Made from finely milled broken rice-kernel hulls, this pantry staple has a milder taste than most gluten-free flours. “When possible, choose brown-rice flour over white for the extra potassium, calcium, iron, B vitamins, fiber, and protein,” says Marlisa Brown, RD, author of Gluten-Free, Hassle Free (Demos Medical Publishing, 2009). One cup of brown-rice flour has three times more vitamin B6 than whole-wheat flour; this oft-ignored B vitamin may slash colorectal cancer risk by half, according to a 2009 Harvard study.
Try it: Great for mixing into bean burgers, rice flour is also ideal for making muffins, breads, pizza crust, and homemade crackers and pasta. Not everyone loves the flour’s sandy texture, though, and if that includes you, try replacing a quarter or more of rice flour in recipes with other flours, “particularly those high in protein to balance texture and build structure,” Brown says. To thicken gravies and sauces, gradually add a small amount of rice flour while stirring over low heat until it reaches desired thickness.
Half a cup of hempseed flour boasts twice as much protein (about 20 grams) and three times more cholesterol-busting fiber than whole-wheat flour. This unique option also contains all essential amino acids, making it a good source of protein for vegetarians. Compared to other flours, hempseed contains more alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that may reduce the risk of heart attack, according to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Oleo Science.
Try it: Hempseed flour’s nutty, earthy flavor adds a distinct taste to pancakes, waffles, energy bars, oatmeal cookies, and nut breads. But too much of this hearty flour can produce an unappetizing, gritty texture. Brown suggests replacing 25 percent of the white or wheat flour found in recipes with hempseed and experimenting from there.