Does flour go bad is a very pertinent question; yes, it certainly does.
One hundred percent whole wheat contains a huge number of vital vitamins, minerals and fat. Once the kernel is cracked and air can get to these components, oxidation begins; in short, it goes rancid, and relatively quickly.
The food manufacturing industry's solution is simple; remove these substances. So most wheat foods are either 100 percent extraction which means that all the bran and wheat germ are removed, and it's often then also bleached to make it super white; perfect for the uninformed housewife.
Or, 60% percent extraction flour is used, meaning that 40% of the goodies have been removed. In practice that means that over half of the B vitamins and minerals are lost; interestingly, they go to animal food where it's described as a "wastage product" of the milling industry.
So too the bran is removed; it's the insoluble fibre that gives the stool bulk, making it easy to pass. Whilst I don't believe in adding extra bran to our food, the natural bran in one hundred percent whole wheat has been shown in research published in the journal Diabetes Care to greatly reduce metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance.
In short, even the most common whole wheat foods, having in reality less than 50% of the real stuff, are denatured, dangerous and fattening.
It's the oils in the wheat germ that go rancid; in nature, and in our bodies, these fats are protected against the air by an anti oxidant called vitamin E.
When these rancid and oxidised oils enter the body, their toxic waste products attack the inner lining, or intima, of our blood vessels causing a disease process called atherosclerosis that progresses to high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Therein we sit on the horns of a dilemma; we buy and use one hundred percent whole wheat flour that was milled certainly weeks and perhaps months previously, but it's now loaded with the oxidised breakdown products of fats going rancid.
Or we eat refined flour that has much of the valuable part removed.
The solution comes in two parts.
Neither of these may be palatable to us; then we have to accept a certain future of high blood pressure and heart disease, and the growing incidence of diabetes in our world.
Freezing your flour in an airtight container certainly helps; the whole oxidative process is slowed. Refined white flour has no nutrients, other than starch, so there's no point in keep it in the fridge.
Lignans are a phytochemical that have a structure similar to oestrogen; they are broken down in the bowel to form a compound called enterodiol that research has proved gives protection against many cancers, including the breast and prostate.
Lignans are found in large amounts in whole grains and seeds. White flour has none, they go as wastage product to animal feed.
Whole wheat and sesame and flax seeds have large amounts of lignans.
I'm uncertain if they too go bad; more study required, Dr B.
Inflammation is another area of great interest to chiropractors and their patients. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, proved that apparently healthy individuals eating a diet low in choline and it's breakdown product betaine had 20% more low grade systemic inflammation in their bodies.
They are found in eggs, tofu, wholewheat, spinach, beetroot and swiss chard.
Less low grade systemic inflammation translates into less back pain, fewer headaches and a lower level of inflamed blood vessels.
If you're interested read the abstract at AJCN nutrition 87/2/424.
It's indisputable now that women for go on to HRT have a much higher incidence of breast and uterine cancer. Interestingly, these women, if they enjoy high fibre diets, especially from grains and fruit, have a fifty percent reduced rate of breast cancer, when compared with those who ate the least fibre.
A wheat grinder is the answer to the question does flour go bad.
Yes, healthy flour certainly has a shelf life, unlike the refined product that keeps for ever.
I could go on ad nauseum about the proven benefits of 100% whole wheat on gallstones, obesity, constipation, asthma, diabetes and a host of other diseases.
Rather than suffer from these maladies, we decided to make the considerable investment in a wheat grinder, to purchase whole wheat grains and daily grind flour that would go bad, except that it is immediately used.
That decision meant also a conscious decision to reduce our white flour consumption; my wife tells me that we have used one and half pounds in three months.
Compare that with 3/4 pound of whole wheat flour in each loaf of low GI bread that I bake daily. That's 70 pounds in three months.
We bought the grinder twenty years ago; it's definitely paid for itself many times over. Neither of us take any drugs or have any health issues, in our late sixties; but that's an anecdote of course of no real value.
Does flour go bad and antioxidant vitamin E are fundamentally linked.
Antioxidant vitamin E is found in eight different isomers, all of which are important in human health. In this instance it's these properties that are so important in helping prevent flour from going bad.
In the refining process both the germ, including vitamin E and fatty acids, and the bran is removed. Isn't it odd that weevils have no interest in refined flour, and it has an indefinite shelf life? All the goodness is gone, either added to animal fodder or turned into expensive bran and softgel capsules and sold back to us at great profit.
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