Are you a fan of almond flour?
This popular gluten-free and keto-friendly flour has become a staple in many households, but have you ever wondered if it contains lectins?
With so much conflicting information out there, it can be hard to know what to believe.
In this article, we’ll explore the truth about almond flour and lectins, as well as provide some tips for using almond flour in a healthy and sustainable way.
So, let’s dive in and separate fact from fiction!
Does Almond Flour Contain Lectins?
Almond flour is made from blanched almonds, which means that the skins have been removed. Lectins are a type of protein found in many plants, including the skins of almonds. Therefore, it’s safe to say that almond flour does not contain lectins.
However, it’s important to note that almond meal, which is made from whole almonds (including the skins), does contain lectins. So, if you’re looking to avoid lectins in your diet, be sure to choose almond flour over almond meal.
What Are Lectins?
Lectins are a type of protein found in many plants, including grains, beans, and some vegetables. They are often referred to as anti-nutrients because they can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Lectins can also bind to the lining of the gut and cause inflammation, which can lead to a variety of health problems.
Some proponents of the lectin-free diet believe that consuming lectins can lead to weight gain, brain fog, chronic inflammation, poor digestion from a disrupted microbiome, and other adverse symptoms. However, the harmful effects of lectins have yet to be proven definitively.
It’s important to note that not all lectins are created equal. Some lectins, such as those found in certain fruits and vegetables, may actually have health benefits. Additionally, many lectin-containing foods are also rich in valuable nutrients, so eliminating them from your diet could mean missing out on important vitamins and minerals.
The Debate Surrounding Lectins In Almond Flour
While it’s true that almond flour itself does not contain lectins, there is some debate surrounding the use of non-organic almonds in the production of almond flour. Most non-organic almonds, particularly those from California, are treated with propylene oxide (PPO), a chemical that is banned in organic agriculture. PPO is used to pasteurize the almonds and rid them of any harmful bacteria. However, PPO is also a super-toxic chemical that can be harmful to human health.
Additionally, 85% of conventionally grown almonds are sprayed with glyphosate, a controversial herbicide that has been linked to health issues such as cancer and kidney disease. This raises concerns about the potential contamination of almond flour with glyphosate.
To avoid these potential risks, it’s recommended to choose organic almond flour whenever possible. Organic almonds are steam pasteurized instead of being treated with PPO, and they are not sprayed with glyphosate. By choosing organic almond flour, you can ensure that you’re getting a high-quality product that is free from harmful chemicals.
The Truth About Lectins In Almond Flour
While almond flour itself does not contain lectins, it’s important to be aware of potential contaminants that can be found in non-organic almond products. For example, many non-organic almonds from California are treated with propylene oxide (PPO), a toxic chemical that is banned in organic agriculture. Additionally, conventionally grown almonds are often sprayed with glyphosate, a controversial herbicide.
To avoid these potential contaminants, it’s recommended to choose organic almond products whenever possible. Organic almonds are steam pasteurized instead of being treated with PPO, and are not sprayed with glyphosate.
Another factor to consider when using almond flour is its phytic acid content. Phytic acid is an anti-nutrient found in all seeds, including nuts like almonds. It can bind to nutrients in the body and prevent their absorption, leading to potential nutrient deficiencies over time.
Blanched almond flour has had its skins removed, which is where the majority of the phytic acid is found. However, it’s still important to limit intake of almond flour and include a variety of other foods in your diet to ensure proper nutrient absorption.
Health Benefits Of Almond Flour
Almond flour is a popular choice for those on a gluten-free or grain-free diet, and for good reason. It’s low in carbohydrates and high in healthy fats, making it a great choice for those looking to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and support their cardiovascular health.
In addition to its macronutrient profile, almond flour is also rich in micronutrients such as vitamin E, magnesium, and manganese. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, while magnesium is important for bone health and plays a role in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. Manganese is also important for bone health and helps support healthy brain function.
Furthermore, almond flour has been shown to have a positive impact on cholesterol levels. Studies have found that consuming almonds can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol levels. This is likely due to the high levels of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in almonds.
Tips For Using Almond Flour In A Healthy And Sustainable Way
Almond flour is a popular ingredient in gluten-free and grain-free baking, but it’s important to use it in a healthy and sustainable way. Here are some tips to help you do just that:
1. Choose organic almond flour whenever possible. Non-organic almonds are often treated with propylene oxide, a toxic chemical that is banned in organic agriculture. Look for disclaimers on labels that PPO is not used or opt for organic almond flour.
2. Use almond flour in moderation. While almonds can be healthy for us, too much of them can lead to sensitivities. Try to balance your almond flour intake with other types of flours and ingredients.
3. Consider the source of your almonds. Conventionally grown almonds are often sprayed with glyphosate, a controversial herbicide. Look for raw, organic almonds from Spain or other sources that don’t use glyphosate.
4. Be aware of nut allergies and sensitivities. Almond flour is made from peeled, blanched almonds and doesn’t contain many anti-nutrients found in the skin of almonds, but if you or someone in your family has a nut allergy, almond flour is off the menu entirely.
5. Use almond flour as a part of a balanced diet. While almond flour can be a great substitute for wheat flour, it’s important to remember that it’s not a superfood. Use it as part of a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods.
By following these tips, you can enjoy the benefits of almond flour while also being mindful of your health and the environment.
Conclusion: Almond Flour Can Be A Nutritious Addition To Your Diet
Almond flour can be a nutritious addition to your diet, as it is low in carbs and high in healthy fats and protein. It is also gluten-free and suitable for those following a ketogenic or grain-free diet.
However, it’s important to use almond flour in moderation and choose organic options whenever possible. Conventionally grown almonds are often treated with toxic chemicals like propylene oxide, which can cause sensitivities and health issues. Additionally, almond flour contains phytic acid, which can bind to nutrients and cause gut issues, tooth decay, and nutrient deficiencies.
To reduce the phytic acid content in almond flour, it’s recommended to use blanched almond flour or make your own by soaking and dehydrating almonds. Proper food preparation techniques can also help reduce phytic acid levels.