Spelt flour, an ancient relative of wheat, is appearing in more and more mainstream products, such as bread, cereal and pasta. It is available in both white and whole-wheat versions. Spelt flour provides a number of nutrients and can be a healthy part of your diet.
Spelt flour is a source of several B vitamins. In 38 g, the amount in one slice of 100 percent spelt bread, you get more thiamine, riboflavin and niacin than you do in the same amount of wheat bread. These vitamins help you convert food into energy and support production and function of red blood cells.
One cup of raw spelt provides 19 g of fiber, while a slice of spelt bread contains 2.5 g of fiber. Fiber is essential to keeping your digestive tract healthy, and it plays a role in helping to lower cholesterol. The Institute of Medicine recommends that adult women 50 and younger eat at least 25 g of fiber daily, and that adult men get 38 g daily.
Spelt flour contains 1.36 mg of iron in a 38 g serving. Iron is essential for transporting oxygen in your body and for cell growth. Without enough iron, you may become fatigued and suffer from a condition known as iron-deficiency anemia, which can cause general feelings of illness. Adult women should get about 18 mg daily, while should get men 8 mg. Spelt also provides the trace minerals zinc, copper and manganese, all of which support immunity and healthy bones.
Digestibility, Calories and Tolerance
Some people find that spelt is an alternative that they tolerate better than wheat. It is also slightly lower in calories than wheat – with 126 calories per 38 g, compared to wheat’s 140 calories. Spelt is related to wheat and contains gluten, so it is not appropriate for people with diagnosed allergies or celiac disease.
- The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network: Wheat Allergy
- MedLinePlus: B Vitamins
- Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health; Iron; August 2007
- Institute of Medicine; Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids; September 2002