Kamut is an ancient grain and a new cereal. The word Kamut means ‘wheat’ in the Ancient Egyptian language. It is registered trademark of the Kamut International Ltd. for the Khorasan wheat. Khorasan wheat is a thousand years old grain that is believed to be the ancient relative of modern durum wheat. It is a close relative to modern wheat with a similar shape but is two to three times the size of the wheat kernel. Kamut is nutritionally superior. It has a greater amount of protein, fiber, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals than modern wheat. It contains 20-40% more protein and 65% amino acids than common wheat.
Kamut wheat is used either as a whole grain or milled into flour, to replace any other wheat used in food application. You can found Kamut wheat in a lot of food products: cereals, breads, biscuits, pasta, pancakes, and frozen meals. The whole grain of Kamut wheat can be used in pilafs, soups, salads and a substitute for beans. The strong gluten of Kamut makes it a perfect choice for making pasta which is famous for its superior texture than pasta made from any other whole grains.
10 Health benefits of Kamut
Abundant in essential minerals
Compared to the common wheat, Kamut wheat is high in eight out of nine minerals. Kamut is especially high in selenium, zinc and magnesium.It is considered as an excellent source of selenium. One serving of Kamut contains 55 mg of selenium, which is 100% of your daily requirement of selenium. Selenium maintains your hormone balance and scavenges free radicals by functioning as an antioxidant. Moreover, every one cup of cooked Kamutcontains more than 100% our daily requirement of magnesium. Magnesium is essential to support the health of our nervous system, energy generation and hormone synthesis in our body.
High in B-complex vitamins
Just like other whole grains, Kamut wheat is high in B-complex vitamins. In particular, one cup of cooked Kamut contains 4.7 mg of niacin which equals to 29% and 34% of the daily recommended intake of men and women, respectively. Adequate intake of niacin reduces our risk of atherosclerosis, heart diseases and diabetes.
Suitable for gluten intolerance diet
It is supervising that people who could not eat wheat have no problem with Kamut wheat, even though Kamut wheat is a close relative to the common wheat. As suggested by the International Food Allergy Association: “for most wheat sensitive people, Kamut grain can be an excellent substitute for common wheat.” Nevertheless, be cautious during your first try of Kamut wheat if you are allergic to common wheat.
Kamut wheat is an effective anti-inflammatory food because of its unique polyphenol profile. Studies have been conducted to confirm the effect of Kamut products in reducing metabolic risk factors, markers of both oxidative stress and inflammatory status. Studies showed that bread and pasta made from Kamut wheat had a greater effect than the whole grain durum wheat. The level of pro-inflammatory cytokines is reduced by 30-40%, and the oxidative status (indicated by the level of lipid oxidation and protein oxidation)are significantly improved by replacing normal wheat with Kamut wheat.
Good for the gut
One cup of cooked Kamut provides 6.7 g of dietary fibre, which equals to 17% of the recommended daily intake of fibre. The dietary fibre stimulates bowel movement and prevent constipation. Also, the fibre of Kamut has been found to have the potential to promote the growth of probiotic strains in the gastrointestinal tract. The prebiotic index of Kamut is even higher than other wheat cultivars. Having a diet high in fibre like Kamut carries the benefits of reducing the risk of chronic degeneration diseases and cancers.
Grains for diabetics
Studies have demonstrated that replacing modern wheat with Kamut wheat reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus for healthy people. Diabetic patients also benefit from eating Kamut wheat due to its ability to regular blood glucose level and insulin sensitivity. Studies of 21 diabetic patients showed that eating organic Kamut wheat products lower the postprandial blood glucose level compared to subjects eating common wheat products.
Reduce blood cholesterol level
Kamut what contains a considerable about of soluble fibre which has a cholesterol-lowering effect. Research has shown that eating Khorasan wheat reduced the levels of total and LDL cholesterols in subject’s blood. Soluble dietary fibre conveys this benefits by binding to the cholesterol and improve their secretion from the faecal.
Protect heart health
Eating Kamut may reduce the risk of getting heart disease based on the study recently published in European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This is due to the collective benefits of its high fibre, high antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effect. The high fibre content reduces the level of bad cholesterol. The antioxidants prevent lipid oxidation that might cause atherosclerosis once happened. Moreover, Kamut wheat contains 19% monounsaturated fatty acids and 59% polyunsaturated fatty acids. Unsaturated fatty acids are known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
Kamutreduces the oxidation and cellular damage due to the accumulation of toxins. This lessens the burden of our liver. Also, the higher antioxidants content of Kamut wheat also reduces the level of inflammation in the liver.
