Whole Wheat Flour: The Original Nutritional Powerhouse

Whole Wheat Flour: The Original Nutritional Powerhouse

When we start cooking, we often are initially motivated to use high-quality exotic ingredients and spend hours preparing culinary delights. But as life catches up with us, we realize that we often compromise on the food we eat and the ingredients we use for convenience's sake. This often leads us to start using ingredients that may cook quicker and are filling on the face of it, but are less nutritious than we need our food to be for our body to function optimally. In these scenarios, we often need to look back to our culture and our traditional cuisines and re-evaluate our opinions about traditional ingredients, which we may have dismissed just because they may have been too run of the mill, pun intended. One such ingredient that has been a cornerstone in cooking for decades is whole wheat flour.

Especially when it comes to Indian cuisine, due to wheat being one of the most widely cultivated grains in the Indian subcontinent, wheat, and whole wheat flour (also commonly referred to as atta) have played a key role in shaping our cuisine and our dependence on it as a source of nutrients as a part of our daily food intake. In this article, we shall be discussing what is whole wheat flour, how it is made, how we can use it in our daily meals, and its various nutritional benefits.

What is Whole Wheat Flour?

Whole wheat flour, or atta, is made from grinding the whole grain of wheat. Due to the whole grain being used and not just the kernel, as is the case in refined flour, whole wheat flour has a higher nutritional content, tan color, and a nuttier and slightly sweet flavor. The whole grains are ground into fine flour in a flour mill or chakki, which is then used in a variety of baked goods, breads, and flatbreads. Whole wheat atta is among a list of healthy flours that are a better alternative to processed and refined flour and can easily be switched out recipes, which we shall explore later in this article.

Now that we know how to make whole wheat flour and what it is, let us look at its nutritional composition and understand its various benefits.

Whole Wheat Flour Nutritional Facts

We now shall understand whole wheat flour nutrition values by studying a table that outlines the nutritional breakdown of 1 cup (approx. 120g) of flour.

Nutrients Quantities
Carbohydrates 89g
Protein 12-15g
Fat 2g
Calories 398 kcal
Dietary Fiber 2.47g
Phosphorus 461.5mg
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 0.63mg
Magnesium 171.6mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 5.59mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 46.54mcg
Iron 6.37mg
Zinc 2.86mg

Benefits of Whole Wheat Flour

Now that we have understood all about whole wheat flour nutrition values, let us look at how these nutrients benefit our bodies when consumed regularly.

  • Good for Bones: Whole wheat atta has proved to be very beneficial for maintaining bone health, due to its high phosphorus content, a mineral that assists calcium absorption and activity in the body.
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism: Whole wheat flour also has marked levels of vitamin B1 or thiamine, which boosts metabolic activity by helping the body process glucose and help convert it into Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP).
  • Diabetic Friendly: This healthy flour is high in magnesium and zinc, which help to improve the body’s insulin response, regulate blood sugar levels and spikes, and will also help reduce the body’s insulin resistance, which makes it ideal for consumption for diabetics.
  • Good for the Brain: Niacine, or vitamin B3, has been known to improve brain functioning, and whole wheat flour is a great source, which will benefit your body and your mind!
  • Rich in Folic Acid: Folate, folic acid, or vitamin B9, is present in large quantities in this nutritious flour. Folate is known to help boost red blood cell production and maintain new cell health. 
  • Helps Prevent Anemia: This power-packed flour is also rich in iron, which helps prevent anemia and other iron deficiencies and boosts health and well-being.
  • Good Source of Protein: One cup of whole wheat flour contains a high amount of protein, which is great for maintaining muscle health and body functioning.
  • Good for Skin and Eyes: AttaAatta contains high amounts of zinc, which helps boost skin health. Zinc is known to help skin repair and slow down the aging process. Including this flour in your diet will make you feel and look healthier! Furthermore, zinc also aids vitamin A production in our body, which can help prevent ocular conditions like night blindness.
  • Provides Energy: Whole wheat flour also contains marked levels of vitamin B2, which helps boost energy levels by encouraging the development of red blood cells and helps to maintain them and your energy levels.

How to Use Whole Wheat Flour

Now that we have understood some benefits of this flour, let's look at some whole wheat flour uses and how you can incorporate it into your diet regularly.

  • Roti: The most common food item that is made with atta is the traditional Indian roti. Whole wheat flour is mixed with water and kneaded into a dough, portioned and shaped into a flat disk, and roasted on a tawa or skillet. Rotis can be served as an accompaniment to curries, vegetable bakes, gravies, meat dishes, lentils, and so on. If you wish to make homemade delicious rotis at home but want to save time, effort, and energy, opt for a fully automatic roti maker like the Rotimatic.

    The Rotimatic helps you make nutritious rotis from whole wheat and other healthy flours, all at the press of a button!

    Check out Rotimatic

  • Bread: Ditch refined flour and bake hearty, homemade, and nutritious bread with whole wheat flour for added health benefits and delicious taste!
  • Pancakes and Waffles: Whip up fluffy and wholesome pancakes or crispy waffles by substituting whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour in your favorite recipes. Don’t miss out on sweet treats and delicious breakfast feasts just because you are trying to be healthy!
  • Pasta: You can use this nutritious flour instead of refined flour when making pasta at home so that you can opt for healthier alternatives to your favorite dishes.
  • Muffins: You can even bake moist and flavorful muffins by incorporating this flour into your favorite muffin recipes instead of refined flour.
  • Pizza Dough: You can reduce your guilt of eating pizza by opting for a healthier, whole-wheat crust, by incorporating this flour into your pizza-making ingredients.
  • Biscuits: Bake tender and flaky biscuits using a combination of whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt, and butter or shortening. Serve with gravy, jam, or as a side to soups and stews. You can explore many bakery products, like flaky biscuit recipes, that give excellent results even with whole-wheat flour and can be paired with sweet and savory toppings.
  • Cookies: Instead of refined flour, use atta instead! You will get excellent and chewy cookies that will satisfy your sweet tooth and maintain your health!


Whole wheat flour has an approximate shelf life of 6-12 months, from the date of opening of the pack or the date of milling. If you have made your flour at home, store it in a cool, dry, and dark environment, or refrigerate it to maintain freshness. The usual causes of spoilage are moisture, oxidation of the flour, or exposure to direct sunlight.


1. Can I use wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour?

Yes, of course you can! Wheat flour functions just as well as refined flour in recipes, but due to its high protein content, it may result in slightly denser goods.

2. What is the difference between whole-wheat flour and wheat flour?

Whole-wheat flour is prepared from ground whole wheat kernels and incorporates every part of the wheat grains. White flour, or refined wheat flour, is made from a portion of the wheat kernel and is refined and processed.

3. Is whole wheat flour healthier than white flour?

Whole wheat flour is healthier than refined flour as it contains the bran and germ of the wheat grain, which leads to higher fiber, vitamin, and mineral content. As white flour is more processed and refined, it does not contain these nutrients and hence is considered less healthy.