“Besides having a slightly nutty, yet subtle flavor, almond flour is on fire because it’s gluten-free and contains more protein than regular flour,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, nutritionist and author of Read It Before You Eat It.

In addition to being a good-for-you option, almond flour is also super simple to use. “I love to bake with almond flour because it’s an easy one-for-one swap with flours of lesser nutritional value,” Taub-Dix says. “It also adds a richer flavor.” That’s why, when consulting with clients, Taub-Dix often recommends almond flour for baking, breading chicken or fish, or thickening soups.

Though almond flour doesn’t look too different than typical wheat flour, its nutrition couldn’t be farther from that of regular flour.

Here’s what you get in a quarter-cup serving of almond flour, according to the USDA:

  • Calories: 170
  • Fat: 15 g
  • Saturated fat: 1 g
  • Protein: 24 g
  • Carbs: 6 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Sugar: 1 g
  • Sodium: 0 mg
  • Calcium: 66 mg
  • Iron: 1 mg
  • Potassium: 190 mg

Thanks to its unique nutritional properties, almond flour offers a variety of other health benefits worth talking about.

1. It stabilizes blood sugar.

Due to its lower carbohydrate content, almond flour might help stabilize blood sugar levels, says Taub-Dix. Its high fat content also helps slow down the absorption of carbohydrates and sugar, another factor in keeping your blood sugar stable.

2. It’s heart-healthy.

Almonds and almond flour have been shown to decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol, says Taub-Dix—and high cholesterol is linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

3. It’s more satiating than typical flour.

Thanks to almond flour’s high fiber and protein content, it also helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer, says Taub-Dix. The perk: You’re better able to avoid cravings and feel more satisfied between meals.

4. Almond flour is great for people on low-carb or gluten-free diets.

If you live with a gluten intolerance or allergy, almond flour can literally change your life. “Almonds are naturally free of gluten, so almond flour opens up a world of possibilities, like baked goods, that might otherwise not be possible for those following gluten-free diets,” Taub-Dix says.

Not to mention, almond flour is also safe for those following keto or paleo diets, she adds. If you’re keeping a close eye on carbs, almond flour is a great go-to, with just four grams of net carbs (total carbs minus fiber) per serving, making it a great keto-friendly option. (Regular flour contains about 23 grams of net carbs per serving, knocking out much of your daily carb allowance on keto in one fell scoop.) Not to mention, almond flour’s higher fat content (15 grams per serving) also makes it a satiating ingredient for keto dieters.

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