Updated: Apr 27, 2022
A short post giving some insight into what Spelt is, how it differs from modern wheat and the health benefits associated with it.
Spelt was an important staple food in parts of Europe from the Bronze Age to medieval times. It started losing it's popularity around the 19th century however it is making its comeback as a health food. The history and origin of spelt is complicated but it is thought to be a hybridization of wild goat-grass and another ancient grain, emmer. This grain is among the oldest cultivated grains in the world with the earliest evidence being from 6000 BCE.
Although spelt is a subspecies of wheat there are some key differences. Spelt has never been hybridised or chemically altered at all over the years, unlike modern wheat, and it is also considered more nutritious.
Spelt is an excellent source of carbohydrates and dietary fibre, being particularly rich in iron, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc and niacin (vitamin B3). It is also rich in micronutrients such as calcium and vitamin E. Consuming spelt and other whole grains has been found to improve heart health, aid digestion, reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer, and help people achieve or maintain a healthy weight. It should be noted that spelt contains gluten and thus is not suitable for people with celiac disease, however it should be easily digested by people with wheat intolerance or sensitivity due to its protein molecular structure being weaker.
Furthermore there has been some research linking spelt with better mood. Spelt promotes the production of healthy blood cells which results in a relaxed temperament. It’s taste has been compared to the likes of toasted almond, light brown walnut, toffee and caramel.
As with Einkorn and Emmer, its farming is very beneficial for soil regeneration. It not only survives but thrives in soils where most other types of wheat do not. It doesn't need soil overly rich in nutrients or much water, making it naturally resilient. Growing this grain therefore supports biodiversity as it can grow without the aid of any chemicals, pesticides or fertilisers.
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