Spelt, an ancient cereal grain, is a distant cousin to wheat. It has a nutty, slightly sweet flavor. Use spelt flour as a substitute for wheat or white flour when baking bread. Because spelt flour contains gluten, you are less likely to compromise the texture of baked goods. Compared to wheat flour, spelt flour is richer in many nutrients, such as protein and minerals.
High in Niacin
Spelt flour provides approximately 5.5 mg of niacin or vitamin B3 per 100-g serving, 5 percent more niacin than hard winter wheat flour, according to an article published in 2008 in the journal "Acta Scientiarum Polonorum." The recommended daily value for niacin is 20 mg. A 100-g serving of spelt flour meets 27.5 percent of the daily value for this nutrient. Like other B-vitamins, niacin aids in energy metabolism. It also has additional functions in the human body, such as helping to make sex and stress hormones in the adrenal glands. Niacin is also needed to improve circulation and reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.
Rich in Minerals
According to an article published in the "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry" in March 2005, when researchers analyzed and compared nine dehulled spelt samples to five soft winter wheat samples, they found that the spelt offered a higher amount of certain minerals, such as copper, iron, zinc, magnesium and phosphorus. These minerals are naturally high in the bran of the spelt grain. The human body needs these micronutrients to perform a variety of functions and to support healthy nervous, cardiovascular, skeletal and immune systems.
Spelt flour has a high water solubility, making it possibly easier to digest for those with a wheat intolerance. Spelt and whole spelt flour offer more soluble fiber than both standard and durum wheat flours, according to an article published in "Food Chemistry" in March 2000. Soluble fiber is particularly beneficial for lowering blood cholesterol and regulating blood sugar levels.
- Baking Bites: What is Spelt Flour?
- "Acta Scientiarum Polonorum"; Nutritional Value and Baking Applications of Spelt Wheat; Z Kohajdová and J Karovicová; 2008
- Pubmed.gov: Spelt (Triticum aestivum ssp. spelta) as a Source of Breadmaking Flours and Bran Naturally Enriched in Oleic Acid and Minerals but Not Phytic Acid
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- What's Cooking America: Add Spelt Flour to your Diet for Variety and Nutrition
Michele Turcotte is a registered, licensed dietitian, and a certified personal trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She has more than 12 years of experience in clinical and corporate settings, and has extensive experience in one-on-one diet counseling and meal planning. She has written freelance food and nutrition articles for Trouve Publishing Inc. since 2004.