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Medical Uses and Benefits of Flour

Flour and the medical uses and benefits

Medical Uses and/or Benefits of Flour
A lower risk of some kinds of cancer. In 1998, scientists at Wayne State University in Detroit conducted a meta-analysis of data from more than 30 well-designed animal studies measuring the anti-cancer effects of wheat bran, the part of grain with highest amount of the insoluble dietary fibers cellulose and lignin. They found a 32 percent reduction in the risk of colon cancer among animals fed wheat bran; now they plan to conduct a similar meta-analysis of human studies. Whole wheat flours are a good source of wheat bran. NOTE: The amount of fiber per serving listed on a food package label shows the total amount of fiber (insoluble and soluble).

Early in 1999, however, new data from the long-running Nurses Health Study at Brigham Women's Hospital/Harvard University School of Public Health showed that women who ate a high-fiber diet had a risk of colon cancer similar to that of women who ate a low-fiber diet. Because this study contradicts literally hundreds of others conducted over the past 30 years, researchers are awaiting confirming evidence before changing dietary recommendations.

Adverse Effects Associated with Flour
Allergic reactions. According to the Merck Manual, wheat is one of the foods most commonly implicated as a cause of allergic upset stomach, hives, and angioedema (swollen lips and eyes).

Gluten intolerance (celiac disease). Celiac disease is an intestinal allergic disorder that makes it impossible to digest gluten and gliadin (proteins found in wheat and some other grains). Corn flour, potato flour, rice flour, and soy flour are all gluten- and gliadin-free.

Ergot poisoning. Rye and some kinds of wheat will support ergot, a parasitic fungus related to lysergic acid (LSD). Because commercial flours are routinely checked for ergot contamination, there has not been a major outbreak of ergot poisoning from bread since a 1951 incident in France. Since baking does not destroy ergot toxins, the safest course is to avoid moldy flour altogether.


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