Spelt is a cereal that has been cultivated for about 7,000 years, being grown in both ancient China and ancient Egypt. In fact, in ancient China, it was common not only to eat it as food but also to use it as an ingredient in the brewing process.
In some areas spelt is traditionally known as green or wild wheat, although it is true that it is not very well known at present, even though it is used to make bulgur, a typical meal in the Orient, which consists of cooking the wheat grains on a grill and then breaking them up.
What is spelt?
Spelt is a lesser-known or popular cereal than wheat (Triticum aestivum), although some consider it to be a variety of wheat. For this reason, it is known scientifically as Triticum spelta.
We can consider it a subspecies of wheat, differing mainly not only in its nutritional contribution (much greater in the case of spelt) but by the characteristics of its shell, which is certainly difficult to remove.
It has been grown for more than 7,000 years and is even older than common wheat when it was already grown in countries like Iran.
Despite its nutritional value and richness, the truth is that with the evolution of the most modern agricultural techniques, spelt ceased to be cultivated around the 19th century, falling almost into oblivion, mainly because the harvesters of that time were capable of harvesting common wheat in a unique process, and spelt was not, making the process more expensive.
Luckily, today spelt cultivation is recovering, especially in the mountainous areas of Central Europe, where this cereal stands out precisely because it is much more resistant to the harshest climatic conditions. This, together with the fact that it does not need pesticides or chemical fertilizers, is a cereal that is commonly used in organic farming.
Thanks to it and the popularity that natural and organic food is gaining in recent years, its cultivation has increased, and it has recovered again.
And what is spelt flour?
As you can imagine, spelt flour is one made from the grinding of spelt grains. It stands out for being a fine powder very used for the elaboration of bread, since it is a type of flour that offers an aroma as delicious as peculiar, and a flavor that remembers very much to the rustic pieces of bread that were made before.
However, when it comes to making bread itself, most master bakers recommend combining spelt flour with wheat flour, as this gives a better result.
Nutritional benefits of spelt
Spelt stands out above all as an ideal wheat variety for organic cultivation, which mainly means that most spelt products currently on the market come from organic agriculture/cultivation.
High nutrient content, superior to common wheat
From a nutritional point of view, it is a cereal extremely rich in protein (it contains 8 essential amino acids), minerals (such as phosphorus, iron, and magnesium), and vitamins (especially B vitamins, vitamin E, and beta-carotene).
In addition, we must take into account that it stands out as one of the oldest cereals, which has not suffered as many genetic modifications as, for example, common wheat. Therefore, it has kept many of its original characteristics and elements.
Higher protein content
While common wheat provides about 10% of protein, spelt stands out for providing a much higher amount (about 15%). In addition, these proteins contain essential amino acids, among which the presence of lysine stands out.
Interesting contribution in fiber
It also stands out for its high fiber content, which makes it a suitable cereal in case of constipation. Thanks to this nutritional benefit, it is also an ideal cereal for slimming diets.
What’s more, the fiber present in spelt is mostly soluble, which means that it helps delay the absorption of carbohydrates, making it ideal in fact for people with diabetes.
More vitamins and minerals
And, as could not be less, compared to common wheat, spelt also stands out for its higher contribution of minerals. For example, the presence of magnesium, iron, zinc, and phosphorus is particularly noteworthy.
Among the vitamins, the presence of group B vitamins (especially B12), in addition to vitamins E and A, is particularly noteworthy.
Nutritional information on spelt
Can people with coeliac disease consume spelt?
We must bear in mind that spelt, like common wheat, contains gluten. This means that people with coeliac disease (i.e. gluten intolerance) cannot eat spelt.
This article is published for information purposes only. It cannot and should not substitute for consultation with a Nutritionist. We advise you to consult your trusted Nutritionist.