It's highly nutritious
The grain is a good source of nutrients; it's high in B vitamins which help break down and release energy from food, keep nerves and muscle tissue healthy as well as the skin, digestive system and eyes.It contains vitamin E which helps to protect the cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. It's rich in the mineral magnesium, which is important for activating muscles and nerves and creating energy in the body. Spelt also contains potassium and iron. Potassium is vital to help nerves and muscles communicate, iron provides oxygen to blood cells and manganese plays an important role in the digestion and utilisation of food, normal bone structure and the functioning of the central nervous system.
Spelt is an excellent source of phytoestrogens and lignans. Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that scientists believe may help blood cholesterol levels, blood vessel elasticity, bone metabolism and many other vital cellular metabolic processes. Research on lignans has also thrown up some interesting results for spelt-lovers. It is thought that these phytonutrients may influence the development of tumours in hormone-related cancers, slowing down their growth, as well as having a positive effect on cardiovascular health.
It's high in fibreSpelt is high in fibre which is important for lowering cholesterol levels in the blood. Foods with a high fibre content pass through the gut more quickly and research shows that a faster transit time (how long it takes for the food to travel through the digestive tract) is an important factor in the prevention of bowel cancer.
To find out more our campaign with Bowel Cancer UK to encourage a high fibre diet, visit our website and browse delicious fibre rich recipes from more than 40 top chefs.
It provides slow-release energyThe structure of the long chain molecules in the spelt grain are important because they help your body digest the grain slowly. Wholegrain spelt has a low GI ('glycaemic index': the effect a food has on blood glucose levels). More and more people are avoiding high-GI carbs found in refined foods, which cause glucose 'spikes' to hit your bloodstream increasing the risk of developing health problems including type-2 diabetes. It is thought that spelt may help improve insulin sensitivity, so that your body needs lower levels of the hormone to balance blood glucose levels.
It's relatively high in protein
The protein content of the spelt we produce at Sharpham is between 11 and 15 per cent, depending on the growing season and the weather conditions. These proteins contain all of the nine essential amino acids needed by the human body (called 'essential' because the body cannot manufacture them on its own). These amino acids are used to repair and build cells and muscle tissue.