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Spelt vs. wheatgrass

Updated on March 21, 2015

Spelt (Triticum spelta), common bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) and durum wheat (Triticum durum) are originated from the same family. The visible difference that anyone would notice for the first sight is the husk that covers the spelt seeds. This tough husk protects the kernel, making it more resistant to pollutants and against the loss of nutrients.

Spelt seeds in husk
Spelt seeds in husk | Source

Why is spelt not as much known and spread as common wheat? The gluten in the latter is different which makes it easier to create dough and soft bread out of it. This is the same gluten that effected humanity on the long run so much and the overconsumption of it led to ever so many to suffer from gluten allergy. Spelt bread however is heavier and harder to make as the gluten in it reacts to water differently. With the impact of urbanization, spelt’s need for de-husking to process into flower and the breeding of various types of more fruitful wheat species spelt was suppressed and almost lost for good.

Long time ago spelt was used everywhere. Carbonated grains of spelt prove that it’s been well known and consumed throughout Europe including Britain for about 8000 years, but there are findings from Egypt and certain parts of Asia as well. In the mid 1980′s it was rediscovered and is living its renaissance in most of European countries with the lead of Germany and Hungary, where spelt has a great culture.

In this viseo, a team of researchers from the NIFA OREI project - Julie Dawson (Cornell), Frank Kutka (NPSAS), June Russell (Greenmarket and Grow NYC) and Steve Zwinger (NDSU) - discuss the so-called ancient grains - einkorn, emmer and spelt - including their origins and attributes.

Spelt flour has started to appear on the ingredients list of breads and biscuits in Great-Britain as well, but a wide range of spelt products is only available in health or specialty food shops. The spelt loaf is darker brown, especially if it’s wholemeal and has a slightly sweet and nutty flavour.

Spelt’s speciality is not only in the delicious taste, though. It's higher in protein and the combination of its high fibre and low, fragile gluten content make this grain much easier to digest than modern, common wheat. The long term consumption of spelt can help to reduce cholesterol and the fatty deposits of arteries. Among most naturopaths and nutritionist spelt is considered to be a “healing food” especially in Eastern-European countries, where this grain has gained a bigger popularity since its reappearance.

Young wheatgrass grown out of organic spelt seeds in husk
Young wheatgrass grown out of organic spelt seeds in husk | Source

The first grown grass of germinated wheat grain is a real speciality. Its vitalizing power is in its juice, which is obtained by compressing the grass that is very rich in vitamins, proteins, chlorophyll and minerals and not lastly it is gluten free. Spelt in this case is again even more advantageous. Its protective husk provides a wider range and higher dose of vitamins and more chlorophyll in the grass that makes it appear deeper green.

Amongst the lab results of a scientific university project supported by the EU (Project number: HUSK/0901/1.2.1/0010) we found poof with regards to the nutritional difference of the wheatgrass juice made out of common wheat and Hungarian spelt seeds. The protein content of spelt grass juice was almost double (55.3 vs. 30.0mg/g) whilst the amino acid content were found five times more than in the common wheatgrass juice. The minerals also highly exceeded in the first, for instance the iron was present double (0.03 vs. 0.06mg/g) and calcium was triple the amount(10 vs. 36.5mg/g).

 
Unit
Wheat (Castrum 1)
Spelt (ÖKO 10)
Raw protein
%
30,0
55,3
P
%
0,094
0,142
K
%
0,144
0,814
Ca
%
0,039
0,067
Mg
%
0,036
0,046
Mn
ppm
3,5
5,0
Zn
ppm
5,2
5,0
Cu
ppm
2,2
8,7
Fe
ppm
10,0
36,5
Na
ppm
31,0
280,0

Spelt grass/wheatgrass juice has a wide range of positive effects on the overall operation of the body through its active ingredients.

The most important benefits are:

Fresh spelt grass juice
Fresh spelt grass juice | Source
  • Excellent detoxifier
  • Helps the formation of blood cells
  • Strengthens the immune system, therefore helps to prevent and fight disease
  • Regenerates cell function
  • Rejuvenates, invigorates the body
  • Improves the skin, hair and nails

Vitamins contained: A (carotene), B1 (thiamine), B2(riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 pyridoxin), B7 (biotin) B12(cobalamin), B17 (laetrile), C (ascorbic acid), E, K (phytonadione)

Minerals contained: Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium, Selenium, Zinc

Spelt may have a smaller yield, but it withstands pests and illnesses easier, keeps the weed down very well and doesn’t ruin the soil; therefore it is extremely suitable for organic farming as it doesn’t need chemicals to be yielded economically. Thanks for its remarkable ability to survive in drought or frost it can be grown in any grain yielding area of the world.

Spelt has such valued content that it well deserves to be called the holly manna.

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