Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday is just around the corner – and we can’t wait! Here at Wholefood Earth, you can count on us to recommend you some healthier alternatives to the traditional all-purpose flour to add to your pancake recipe. White flour has very little nutritional value, it can also be bleached by gas to make it whiter. During processing, the white flour is stripped of all its nutrients. It’s high in carbohydrates and calories, and low in everything else such as protein, fibre and vitamins. Traditional white flour is also made of wheat, which is a known allergen. However, all the flours listed below are wheat free and therefore do not contain gluten! This makes them perfect for anyone with a wheat or gluten intolerance, looking for a flour replacement. Almond Flour Almond flour, as you may have already guessed, is made from ground almonds. The almonds are first blanched and then ground and sifted into a fine powder/flour. It has a much sweeter taste that is said to resemble marzipan – so it’s perfect for making pancakes! Almond flour is low in carbohydrates, and high in healthy fats and fibre, making it a much healthier substitute for traditional flour. It is also packed with nutrients and is particularly rich in magnesium which is involved in many processes in your body. These include improved blood sugar control, reduced insulin resistance and lower blood pressure. Vitamin E is another nutrient Almond Flour is abundant in. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble compound, its main role is to act as an antioxidant. These are important for protecting the body from free radicals, which can damage cells, causing illness and aging. It can also improve immune function, along with preventing clots from forming in heart arteries. Buckwheat Flour Another healthier alternative we would like to suggest is Buckwheat flour. Despite the name, it does not in fact contain any wheat at all and is a popular flour substitute for people with wheat allergies or gluten intolerances. Buckwheat has a strong, nutty flavour that works well in savoury recipes. For any savoury pancake fans out there - this is the flour for you! Buckwheat flour is a rich source of vitamins and antioxidants, including thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. Its nutritional content is primarily made up of carbohydrates making it a great source of energy, it also has a good amount of protein and fibre. Due to its well-balanced amino acid profile, the protein found in buckwheat is of a very high quality. Buckwheat flour may also aid in promoting a healthy heart. It contains many heart-healthy compounds, such as magnesium, rutin and copper. Rutin may help in lowering your risk of heart disease by decreasing inflammation as well as blood pressure. Buckwheat flour has also been shown to boost your blood lipid profile. A weak profile is considered a risk factor for heart disease. Rice Flour As the name suggests, Rice flour is a milled flour made from grinding either cooked or raw rice. You can purchase it as either white or brown rice flour. It has a delicate, neutral flavour, making it easy to add to most recipes as it won’t impact the taste too much. If you want to substitute traditional flour for rice flour, your pancakes won’t be as thick, but they will be softer and more fluffy. For a gluten free pancake recipe using rice flour, why not take a look at our Gluten Free Big Boy Pancakes with Muscovado Treacle Syrup Choline, which is a vital nutrient for both animals and humans, can be found in rice flour. Choline is required to maintain essential components of the membranes. It plays a key role in transporting cholesterol and triglycerides from the liver and throughout the rest of the body. As a result, it has been associated with strengthening liver health. Rice flour can also help keep our bones and teeth healthy because it contains plenty of calcium. Calcium is also important as your heart, muscles and nerves require calcium to function properly. Studies also suggest that calcium can help lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol. Coconut Flour If like us, you’re nuts about coconuts, then Coconut flour might be the choice for you this pancake day. It’s a soft flour that’s made from drying, and then grinding the inner white lining of the coconut. Coconut flour has a mild, naturally sweet taste makes it an ideal flour for creating pancakes, or any other sweet baking treats that take your fancy! Coconut flour is a great source of fibre, our own brand here at Wholefood Earth has 34g per 100g (more than 4 times the amount as wheat flour) Government guidelines suggest that adults should be consuming 30g of fibre a day. The NHS states that eating plenty of fibre is linked to a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer. Fibre also helps to feel fuller for longer whilst aiding digestive health. The high fibre in coconut flour can also help to promote a healthy level of blood sugar. Foods that are rich in fibre aid in regulating blood sugar levels by slowing down the speed at which sugar enters your bloodstream. Coconut flour is also lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein making it better at boosting healthy blood sugar regulation.