Multi-grain flour (or Atta) is made by mixing two or more different types of flours of food grains. The mixing can be done to achieve some specific objective…
1/3. Enrichment of diet with more nutrition which any single flour is not able to provide,
2/3. To help in managing specific health condition, or
3/3. If you want to have a break from the regularly consumed flour and want to change the taste.
Since there are many varieties of grains which can be mixed, there are many ways to choose the food grains that have to be mixed. However, one should know the specific nutrient profile of each of these flours.
Types of Multi-Grain Flours
The four major types of multi-grain flours which are available in the market or which the people usually prefer to use in households are as following…
1/4. Multi-grain flour for diabetes patients
Diabetic people have high blood sugar content in their blood which the body has failed to break down into energy due to improper insulin response. Normally, diabetic people are advised to refrain from all things sweets, which essentially involves high sugary content items or high carbohydrate content. Presence of high glucose levels affects different organs of the body and does not allow for their normal functioning.
In this situation, special care relating to diet should be taken. Therefore, all those food grains which do not have high levels of carbohydrates and are rich in fiber content are considered to be good for managing sugar levels. A multi-grain atta for diabetic people can be made using these grains.
The major grains which people generally mix for preparing flour are Chana or Chickpea, Ragi, Barley, Amaranth, Buckwheat, Brown rice and Daliya (or Bulgur).
2/4. Protein-rich multi-grain flour for growth
Proteins are needed for growth and strength of the body. These are required to boost the stamina and metabolism, build muscle and for health of gut. The protein rich multi-grain flour can be made by mixing food grains having high protein content.
These grains as whole wheat, brown rice, buckwheat, amaranth and quinoa, to name a few.
3/4. Multi-grain flour for ease of bowel movement
Generally fiber-rich diet is recommended for people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation or any other issue which prevent ease of expulsion of excreta from body. For this reason, fiber-rich mixed grain flour is a good alternative to single grain flour.
Millets are generally rich in fiber and when mixed with wheat, these not only add fiber but also more nutrition to food. Another point to be noted is that the flour shall be made from bran or husk containing whole grains, not from the de-husked ones.
Whole grains of wheat and rice, buckwheat, cracked wheat, jowar, bajra, ragi, barley and corn are some of the flours which are rich in fiber. You can even add ‘Isabgol’ (psyllium) husk to it.
Presence of insoluble fiber adds bulk to stool and eases movement of bowels. It also prevents too much of bloating and flatulence, giving you feel of good health.
High fibre flours also reduce the levels of blood sugar and reduce the bad cholesterol level preventing many heart-related ailments.
4/4. Multi-grain flour for Celiac disease and gluten sensitive patients
Celiac disease is a medical condition which leads to deterioration of intestinal condition…
(a) due to consumption of gluten-rich foods
(b) certain people develop allergic reactions on eating gluten food.
Both these categories of people have to take those eatable items which do not contain gluten contain.
Since flour is used quite commonly in households, a gluten-free mix atta of various grains is a good option for regular use. Some of the grains or cereals which are free from gluten are rice, amaranth, buckwheat, corn, bajra, ragi, sorghum and quinoa. These grains are also good for Celiac disease patients. These can be used to make a multi-grain atta for regular consumption.
Bringing Millets in Diet Using Multi-grain Flour
There are staple diets for every region of the country which include one or two types of flours which are consumed on regular basis. Wheat and rice are the two such grains which are consumed on daily basis all over the country. Millets form staple diet elements of only small section of population. This keeps the nutrient rich millets- jowar, bajra and ragi- out of the regular diet of many.
Since millets are not consumed on wide scale due to their rather coarse texture and neutral taste, mixing with other flours can help increase their consumption among masses.
Multi-grain flours invariably have composition of nutrient rich millets which makes the diet more complete. So, multi-grain flours are a good way of incorporating millets in the flour and bringing these into diet.
Season is a consideration for mixing grains
Besides health and wellness, season can also be a consideration in mixing the different food grains for multi-grain flours. For example, bajra and ragi are good for consumption during the winters. Jowar can be used for whole year.
What is the ideal proportion of mixing?
Generally, the easiest way to mix the food grains is in equal amounts by weight. So, if you are mixing 4 flours, it is 25% each. However, you can alter this as per you own will depending on your precise requirements and matching these with the nutrition profile of the food grain. It is advisable to seek opinion of an expert nutritionist or dietician.