When you are trying to eat healthier, you probably search for the healthiest foods and ingredients you can incorporate into your diet. That is, while also trying to cut back on the amount of junk food you likely consume in any given day. Every once in awhile, an ingredient you have never heard of comes along. It’s very easy to just skip over those foods and stick with what is familiar. In many cases, this is not the best strategy — especially if you are about to completely disregard spelt. If you’ve never heard of spelt, you’re seriously missing out.
Spelt is one of those foods that phased out of popular cuisine 100 years ago, but is back in focus yet again. Why? Because it’s healthy. Because it seems new and exciting (even though it’s not at all new). People like to jump at the chance to try any new food that promises a long list of benefits to their overall health.
The good news is, spelt is very healthy. Though not eating it won’t hurt you, adding it to your plate can provide some serious benefits. Let’s take a look at what spelt is, what’s in it that makes it so good for you, and how to use it in your kitchen daily.
What is spelt?
Its name might puzzle you if you have never heard it before. No, it’s not the past tense of the word “spell!” In reality, it is really nothing more than a grain — though it’s an ancient one that has been around for centuries. So why are you just hearing about it now? Like many other trends, healthy foods like spelt are making a comeback in modern cuisine. That’s not to say you shouldn’t eat it just because it’s popular. In fact, it happens to be one of those healthy foods that actually is as healthy as they say.
Like many other grains, it’s a healthy source of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. It is relatively low in calories per serving, which means it is packed with large amounts of nutrition for the small amount of energy it provides. This is what makes it such a healthy grain — and one you should definitely consider incorporating into your diet, if you are able.
If you were hoping to add spelt to your gluten-free diet, you might want to consider removing it from your shopping list. Unfortunately, spelt is too closely related to wheat to be considered gluten-free — it still contains the protein that causes an autoimmune response in people with celiac disease. However, there are other gluten-free grains you can enjoy. Quinoa, rice, amaranth, and teff are all grains that are safe to eat for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
Now that you know what spelt is, and you have an idea of how healthy it can be, let’s take a closer look at all the ways it can improve your life. On the surface, it seems like a miracle grain. It’s just as beneficial as many other foods out there — just something different to try if you need to stir up your go-to meals and snacks.
1. Spelt promotes a healthy immune system
Thiamine, also known as vitamin B1, plays many roles throughout your body. Mainly, B vitamins are essential for converting carbohydrates into energy, and keeping certain body systems in check — especially those involves your muscles, nerves, and brain. It also plays a small role in immunity, and can help reduce the stress and anxiety that often weakens your body’s defenses against disease.
Spelt, which contains this and other B vitamins, can therefore help protect you from disease. Spelt alone won’t shield you from the various bacteria and viruses that attempt to sicken you on a daily basis. However, it can help contribute to a much healthier you in the long-term.
2. It’s good for blood circulation
Spelt is a good source of iron. Iron is a component of a substance called hemoglobin. Hemoglobin, which exists in your red blood cells, is responsible for carrying oxygen-rich blood from your lungs to various parts of your body. Iron deficiency is all too common, and it makes it more difficult for your red blood cells to get oxygen to the places it’s needed inside you. This is why it is so important to eat foods with plenty of iron — like spelt — in addition to taking a multivitamin that contains iron, to cover any gaps in your diet.
Other foods rich in iron include beans, red meat, seafood, spinach, and raisins. Some foods are fortified with iron, but spelt contains it naturally.
3. It’s good for your bone health
Spelt is rich in a variety of minerals that are actually essential for bone health — even more so than just calcium alone. It contains selenium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper. All these minerals are responsible for creating and also strengthening bone tissue. If you increase the amount of these minerals in your diet — if you eat more spelt — you can set yourself up for a long life with healthy bones. Healthy bones can help to prevent osteoporosis, as well as other age-related conditions that could negatively impact your bone health.
Other foods that are good for your bone health include cabbage, sardines, nuts, tofu, milk and cheese, eggs, tahini, salmon, and even onions. If you can find a way to incorporate one or several of these foods into a recipe involving spelt, your bones are going to be stronger than ever.
4. Spelt keeps your hormones in balance
Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is part of the essential B vitamin family that helps keep your body’s systems running at full capacity. It also plays a small role in hormone regulation. In particular, niacin interacts with your adrenal glands — the glands that produce sex hormones. If your hormones are out of sorts, life becomes extremely difficult. This is why eating foods containing vitamins like B3 — like spelt — is extremely important.
You may also like: