that can block the vessel in the brain and can lead to stroke.

Almond flour has less amount of carbs which means your body will get very less amount of glucose so keeping you safe from stroke and diabetes adverse.

We have discussed the general and diabetic benefits of almond flour let’s take a glow at the drawbacks and downsides of almond flour.

Drawbacks of almond flour:

I) Allergic reaction:

Almond is a true tree nut which is big eight food allergens. As almond flour is made from almonds so there is a risk of nut allergies for nut-allergic people.

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the US population has 0.1 to 1% of nut allergies prevalence.

II) High calories:

Though almond is the best substitute for carbs but overall it has high calories of 590 and more than 50 grams of fats per 100 grams compared to wheat flour which has 360 calories per 100 grams.

Habitually making it a substitute for wheat flour is not good but if needs to be a substitute for daily intake the proportion should be kept in mind.

III) High cost:

The price of almond flour is high whether bought from the store or made at home. This makes it a little hesitant while buying compared to regular wheat flour.

After all, these discussed now it is the turn of making almond flour at the home.

Almond comes in dozens of varieties and shapes i.e Raw, unsalted, roasted, salted, spiced, slivered, sliced, and many more. But making almond flour the Raw Unsalted Almond With the Skin On, Blanched Almonds, and Slivered Almonds give the best results.

raw unsalted almonds packed in boxes

  • The Raw Unsalted Almond are unprocessed almonds with skin and that is packaged after the nutshell is removed. Raw unsalted almonds are used to make the meal at home and are brown in their color.
Blanched almond with almond leaves

  • Blanched Almonds are almonds whose skin is removed. You can Blanche the almond at the home or can buy it from the store but the price of blanched almonds is slightly high because of labor work. The flour from blanched almonds is called almond flour and its color is white.
silvered almonds in a bowl

  • Slivered Almonds are also blanched almonds but they are sliced across their diameter into thin sticks.

To start the process following things are needed to be present.

Raw, blanched, and slivered almonds on a table

1. Raw, blanched, or slivered almonds

Food Processor

2. Food Processor with the blade attached

Before going through the process of making almond flour at home did you think which almond flour is best, white almond flour (blanched almond) or brown almond flour (almond with skin on)?

No.

Okay, let me tell you.

brown almond flour in a bowl

The vitamin E, polyphenol antioxidant (prevents the oxidation of cholesterol), and fibers are concentrated in the skin so with skin the nutritious value is more than peeled almonds. But some elderly people might experience digestive problems while eating almonds with skin so they should peel the skin before eating.

Now if you want to go for brown almond flour (almond with skin on) then you just follow the process after the blanching methods but if you want to go for white flour (blanched almond) then it’s easy to blanch the almond easily at home.

There are two methods to Blanche the almond. The first one is for those who have no hurry and the second one is for those who have some rush.

Method 1:

soaked almonds in a bowl of  water

Just take the required amount of almonds with skin on and soak them in the necessary amount of tap water for the whole night. The bowl or container depends on you and you can use that available at home. After putting water and almonds just cover the bowl or container with plastic wrap or a paper towel.

In the morning, drain the water and collect the almonds using a colander or whatever method that is easy for you. Now squeeze the almond with the index finger and thumb, it will peel easily.

Method 2:

almonds soaked in boiled water

Take a saucepan or any container used for boiling water in your home and boil 2 cups or the required amount of water to soak the almond.

A colander

Put the almonds for 2 minutes and then drain the water using a colander. Then rinse the almond with cold water to make it peeling eligible in the hands.

Start peeling immediately using your index finger and thumb.

Keep in mind that too much putting in the boiled water makes it soft because after skin detaching it will then start absorbing the water. So keep your eyes on the almond skin and when it starts looking wrinkled, it is the best time to remove it from the water and start peeling the skin. Or take a spoon and take out a single almond then rinse it in cool water and check whether its skin is peeling off easily or it needs to be soaked in boiled water more.

Now next step is drying the peeled almonds.

So for drying, there are also 2 methods.

Method 1:

Method 1 is for those who have no hurry and have plenty of time.

Blanched almonds dispersed  for drying

keep the almonds for 4 to 6 hours or overnight to become dry. Long exposure to dryness can lose their freshness so keep them in a lid tight jar in a cool, dry, and dark area. This way it can be fresh for up to a month.

Method 2:

Oven opened

In the second method keep the almonds in the oven for an hour or keep checking after intervals and when sure it is dry then take them out from the oven for further processing.

almond blending with food processor

Now we have all set up just it needs to be blended with the food processor. So put the almond in the food processor and blend till the almond pieces become like flour.

After blending just collect your flour from the food processor and are ready for use.

Conclusion/summary:

The answer to “Is almond flour good for diabetics?” is, YES, if it is sugar-free and you have no nut allergy. Almond flour should be taken in an amount that doesn’t exceed the limits because almonds are high in calories. Compared to wheat flour the beautiful benefit of almond flour for diabetics is having no spike in the glucose level. Also, the benefits of cholesterol control in almond flour, the heart condition and brain are maintained in good condition. Due to glucose control in the blood, the blood vessels are maintained unharmed and cholesterol control makes the blood vessels open (prevent narrowing) putting diabetes in control and making you enjoy life normally.

Tell me your opinion about the almond flour in the comment section.

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