Health Benefits

Health Benefits

Spelt is fast gaining popularity as a health food because it contains a broad spectrum of nutrients, including complex carbohydrates, sugar, soluble and insoluble fiber, sodium, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and more. Spelt is high in vitamin B2, niacin, manganese, thiamin,  copper, and magnesium. Because spelt is highly water soluble, these nutrients are easily absorbed by the body. In addition to being loaded with essential nutrients, Spelt is a good source of dietary fiber, which has been shown to lower total and LDL cholesterol levels. And it tastes great, too!

Who should eat spelt?

Anyone who cares about good nutrition and maintaining a healthy weight should consider spelt as an alternative to common wheat. People with specific health problems, ranging from allergies, cardiovascular disease, IBS, diabetes, arthritis, migraines, atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, to autoimmune disorders will benefit from eating spelt. As always, consult your doctor if you have concerns about allergies or celiac disease.

Photo: Livestrong.com

Spelt contains special carbohydrates – called Mucopolysaccharides. Mucopolysaccharides possess anti-inflammatory properties and contribute to longevity by supporting our bones, joints, and cartilage. These complex carbs are basically a long chain of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of glucose molecules. From a nutritional standpoint, this long chain of energy-packed molecules is important because it digests slowly compared with the carbs contained in many refined grains.This makes the energy in Spelt available over the long haul and accounts for its use for “carbohydrate loading” by athletes before competition. In fact, According to legend, warriors in the area now known as Germany ate spelt before going into battle. The Roman Legionnaires who fought them were so impressed, that they added spelt to their diets, too – and called it the ‘marching grain’.

Spelt, the digestible grain

The combination of high fiber and low, fragile gluten content in spelt make this grain much easier to digest than modern, common wheat. That’s great news for anyone suffering from digestive issues, including irritable bowel syndrome. Fiber supplied by whole grains also helps to reduce total and LDL cholesterol levels and has been shown to protect pre-menopausal women from breast cancer.

Spelt helps prevent diabetes and other insulin-resistance diseases

The risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity is linked in many people to insulin resistance. Spelt has a lower glycemic index than modern, processed wheat. Spelt is also high in fiber, Vitamin E and magnesium, which plays an integral role in the enzymes used in the secretion of glucose it helps to lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes. This particular combination – lower glycemic index, high fiber, Vitamin E and magnesium – make spelt a health choice for anyone with insulin-resistance related diseases. Spelt is also high in niacin, which is contributes to the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

How the phytoestrogens and lignans in spelt support good health

Spelt is an excellent source of two important compounds: phytoestrogens and lignans. Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that may affect blood cholesterol levels, blood vessel elasticity, bone metabolism, and many other cellular metabolic processes. Lignans are phyto-nutrients, a class of plant compounds beneficial to human health but not classified as vitamins. Recent research has shown that plant lignans may influence the development of tumors such as breast, prostate and colon cancers that depend on hormones to start and progress. 1,2,3. Lignans may also support good cardiovascular health and help to moderate the symptoms of menopause and osteoporosis.

For more information on the health benefits of spelt, and for a complete nutritional analysis, visit The World’s Healthiest Foods website. (The World’s Healthiest Foods website is published by the George Mateljan Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation with no commercial interests or advertising.)

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