Let's first start with a bit of history...
Spelt flour is believed to be one of the oldest cultivated crops in human history. It is known also as dinkel wheat or hulled wheat and is a grain that is closely related to wheat. It was also an important staple in parts of Europe. Spelt is typically hard to find and very expensive, probably why you may have never heard of it before!
While more and more people deal with wheat sensitivities each year, spelt offers an alternative to wheat flour. Although it does contain gluten, it seems it is more easily tolerated than wheat. It is also an excellent source of nutrients and tends to be easier on the digestive system because it is more water soluble.
Health Benefits of Spelt Flour
Spelt aids blood circulation, boosts the immune system, builds strong bones and aids digestion. Research shows people with varying health conditions can benefit from spelt flour, particularly those with weak and brittle bones, high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar levels, and hypertension.
- Aids Circulation
The copper and iron present in spelt flour allows this grain to aid blood circulation.
Iron helps transport oxygen throughout the blood. In fact, research shows that an iron deficiency is most commonly linked to the development of anemia, which is a condition that is due to a lack of healthy red blood cells being produced.
Iron helps metabolize proteins and plays a role in the production of hemoglobin and red blood cells, serving as a natural treatment for anemia.
- Builds Strong Bones
With an impressive range of essential minerals that strengthen the bones, spelt is a natural choice for boosting bone health.
Calcium and phosphorus, for example, bind together to form crystals that make up bones and teeth. Together, they strengthen bones and keep them strong for a lifetime, according to a study at the University of North Carolina.
With 29 percent of your recommended daily value of phosphorus in spelt flour, you are well on your way to providing for your bones. Foods high in phosphorus, like spelt flour, also maintain the body at the proper pH level and help with energy extraction.
- Helps Boost Immune System
The vitamins and minerals in spelt flour help to boost the immune system and reduce inflammation.
Iron, for example, is closely linked to the immune system, according research published in the Journal of Neural Transmission. It’s also needed to properly digest and absorb other nutrients from food, due to its role in the metabolic enzyme process.
In addition, iron helps bring enough oxygen to damaged areas of the body, including damaged tissues, organs and cells that are prone to infection or disease development.
According to research published in Biochemistry, thiamine plays a role in immune system activation. That’s because thiamine helps maintain the muscle tone along the walls of the digestive tract, where much of the immune system is actually located — and spelt flour’s thiamine count helps prevent thiamine deficiency.
It also wards off inflammation and helps fight chronic stress, which can impact your immune system greatly.
- Aids Digestive Function
Consuming a high-fiber diet is very important for digestion, so its high fiber content allows for another slept flour benefit.
Fiber actually contains zero calories since it essentially can’t be digested by humans, and although it’s found in carbohydrate foods like spelt flour, it doesn’t contribute any carbs to our diets.
Due to its structure and our inability to absorb it, fiber passes through our digestive system unabsorbed by digestive enzymes within the stomach — taking with it toxins, waste, fat and cholesterol particles and removing them from the gut.
In the process, it helps improve our digestion and heart health, makes us feel full, and supports detoxification.
Due in part to its fiber content, according to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, spelt flour bread is rapidly digestible, again touting its digestive benefits.
A high-fiber diet also helps prevent digestive disorders and diseases like diverticulitis, colon cancer and inflammatory bowel disease. This is because prebiotic fiber helps improve immune function and maintains better colon and intestinal health, while also clearing away harmful waste from the digestive organs.
- Decreases Cholesterol
Not only does the dietary fiber present in spelt flour help with digestion, but it also helps the body lower cholesterol levels naturally. Fiber targets LDL (bad) cholesterol and eliminates it from the body in order to regulate the balance of fatty acids.
A 1999 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine evaluated the blood cholesterol-lowering effects of dietary fiber. After a 51-week treatment period, where participants were given a fiber supplement daily, there were clear, positive results.
The fiber supplement provided significant and sustained reductions in LDL cholesterol, without reducing HDL cholesterol or increasing triglycerides. Because of spelt flour’s high levels of dietary fiber, it has the power to aid the reduction of cholesterol levels.
- Reduces High Blood Pressure
Because spelt contributes to a high-fiber diet, it essentially lessens a person’s likelihood to experience hypertension and other risk factors of heart disease and metabolic syndrome.
A 2005 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that increasing the intake of fiber in Western populations, where intake is far below recommended levels, may contribute to the prevention of hypertension.
Elevated blood pressure is when the pressure on the arteries and blood vessels becomes too high and the arterial wall becomes distorted, which causes extra stress on the heart.
This stress can lead to serious health conditions like heart attack and stroke. It’s important to add natural remedies for high blood pressure, like the consumption of spelt flour and other high-fiber foods, into your diet and lifestyle.
- Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
Spelt flour helps regulate the amount of glucose and insulin that’s released in the body. This is due to its high fiber content as well.
Studies show that a high-fiber diet may help prevent type 2 diabetes, lower insulin and blood sugar levels, and improve cholesterol and triglyceride (fats in the blood) levels in people with diabetes.
A telling clinical study compared people with type 2 diabetes, who were eating 50 grams of fiber daily, with people getting the recommended 24 grams of fiber daily. After six weeks, people on the higher-fiber diet had better control of blood glucose, insulin and blood lipids.
- High Source of Manganese
One cup of cooked spelt flour has over 100 percent the daily recommended value of manganese! Manganese is an important trace mineral that’s needed for many vital functions, including nutrient absorption, production of digestive enzymes, bone development and immune-system defenses.
One of the most vital benefits of manganese is its ability to reduce bone loss. When it’s combined with other minerals, including calcium, zinc and copper, it minimizes bone loss, especially in older women who are more susceptible to bone fractures and weak bones.
- High Source of Niacin
Niacin is a part of the vitamin B complex, and it’s a water-soluble vitamin that’s important for maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system and metabolism — especially balancing blood cholesterol levels.
Niacin foods help with brain function, healthy skin formation, and preventing or treating diabetes.
There’s evidence that niacin can help to lower the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss, eye disorders like cataracts, acne and skin flair-ups, osteoarthritis, circulation problems, migraine headaches, dizziness, and learning disorders like ADHD.
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