In cultivation for thousands of years, spelt
is referred to as the grandfather of common
wheat. High in fiber and rich in B vitamins,
spelt also contains a more easily digestible
protein than regular wheat, making it popular
with people who have an intolerance or
allergy to traditional wheat. However, it does
contain gluten, making it unsuitable for those
with celiac disease.
Replace a portion of wheat flour in any
recipe with an equal amount of nutty-tasting
spelt flour. Because of its lower gluten con-
tent, loaves won’t rise as high, but that’s not an
issue for cookies or flatbreads such as pizza
dough and pita bread.
Author and cook Laura Langston writes
about food and health for a variety of
Grain and bear it
The acai berry (which grows only in the
Amazon) is said to be one of the most nutritionally dense berries on the planet, with
between 10 and 30 times more antioxidants
than grapes, pomegranates and blueberries. It’s
also rich in vitamins, minerals and essential
fatty acids, which help prevent heart disease
and lower cholesterol.
The acai berry is highly perishable and
not available fresh. It’s sold instead as a powder, capsule or liquid.
Enjoy acai on its own as a fruit juice drink
(it tastes like a combination of blueberries and
chocolate), or add acai powder to smoothies
and other juices. It’s also delicious sprinkled
on fruit salads.
These tiny brown seeds (or gold ones—
there’s no difference) are rich in omega- 3 fatty
acids, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), lignans and
fiber. Studies suggest they help lower the risk
of heart disease, protect against certain types
of cancer, lower the risk of inflammation that
leads to some immune diseases and guard
Whole flax seeds add color and crunch to
cookies, cereals, salads and pilafs. But because
whole seeds are hard to digest, it’s best to whirl
them in a coffee grinder (used expressly for
that purpose) before using or buy milled flax
seeds. Sprinkle the powder onto cereal or add
it to dough, batter, casseroles and other cooked
food. Flax oil, which provides ALA but no
fiber or lignans, is excellent on fresh salads.
Flax seeds can be stored at room temperature, but ground flax seeds and flax oil
should be refrigerated.
Start out easy—too much flax can initially upset your digestion. The Flax Council
of Canada recommends 3 teaspoons of milled
flax or 1 teaspoon of flax oil daily.
MOST AMERICANS—more than 90 percent of the population—don’t eat enough
whole grains. That’s according to researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture,
who say in their “Healthy People 2010”
report that a lack of whole grains has
become the single most common dietary
deficiency in America.
Unlike refined grains, whole grains
contain the entire seed grain: bran, germ
and endosperm. Naturally low in fat, whole
grains are an excellent source of complex
carbohydrates, fiber and numerous vitamins and minerals (ones unavailable from
other sources), as well as phytochemicals
and antioxidants. Experts say that regular
consumption of whole grains may lower
the risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity
and cancer, and help to regulate blood pressure and keep gums and teeth healthy.
The American Heart Institute and the
National Cancer Institute recommend that
the average adult eat 25 to 30 grams of fiber,
commonly found in whole grains, per day.
Children need about half that amount. To
boost consumption, you can switch to
whole-grain bread, substitute whole wheat
flour for white flour in recipes, add barley or
quinoa to your favorite soup, bake with oatmeal and switch from white to brown rice.
It’s also smart to read food labels.
Choose breads, cereals and pastas with the
word “whole” before wheat. Don’t be fooled
by terms such as enriched, unbleached,
bromated, stone-ground, seven-grain, 100
percent wheat, cracked wheat, multi-grain
or organic. Whole wheat (or whole rye,
oats or brown rice) should be the first