Support bone health
The high magnesium content of Kamut promotes strong and healthy bones. It is a natural treatment of osteoporosis and the best magnesium source for women in their premenopausal period who are particularly prone to osteoporosis.
Side effects of eating too much Kamut
Kamut is a very nutritious grain. Consume Kamut in a moderate amount is beneficial for our long-term health. However, precautions shall be taken by people with special conditions. People having wheat allergies must be cautious when trying Kamut. There are about 30% of people with wheat allergy are also allergic to Kamut wheat.
10 Fun facts of Kamut
- Kamutwheat has a sweet nutty and buttery taste and chewy texture.
- Kamut wheat is also known as ‘sweet wheat’ because of its sweet taste.
- The name of Kamut in Turkish is “Camel’s Tooth” because of its shape.
- Kamut wheat was once named as ‘King Tut’s Wheat’ based on the story that it was firstly discovered from a tomb in Egypt.
- Because of its high protein and lipid contents, Kamut wheat is also called “high energy grain”.
- There are 25-35 grains per head of Kamut
- Kamut does not contain much gluten. Hence, you may need to add gluten in making Kamut
- Khorasan wheat might be a direct descendant of emmer wheat.
- Kamut wheat has better water absorption properties than regular bread flour.
- Most people can digest Kamut better than common
For every 100 g of uncooked Kamut, you will get the following macro- and micro-nutrients:
|% Daily value|
|Calories 337 kcal||17%|
|From carbohydrate 266 kcal|
|From fat 18.4 kcal|
|From protein 52.8 kcal|
|Total carbohydrate 70.4g||23%|
|Dietary fiber 9.1g||36%|
|Total Fat 2.2 g||3%|
|Saturated fat 0.2 g||1%|
|Monounsaturated fat 0.2 g|
|Polyunsaturated fat 0.6 g|
|Omega-3 fatty acids 47 mg|
|Omega-6 fatty acids 569 mg|
|Cholesterol 0 mg||0%|
|Vitamin A 10.0 IU||0%|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 0.6 mg||39%|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.2 mg||10%|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 6.4 mg||32%|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) 0.9 mg||9%|
|Vitamin B6 0.3 mg||13%|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate) 12.0 mcg||3%|
|Vitamin B 120.0 mcg||0%|
|Vitamin C~ mg||~|
|Vitamin D~ mg||~|
|Vitamin E (alpha tocopherol) 0.6 mg||3%|
|Calcium 24.0 mg||2%|
|Iron 4.4 mg||25%|
|Magnesium 134 mg||34%|
|Phosphorus 386 mg||39%|
|Potassium 446 mg||13%|
|Sodium 6.0 mg||0%|
|Copper 0.5 mg||26%|
|Selenium 69.3 mcg||99%|
The per cent daily values are based on 2000 calorie diet.
There is no archaeological evidence of the origin of Khorasan wheat. It is believed that Kamut was originated in Mesopotamia in the fertile crescent area. The grains of Khorasan were found in Egyptian tombs. How does this ancient grain appear on our plate after thousands of years? There is an interesting story about the birth of Kamut wheat. About 70 years ago, a U.S. airman stationed in Portugal bought a pack of 36 kernels which was claimed to come from the pyramids of Egypt. He posted the kernels back to his wheat-farmer father in Montana, who successfully breed the grains into 1500 bushels after five years of hard work. In 1954, this unusual big wheat grains were exhibited at the country fair and was named as ‘King Tut’s Wheat’. In 1977, an agricultural scientist Dr. Bob Quinn cultivated this wheat again and registered the trademark ‘Kamut’ after more than 10 years of careful selective breeding. Now, Kamut wheat is named as ‘QK-77’ by the United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Khorasan wheat was cultivated at very small scales in Near East, Central Asia and Norther Africa. Kamut wheat is only produced in U.S. and northern Canada. In the year 2006, the cultivation of Kamut brand wheat in U.S. was about 16,000 acres. By the year 2016, the cultivation of Kamut wheat is increased to 70,000 acres in Montana. It is now used in more than 2000 food products worldwide. Anyone who breed Kamut wheat must meet several standards set by Kamut company:
- a protein content of 12-18%
- 99% free from contamination of modern wheat
- 98% free from signs of illness
- contains 400-1000 ppb selenium
- only grown as a certified organic grain
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