Spelt has been grown, ground and used for producing nutritious food products for centuries – long before many of the wheat hybrids that are commonly used today. One of the oldest cultivated grains, spelt has been found in archaeological digs north of the Black Sea that date to the 5th millennium B.C.
Spelt is often compared to wheat both in its nutritional content as well as its physical characteristics, although it is really a distant cousin. Spelt has more protein, simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. It is also higher in B complex vitamins. Spelt is high in fiber and contains mucopolysaccharides (a type of carbohydrate), which are important in blood clotting and stimulating the immune system. The grain also dissolves easily in water and thus facilitates nutrient absorption. (1)
Because of it’s hard outer hull, spelt is popular as an organic product because it requires less artificial fertilization and is more resistant to pests and disease than wheat. This hull also protects the extra protein and vitamins. Spelt is higher in protein than wheat, and it’s protein is easier to digest, so not everyone who has trouble with consuming wheat products will have trouble with spelt. It is a grain, however, and therefore does contain gluten.
Adding spelt to your daily meals is a great way to boost your whole grain intake, with is a foundation of a healthy diet. Studies consistently show that a diet rich in whole grains is linked to a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and obesity.
Spelt contains a wider variety of nutrients than wheat, including more protein. Spelt, like most whole grains, contains a notable amount of folate, magnesium, selenium, vitamin B2, niacin, thiamin, copper, vitamin E and A. Just a 1/2 cup (125 ml) of cooked spelt provides 4 grams of fiber.
Source: The World’s
Healthiest foods (www.whfoods.org)
(1) Michael Boland, Kansas State University.