Is Spelt Better Than Wheat?

Reviewed on 10/12/2021
is spelt better than wheat
Whole-grain spelt may be better for you because it contains more protein, essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals than whole-grain wheat

Whole-grain spelt may be better for you because it contains more protein, essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals than whole-grain wheat.

Spelt is an ancient grain and distinct type of wheat (Triticum spelta), and as such has a similar nutritional profile to modern wheat (Triticum aestivum).

Just like modern wheat, you can use spelt to make bread, cookies, cakes, and pastas. The grain has retained its pure form because it has not been crossbred with other species.

What is the nutritional value of spelt?

Table: Nutritional composition of 1 cup of cooked spelt (194 grams)
Nutrient Quantity
Calories 246 kcal
Protein 10.7 grams
Fat 1.65 grams
Carbohydrates 51.2 grams
Fiber 7.57 grams

Spelt in its whole-grain form provides you with other important vitamins and minerals including:

4 health benefits of spelt

  1. Lowers blood glucose levels: The fiber content of whole-grain spelt helps reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
  2. Improves gut health: The fiber content and other nutrients in spelt can boost the amount of good bacteria in your gut, leading to a healthy digestive system and overall better immunity.
  3. Protects against heart disease: Fiber in spelt helps lower high blood cholesterol levels, which is a known risk factor for heart diseases.
  4. Helps with healthy weight maintenance: A high-fiber diet can help you keep your weight under control.

Does spelt have any health risks?

Including spelt in your diet is a heart-healthy option, but potential risks include the following:

  • Gluten intolerance: Like wheat, spelt contains gluten. While weaker in structure, spelt gluten can cause digestive problems in people who are sensitive to gluten or who have celiac disease.
  • May worsen irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): Like wheat, spelt contains fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAPs) which are a group of short-chain carbohydrates that can trigger the symptoms of IBS. Therefore, you may need to avoid spelt if you experience gastrointestinal discomfort after eating it.
  • May interfere with nutrient absorption: Like modern wheat, spelt contains phytic acid, a substance that can affect the absorption of essential nutrients in your intestine. This may be more of a problem for people who are on a vegan or vegetarian diet, especially those who are deficient in certain vitamins. Soaking, sprouting, or fermenting spelt can help lower its phytic acid content.
  • Refined spelt: Refined spelt flour may result in sugar spikes, similar to wheat flour. Therefore, make sure you have it in its whole-grain form to ensure you get the benefits of blood sugar control.

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References
Spelt: Is It Good for You? https://www.webmd.com/diet/spelt-good-for-you#1

Spelt, cooked. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169746/nutrients

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