Spelt is a healthy cereal grain that has been known for its rich nutritional values since the early ages. You must have tried a few whole grains but spelt comes with an exceptional nutritional benefit.
What Is Spelt?
Spelt is a healthy whole grain like wheat, barley, or rye. Scientists consider spelt as one of the most significant types of wheat. There are other forms of wheat too, like einkorn wheat, Khorasan wheat, and modern semi-dwarf wheat. These wheat are much closely related and contain almost the same variety of nutrients, including gluten. Spelt is, therefore, no exception. But if you try to maintain a gluten-free diet, to get rid of celiac disease, avoid the regularity of having spelt in your diet (1Trusted Source).
The Nutrients in Spelt:
Almost 1 cup or 194 grams of cooked spelt consists of (2Trusted Source):
- Calories: 246
- Fiber: 7.5 grams
- Carbohydrates: 51 grams
- Protein: 10.7 grams
- Fat: 1.7 grams
- Manganese: 92% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Phosphorous: 23% of the DV
- Niacin: 31% of the DV
- Magnesium: 23% of the DV
- Zinc: 22% of the DV
- Iron: 18% of the DV
Apart from these, spelt grains or spelt bread contain other essential dietary components such as:
Besides, spelt is a reliable source of high-quality protein that is present in it in the form of gluten. It is also a rich source of carbohydrates and dietary fiber that is essential for proper absorption and regular gut movement in your body.
Spelt And Its Health Benefits:
Just like other wheat of whole grains, spelt is a rich storehouse of carbohydrates, which comes in the form of starch, or as compound molecular chains of glucose and related polymer chains like fructose or galactose (3 Trusted Source).
Whole grains of spelt wheat contains high amounts of dietary fiber. Studies have shown that regular intake of high fiber in your diet is essential to slow down the rate of digestion and absorption, which helps to reduce high blood sugar levels in your body.
Having spelt wheat is significantly healthy for your body because the rich sources of fiber in it is important to lower the risk of several diseases like obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and among aged individuals. (4 Trusted Source)
The most significant health benefits of spelt are listed below:
1. Reduces Chances of Heart Disease:
Heart diseases have become exceedingly common in today’s world. So, apart from taking supplements, it is always important to have a nutrient-stuffed diet every day so that your body can combat any cardiovascular-related diseases.
Dieticians have opined that having high dietary fiber and whole grain cereals in your regular diet can reduce the risk of heart disease. Several studies reveal that a high fiber present in spelt can lower the levels of cholesterol in your heart. High cholesterol increases the chances of developing cardiac problems like heart attacks and strokes. The high fiber, proteins, and carbohydrates in spelt reduce the levels of bad or LDL cholesterol and promote the formation of good or HDL cholesterol. It also helps to reduce high blood pressure a potential factor responsible for several cardiac issues. Other studies show that a high-fiber diet may lower your risk of developing heart disease in general and strokes. The high fiber, proteins, and carbohydrates in spelt reduce the levels of bad or LDL cholesterol and promote the formation of good or HDL cholesterol. It also helps to reduce high blood pressure a potential factor responsible for several cardiac issues. Other studies show that a high-fiber diet may lower your risk of developing heart disease in general. (5 Trusted Source).
2. Helps In Weight Loss:
Dieticians always suggest lowering your calorie intake if you are planning to for a weight loss. High intakes of dietary fiber, carbohydrates, and high-quality proteins will not only strengthen your immunity but will also help to give your body a sense of fullness and thus help to regulate absorption and metabolism. It also regulates the easy flow of food particles through your digestive tract. Spelt like any other whole-grain cereal meal contains all these essential nutrients that are beneficial for maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the chances of obesity. Experts say that spelt plays a major role in promoting weight loss.
Some Concerns About Having Spelt:
Though spelt is packed with essential nutrients and high fiber, it can be fatal for some people in several cases. Some health concerns about having regular spelt can be:
1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome:
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a very common disorder that develops in the gastrointestinal tract of your body and leads to several adverse effects of your body like stomach pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. Almost 11% of the total world population suffers from IBS due to the consumption of unhealthy food particles through their diet (6 Trusted Source).
Experts say that the conditions and health effects of irritable bowel syndrome vary among different individuals, but cause health triggers from various food components like FOOD MAPS, a special group of short-chain carbohydrates. Regular wheat like churned wheat bread or chapatis contains these that can lead to health adversities like IBS (7 Trusted Source).
The amount of fodmaps gets increased in modern wheat-based foods because of the way these items are produced. For example, modern wheat doughs or bread contain high levels of FODMAPS because they are produced by a process called fermentation. The regular wheat-based bread we consume thus contains high amounts of FODMAPs (8 Trusted Source).
Spelt wheat, including sourdough, is considered to be “safe” because it contains a very low amount of fodmaps, compared to modern wheat items.
Here are some tips for including spelt in your diet if you have IBS:
- Read the label. Make sure the ingredients list on the label says 100% spelt flour or spelt bread.
- Choose sourdough. Pick some sourdough bread to eat.
- Limit serving size. Do not eat more than 3 slices (26 grams each) per sitting.
2. Gluten Irritability and Wheat Allergy:
Gluten is a component that is a mixture of two chemicals called gliadin and glutenin. These are protein components that are found in cereals and whole grains, especially in spelt. These components can prove to be harmful to people who intake a gluten-free diet and this may cause serious celiac diseases and lack gluten sensitivity. People who suffer from celiac disease should avoid spelt wheat because such intake may lead to inflammation in the small intestine. In some cases, a high intake of gluten from spelt can also lead to some serious fatal conditions like bowel cancer, schizophrenia, and epilepsy. People with allergenic syndromes, mostly with a food allergy should also avoid having spelt (9 Trusted Source).
3. High Antinutrients in Spelt
Compared to other whole grains and cereals, spelt contains some amount of antinutrients. Antinutrients are components like phytic acid and lectins that can potentially cause several health hazards in your body. The main antinutrients found in spelt are:
4. Phytic acid
Phytic acid is a plant compound that is found in various cereals and whole-grain foods. This compound is present in spelt in considerable proportions, and it is responsible for reducing the absorption of minerals such as iron and zinc into your bloodstreams like wheat, maize, corn, and several other cereal foods, spelt also contain a notable amount of phytic acid. Experts have derived a new way to lower the amount of this component is spelt. Processes like soaking, sprouting, and fermenting can reduce the phytic levels (10 Trusted Source).
Lectins are a group of components that are protein compounds. This compound is found in several bowls of cereal and whole grains, including spelt. Many experts claim that a high intake of protein compounds like lectins through spelt can cause damage to the gastrointestinal tract, create disorders related to digestion, and autoimmune diseases. Though these compounds are mostly destroyed while cooking, people should limit the high intake of these compounds if they feel discomfort after having them (11 Trusted Source).
Spelt is an essential example of whole wheat and cereal grain that has an exceptional nutrient profile, consisting of high-quality fiber, protein, carbohydrates, and several essential nutrients. But there are certain health concerns regarding the consumption of spelt in certain groups of people.
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