Baked goods are usually not considered to be very good for cholesterol and blood sugar.
But a recent study published in the IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science has found a way to eat your cake and lower your cholesterol and blood sugar as well.
And it’s all about how you mix your flour before baking.
Flour doesn’t have to consist of pure carbohydrates or starches. If you are gluten intolerant, or especially both vegan and gluten intolerant, you’ve probably already played around with nut and bean flours.
While this may sound alien to many of you, flour made from almonds, black beans, broad beans, chestnuts, chickpeas, hazelnuts, pinto beans, quinoa, soy, and white beans are commercially available from health shops. While the nut variety might be expensive, bean flour is pretty cheap.
Researchers wanted to know whether composite flour made from starch and beans was more heart healthy than one made purely from starches.
They recruited 39 subjects who were grouped according to age (15-26, 27-38, and 39-50).
They first put them on a steamed rice diet for four days that required them to eat 100 grams of white rice for breakfast every morning.
The next diet was a composite flour one for 16 days that required them to have 100 grams of steamed rice made from cassava roots and mung beans.
Over a series of days, they tested their participant’s blood for glucose, triglycerides, LDL, HDL, and total cholesterol.
There was a clear drop in glucose levels when eating the composite rice, suggesting it could be a solution for those who are susceptible to diabetes. And while the total cholesterol remained the same, HDL (good) cholesterol increased while LDL (bad) cholesterol decreased.
Scientists attributed the beneficial effects of the composite rice to arginine, an alpha-amino acid found abundantly in protein-rich foods. Previous studies had found that arginine could lower cholesterol.
If you want to try baking your breads and other baked goodies with composite flour, it is easier to start with bean flours, since they have no strong taste and add a nice buttery texture.
Here are some ideas:
For flat doughs like pizza, use 30-35 percent bean flour mixed with 65-70 percent wheat flour.
For bread, use 20-25 percent bean flour.
For batter when baking or frying, use 50 percent bean flour.
Use it as a soup thickener and creamer.