Over the past decade, we have seen progress worldwide as a silent transformation has taken place in the global flour market. Worldwide awareness of the health benefits of wholegrain flours has skyrocketed by dozens of percentage points, leading to a steep rise in production, as well as higher consumption of whole-grain flours by the general population.
Spelt flour, in particular, is gradually yet consistently conquering the public’s attention, and becoming the flour of choice for increasingly more consumers, who are choosing spelt flour over flour produced from other grains.
The History of Spelt Grain
Spelt is one of the five main grains that was used in the past to bake bread. Over time, its use fell increasingly out of favor, until it was almost phased out of use altogether. This was mainly because farmers realized that the process of producing flour from spelt was more complex and laborious than from other grains. The reason for this is that spelt kernels grow with a tougher outer shell (hull), than other grains. This requires shelling before the kernels can be ground, and significantly lengthens the time involved in producing the flour.
In recent years, with the advances made in nutritional science spelt has been found to present many health benefits. That, in addition to its deeply satisfying flavor has led to its vigorous comeback in global flour mills.
What’s Special about Spelt?
Many centuries ago, the common wheat kernel underwent a genetic mutation. As a result, wheat now grows throughout the world without its original hull. The kernel, which remained exposed without its original hull, evolved to develop a natural protection against harmful invaders, and became tougher. In the process of digesting the grain in our bodies, our livers produce tiny “scissors” (i.e. enzymes in scientific parlance), whose purpose is to help our bodies break down our food. Since the kernel now has such a tough membrane, however, our bodies get exhausted in the process, leading to fatigue and a feeling of heaviness. Also, after eating a less-than-healthy meal, our bodies need to “divert” blood to the digestive system, which means that less oxygen is reaching our brains, making the effects of the fatigue even worse.
Spelt flour is different. It has not undergone any genetic mutations, and its natural fibrous hull has remained the same. As a result, its kernels are as natural as they have always been, and are easy on our digestive tracts (as our bodies are not forced to produce large quantities of enzymes in order to break them down in our guts), which reduces our liver’s workload. With a lighter digestive process, we avoid the fatigue that is so common after eating wheat-based products; the blood-flow to the brain is not restricted, and our thinking remains clear and focussed.
It isn’t by accident that one of the greatest characteristics of spelt flour is the feeling of satisfaction that remains with us for many hours after the meal. This reduces the need to graze on snacks between meals…
Apart from that, spelt grains contain a variety of essential vitamins, fibres and minerals that boost our health and prevent disease. Spelt is rich in protein, and contains a high percentage of nutritional fibres, which is known to assist the metabolic system, help prevent weight-gain, and helps keep your cholesterol levels balanced, as well as preventing heart problems. Spelt grains also contain high levels of magnesium, which has a positive impact on the nervous system and balances the nerve cells. And lastly — the amount of gluten in spelt grain is miniscule.
Here’s a nutritional profile of quality spelt grain:
Vitamins: K, E, D, A, B12, B6, B3, B2, B1, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin.
Acids: Folic acid, Pantothenic acid, Choline, Betaine. Some of these are amino-acids – acids that our bodies do not produce on their own, and yet are essential to the digestion of the endosperm.
Minerals: Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorous, Potassium, Selenium, Sodium, Zinc.
Omega 3. Omega 6.
Studies carried out worldwide show that eating a portion of spelt bread is nutritiously equal to ingesting the daily required dosage of vitamins and minerals recommended for an adult.
The Mehudar company — with its unique methods of flour milling and packaging — manages to preserve the spelt grain’s health benefits in full. This is done by making use of innovative techniques, dry milling and airtight, aluminium layered packaging that preserves the flour’s freshness and quality until you’re ready to use it.