Kamut: Healthier Alternative to Conventional Wheat

Kamut grains are used in baked goods such as bread and crakcers / Photo by 123rf.com

 

You might have heard of it, encountered it in the supermarket, or even smiled at the unusual name. What can’t be denied is that it’s got quite interesting origins, and, more importantly, is packed with nutritional value and hypoallergenic properties that make it a superfood.

Please welcome Kamut, a grain that was nearly swept into the dustbins of history, but has made an amazing return to public consciousness that you can now find it in health food stores and groceries. It comes as either dry grains or as an important ingredient in baked goods such as bread and crackers.

 

So what is kamut?

Kamut is a trademarked name for Khorasan wheat or Oriental wheat that goes back to ancient times and was first cultivated in the historical province of Khorasan found in modern-day Iran. It has also been referred to as the Pharaoh grain because it was discovered inside an ancient Egyptian tomb believed to have been the final resting place of a deceased pharaoh.

The Kamut grain is twice as big as modern-day wheat and is also said to be healthier. It’s got a unique flavor–one that is nutty and chewy because of its texture. Today, the use of Kamut is vast, as it can either be consumed as grains or milled into flour that is then turned into anything from bread and bread mixes to cookies, pancakes, waffles, pasta, and cookies. It can even be used to make beer and other drinks. Foods made out of Kamut grain are quite popular today because of their taste and texture, as well as visual appeal.

 

American origins

Kamut in the United States is said to date back to 1949 when an American airman was given kernels in Egypt. He then mailed them to his father who happened to be a farmer. In the next few years, the farmer grew them and tried selling them to the public, but people simply did not buy it, possibly because it looked different from conventional wheat. Kamut then ended up as cattle feed.

It took nearly 30 years until Mack and Bob Quinn–a father and son tandem–decided to try the Kamut as part of their produced crops. They then decided to register the grain under the name Kamut.”

 

Health benefits

Kamut has been found to be rich in fiber and protein that helps the body remove waste and develop muscles. These nutrients make the ancient grain an integral part of a lot of healthy diet fads today. One cup of kamut already contains 10 grams of protein, which is around 17% of the daily nutritional value needed by an adult. It also has 7.4 grams of fiber, which is around 19 to 28% of an adult’s required daily nutritional needs.

Kamut also contains selenium, manganese, magnesium, and zinc aside from several polyphenols and fatty acids. One cup of cooked kamut is almost enough to provide an adult with the daily needs of these when it comes to these nutrients. It boasts high concentrates of lipids that give off more energy than refined carbohydrates.

 

Health benefits

Why kamut has experienced a renaissance of sorts among the public owes in large part to the myriad health benefits it offers. Especially in this day and age when most everyone is conscious of their health and what they eat, Kamut excellently fills up a need. Here are some of the great things this ancient grain does to the human body with regular consumption:

 

1. Promotes healthy and strong bones

This is quite beneficial especially to older women who start developing weak bones. Thanks to kamut’s manganese content, it can help lessen the loss of spinal bone, and can actually treat osteoporosis.

 

2. Helps the digestive system

The zinc nutrient in kamut makes it possible for this high-fiber grain to regulate one’s digestion and helps fight bacteria and toxins.

 

3. Cleans the body

As a great source of phosphorous, a mineral that helps in cellular activities in the body, kamut aids in the natural cleaning up of the liver. It also aids the kidneys to eliminate toxins and other waste through urine.

 

4. Provides protein

Protein helps the body to produce blood cells, hormones, DNA, and enzymes, which are the building blocks that make up our cells, muscles, and organs. It also makes the body feel full during meals, which makes eating kamut an effective way to lose weight and manage it.

 

5. Chases away the common cold

Kamut has zinc that, according to studies, disrupts the buildup of mucus and bacteria in the nasal passages, thus preventing the onset of a cold. And even a person who already has a cold can still benefit from consuming kamut as it can reduce the duration of the cold infection.

Consuming kamut for your daily meal can be as easy as boiling the grains and making them as a base for salads. You can also run them in a blender or food processor and they will make for a delicious and healthy porridge.

Indeed, we are much better off with our rediscovery of this ancient grain.