The cultivation of spelt has been carried out since the Middle Ages, it is awhole grain knownlong before even wheat.
Missing for a long period of time,spelt returns stomping thanks to its nutritional valuethat is being studied by science.
Next, you will be able to know what spelt is about, its properties, the multiple benefits it brings to health and the possible negative effects of its consumption.
What is spelt?
Spelt (Triticum spelta), also known as spelt, is acerealclosely related to wheat (triticum aestivum) and is in fact considered as a variety of wheat.
Note: The differences between one grain and another are minimal and its nutritional value is very similar, in addition spelt is much more soluble in water than wheat, so it is easier to digest.
Although few people know about the existence of this cereal, the truth is thatits cultivation dates back to the nineteenth century, long before wheat began to be used, although there are data that reveal the use of these grains for more than 7 thousand years.
You should know: It is believed that its origin is in Iran, a country from where it spread to Europe and where it began to become popular as the main ingredient for the preparation of bread and derivatives.
Centuries later, the use of spelt would begin to decline due to itslow productive yield, as well as the difficult process of removing the shell that surrounds the grain and is discarded for crushing.
Note: At present, spelt begins to make its way back into the world of gastronomy thanks to its healthy properties, which are being investigated in depth and are being confirmed little by little.
What nutritional properties does spelt have?
By calories, spelt is composed of 78%carbohydrates, 16% protein and 6% fat.
In terms of nutrients, according to data provided bySelf(1) magazine, one cup of cooked spelt grains contains:
- Manganese: 106% RDA (recommended daily allowance).
- Phosphorus: 29 % RDA.
- Vitamin B3: 25 % RDA.
- Magnesium: 24 % RDA.
- Copper: 21 % RDA.
- Iron: 18 % RDA.
- Zinc: 16 % RDA.
- Vitamin B1: 13 % RDA.
- Fiber: 7.6 g.
- Protein: 10.7 g.
- Calories: 246.
Important: If we compare the proportions of nutrients present in spelt with those of wheat, we find thatspelt has more protein and fat but less insoluble fiber and less total fiber thanwheat.
However, as I said before, the differences are small and both cereals contain large amounts of gluten. Among the properties that stand out the most are:
This cereal does not have a large amount of vitamins, however it highlights itscontribution of B vitamins and vitamin E, which are important within the metabolism of food in energy, keep the muscular system healthy, in addition to its important function to eliminate free radicals from the body.
Spelt is not only rich infibers and proteins, but also concentrates an important variety of minerals, among them are:
Mineral involved in the formation of bones and connective tissue, in the processes of blood clotting and hormones, etc.
Maintaining optimal levels of manganese helpsprevent and improve symptoms of diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis or premenstrual syndrome, among others.
It is the second most abundant mineral in the human body and is stored mainly in bones and teeth, along with calcium.
It participates in processes such as energy production or bone mineralization and is vital for the development, maintenance and repair of tissues andcells.
It is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body and is stored in bones, soft tissues, muscles and blood.
Its functions in the body are many varied, but we can highlight the regulation ofblood glucose, the synthesis of DNA and RNA and the regulation of muscle function.
Mineral involved in the process offormation of red blood cellsand vital for the proper functioning and maintenance of the nervous, bone and immune system. In addition, it is important within the iron absorption process.
Our body needs iron toproduce hemoglobin, the protein responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.
Note: It also participates in theproduction of myoglobin, another protein whose function is to supply oxygen to the muscles.
Mineral involved in immune function, protein and DNA production; Essential for growth and development from gestation to adolescence and necessary todevelop a correct sense of taste and smell.
What are the health benefits of spelt?
Thanks to its great contribution of nutrients, spelthas multiple benefits for the body, becoming one of the favorite dishes for people who want to improve their nutrition with different varieties of foods that contain a good nutritional composition.
