By Denis Faye

One of the few foods in tier one not related to spinach, spelt is instead a grain related to wheat, but with a nuttier, sweeter flavor. It also tends to be much more nutritious. Yes, it does contain gluten, so if you have a serious condition, you might want to bump it off your personal tier one, but many people with wheat allergies or intolerance are fine with spelt.

The nutrition facts

Half a cup of cooked spelt is 123 calories, 1 gram of fat, 25 grams of carbs, 6 grams of protein (far more than wheat), and 4 grams of fiber.

You'll find a handsome 13 percent of your recommended daily allowance (RDA)* for niacin, as well as some vitamin E, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin B6, and folate. The mineral side of things is much more impressive, with 12 percent of the RDA for magnesium, 15 percent for phosphorus, 11 percent for copper, and 56 percent for manganese. You'll also find calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, and selenium.

Spelt is the poster child for whole grains as a viable source of carbohydrates. It has minerals and protein you won't find in fruits and veggies. Also, spelt and other whole grains contain their own unique set of phytonutrients, which early research indicates can take on issues such as cancer and heart disease.

How do you eat this stuff?

Spelt works exactly like wheat, so if you're a baker, cut your flour with spelt flour or replace it entirely. If you're not a baker, there are plenty of great commercial breads and pastas out there for all your "spelty" desires.

1 cup of spelt, cooked (194 g)
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total
246 11 g 8 g 51 g 2 g