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Wondering How to Find the Best Whole Wheat Atta? Read This

Wondering How to Find the Best Whole Wheat Atta? Read This

Wondering-How-to-Find-the-Best-Whole-Wheat-Atta?-Read-This

Wondering How to Find the Best Whole Wheat Atta? Read This

Health and Nutrition
8.06.2020

Wheat flour is the most underrated food type in India. While it is a staple in most Indian households, we rarely appreciate its role in our diets. According to the Ancient History Encyclopaedia, grains were ground for flour as early as 3rd century BC by the Romans! Today, more than 20 centuries later, we continue to do the same in India and around the globe.

However, awareness about whole wheat flour nutrition is recent. Nutritionists and dietitians strongly recommend the use of whole wheat atta and the elimination of refined wheat flour from our diets.  Why do they do so? Let’s find out.

How is Whole Wheat Atta Made?

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Whole wheat atta is made by grinding the whole wheat kernel (or wheatberry). The flour has equal proportions of the three layers of the wheat grain – bran, endosperm and germ. Unlike, white flour, which is made up of only the endosperm part of the wheat, whole wheat flour retains the nutrients present in the germ and the fibre present in the bran. In India, white wheat is generally used to make this flour.

Nutritional Information

Know more about wheat flour nutrition values through this chart. The values shown are for a serving size of 100g.

Nutritional ParametersAmount
Calories340
Total Fat2.5g
Sodium2mg
Carbohydrates60.6g
Sugar0.4g
Dietary Fibre11g
Protein13g
Calcium34mg
Iron3.6mg
Potassium360mg

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Health Benefits

The wheat flour benefits are multi-fold for human health. Some of them are:

  • Protects against cancer, obesity and diabetes: A study conducted by the French National Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment found how whole grains protect against these diseases. This is because of the presence of high fibre that promotes the feeling of satiety and the presence of nutrients, vitamins and minerals in the wheat bran and germ that work as antioxidants and anti-carcinogenic.
  • Lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease: A systematic review of 20 studies published in the ‘Advances in Nutrition’ journal, showed that a 25% decrease in risk of mortality due to cardiovascular diseases is achieved by increasing the consumption of whole grains by just 90g a day (3 servings).
  • Decreases the risk of stroke: According to the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, consumption of whole grains like wheat decreases the risk of stroke.
  • Improves digestion: Consumption of whole wheat has a prebiotic effect on the human gut, leading to better digestion due to the presence of fibre, according to The British Journal of Nutrition.

Tips to Keep in Mind While Buying Whole Wheat Atta

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1. Don’t Buy Just Wheat Flour; It Should Be ‘100% Whole Wheat’

Make sure that what you are buying is not just wheat flour or whole wheat flour but ‘100% whole wheat flour’. Sometimes you might be fooled by big brands into believing that wheat flour or just 20% whole wheat flour or refined wheat flour is the same thing as whole wheat atta. It isn’t, and you will not get the nutritional benefits from atta that is not made from whole wheat.

2. Pay Attention to the Colour and Coarseness

While buying atta if you notice that the colour is white, don’t buy it. Whole wheat atta is usually brownish in colour and has a coarse texture. But if it is too brown, then also it is not pure, so beware. If you feel it’s fine in texture, you can safely assume that maida or something else has been mixed in it.

3. Get it Ground in Front of You

You can also get the flour ground as your watch, if you cannot trust the brands. This is the best way to ensure that you get the finest quality of wheat flour. No compromises.

4. Test it

Take a handful of atta and put in a jar of water. If extra bran is added to it to give it a brown appearance, it will float on top. This is not natural whole wheat flour. Diluted hydrochloric acid tests can also be done to determine its purity. If the atta, when dropped with diluted hydrochloric acid forms bubbles, then it is not pure.

5. Check the Shelf Life

Pure whole wheat atta has a short shelf life of about one or two months. But refined wheat flour that is made only with the endosperm part of the wheat grain can be preserved for much longer – approximately four to six months. If the shelf life is that long, then the atta is mixed and not pure.

6. Added Ingredients is Not a Good Thing Always

A brand might sell the flour by saying things like ‘fortified with XYZ minerals or nutrients,’ but this doesn’t mean that they are good for health. Anything artificial is unnecessary. Also, steer clear of bleached flour. Check the label for popular bleaching agents. If you find one, drop that packet.

Departing Thoughts

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As you bake delicious bread, cookies, cook parathas and what not using whole wheat atta here’s an interesting fun fact you’d like to know. Using metric conversions, we found that one kilogram of whole wheat flour can have more than 15,000 wheat grains or more! Sometimes, when the average seed weight is 35gm, one kilogram of wheat can have more than 22,000 grains, according to research by the Government of Western Australia!

Choose whole wheat atta to prepare those delectable recipes; your health will thank you. And now you also know how to pick the best one.

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