1. Fights and prevents constipation
You should know: Insoluble fiber is mainly characterized by itslaxative properties: it passes almost completely intact through the intestine, retains water and forms a very low-viscous mixture.
This mixture of low viscosity is responsible forrelieving the symptoms of constipationby increasing the volume of stool and accelerating intestinal transit.
2. It is a source of protein
The amount of protein provided by spelt is very high: almost11 grams in a cup of cooked spelt, which is equivalent to 21% RDA.
Protein is an essential macronutrient that ispart of the structure of muscles, tendons, organs and skin and isinvolved in many biological processes. Among other functions, protein participates in the production of hormones, enzymes and neurotransmitters and is essential in the daily diet of any person.
Among thebenefits of a high protein intakeare:
- Increase muscle mass.
- Reduce appetite and total calorie intake: promoteweight loss.
- Speed up metabolism.
- Decrease tension.
Tip: In today’s market, you can get foods such as spelt bread and spelt flour (similar to common wheat flour), this grain cereal without shell that can serve as an ingredient in different preparations thanks to its nut-like flavor.
3. Decreases the risk of heart disease
This cereal, similar to common wheat, when consumed in its integral presentation can have benefits for heart health thanks to its high content offiber, calcium and compounds that favor and fortify the heart.
Tip: If you suffer from high blood pressure or heart disease, we recommendreplacing the intake of common wheat with whole spelt flour. Although this flour contains gluten, it is much more digestible than wheat.
4. Prevents strokes
To have a lower risk of stroke, it is necessary to have a healthy lifestyle, starting with good nutrition.
You should know: TheInternational Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine(2) states that theintake of whole grains decreases the chances of suffering strokes.
In addition, foods such as spelt and wheat, in their presentations of bread, grains and flour (with or without shell) promote concentration and memory.
5. Prevents breast cancer
According to studies conducted by theBMJ(3), a diet rich in dietary fiber, with a high level of whole grains, are preventive foods against breast cancer.
Important: Breast cancer is the third most common type of cancer in the world. This disease is currently considered one of the health conditions with the highest mortality rate and risk of being suffered by women of middle to advanced age.
6. Fights type 2 diabetes
The diet in people with high glycemic index, goes beyond the high intake of proteins, in this sense, it is important to include in the kitchen meals with low gluten level, in addition to increasing the size of the portions of cereals and grains.
To highlight: The scientific journalPlos One(4) assures that “Consuming three servings of whole foods (45 g of whole ingredients) per day would induce a relative reduction of 20% in the risk of type 2 diabetescompared to consuming half a serving (7.5 g of whole ingredients)”.
Likewise, thenatural sweet taste that the spelt grain usually has, helps it to be integrated into the meals of diabeticswithout the need to add sweeteners.
7. Improves blood clotting
The zinc contained in this grain, along with its other nutritional properties, in addition to promoting heart health, also intervenes in blood clotting andstrengthening blood vessels.
8. Strengthens the immune system
This culture, containinga large amount of salicylic acid and magnesium, is considered an ally for tissue health that in turn strengthens the immune system, especially in people who usually have low levels of leukocytes.
Does spelt have any negative effects on health?
In general, spelt is ahealthy cereal if consumed in its integral form, but there are several aspects that make it a “forbidden” food for some people.
Like wheat, barley or rye, spelt has a high amount of gluten, a class of protein that can cause allergic reactions that usually manifest themselves in the form of digestive problems, such as diarrhea or bloating.
Note: If you are celiac or sensitive or allergic to gluten, avoid without any doubt the intake of this cereal.
The consumption of speltis also not recommended for people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) due to itsFODMAP content, a type of carbohydrate that can cause various digestive disorders.
Important: Its condition as a food of plant origin causes spelt to contain certain amounts of substances calledantinutrients, which hinder the use and absorption of some nutrients.
Specifically, spelt contains phytic acid and lectins, antinutrients that are reduced when we soak, germinate or ferment the grains of the cereal.