Kamut: What You Need To Know About This Ancient Grain

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This post was co-written by Lisa Hugh MSHS RD LDN CLT and Gabrielle McPherson MS, RDN, LDN

Kamut: What You Need To Know About This Ancient Grain

Kamut is not a very common ingredient in most grocery stores, but it might be a good choice for you. Learn more about kamut, the ancient grain which is also known as khorasan wheat. 

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BLOG IMAGE FOR SINGLE INGREDIENT GROCERIES TITLED "KAMUT" WITH AN IMAGE OF KAMUT GAINS ON A PLATE WITH A WHITE BACKGROUND

What is an ancient grain? 

INFOGRAPHIC TITLED "ANIENT GRAINS" WITH IMAGE OF MULTIGRAIN LOAF OF BREAD AND BULLETED LIST OF INFORMATION ABOUT ANCIENT GRAINS, FOR SINGLE INGREDIENT GROCERIES

 

Grains have been a common part of our human existence for thousands of years. Wheat, corn, rye, rice, oats, and barley are all grains or seeds (1).

Ancient grains are defined by The Whole Grains Council as “grains that are largely unchanged over the last several hundred years, ”(2). 

Ancient grains include kamut (khorsan), einkorn, emmer, bulgar, and spelt. These are all in the wheat family.

Other ancient grains are millet, barley, teff, oats and sorghum. Quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat and chia are pseudocereals and are also regarded as ancient grains(3).

Today, the most commonly used types of wheat are durum wheat (for pasta) and modern wheat (for bread). These common wheat types have gone through many years of hybridization which is explained below. One of the earliest forms of wheat, emmer, gave rise to durum wheat(4).  

Ancient grains have become more popular over the years. They are considered unchanged which has preserved their natural reputation, high quality, and favorable nutrition profile(1).

What is Kamut? 

Kamut is an ancient grain that is thought to have originated in ancient Egyptian times. It is rumored that it was found in Egyptian tombs and was brought over stateside in the 1900s.

In 1964, Bob Quinn was introduced to the grain at a country fair when he was given Khorasan wheat samples. After studying plant biochemistry and organic farming out of state, Quinn returned to Montana to his family’s farm. By 1989, he and his father had an entirely organic farm cultivating the grain that would become very high in demand.

The Kamut brand Khorasan wheat was trademarked in 1990(5).

Modern wheat has undergone many years of rigorous breeding programs since World War II. Chemicals were added to increase crop yields. New strains of wheat varieties were developed to create bigger bread yields and loaves (1).

The history of these hybridization practices has pushed consumers to seek out ancient grains like Kamut.

Unlike modern wheat, Kamut Khorasan wheat has not endured the breeding systems that have altered modern wheat. It is never genetically modified and exclusively grown organically(5).

The Kamut grain is actually three times the size of a modern grain 5 and much tastier too because of its nutty and butter flavor(6).

Kamut Nutrition 

The hump-shaped grain is higher in protein by 20-40 percent when compared to modern wheat kernels (6).

A cooked cup of Kamut provides 227 calories, 1 gram of fat, 10 grams of protein, and 7 grams of fiber (7).

The ancient grain contains more vitamins, minerals, and amino acids than modern wheat which also makes it more desirable to those who value good health (6).

INFOGRAPHIC TITLED "KAMUT" WITH IMAGE OF KAMUT WHOLE GRAIN AND LIST OF INFORMATION ABOUT KAMUT

Benefits of Kamut 

Kamut has an impressive showcase of nutrients including minerals like selenium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc(7). These aid in giving the health food its touted benefits.

See these five benefits of consuming Kamut:

1. Weight Loss 

Kamut’s high protein and fiber content can promote weight loss by helping with early satiety. One study proposed 30 grams of fiber intake each day can lead to weight loss and further benefits such as blood sugar control(8).

2. Digestive Health

Kamut’s fiber content alone is enough to reap benefits for your digestion as well as help lower cholesterol. A 2012 study found that promotion of probiotic strain growth may be another benefit of consuming Kamut. Probiotics keep your digestive tract in good shape(9).

3. Hormone health

Our hormones can be affected by our diet, genetics, health, environment, and many other factors.

Selenium is found in kamut and is important to hormonal health. If you are deficient in selenium, your thyroid hormone production may drop(10).

4. Immune Health

A zinc deficiency could make you more prone to infections caused by immune dysfunction(11).

Studies have shown zinc to be helpful in reducing symptoms of the common cold and fighting against viral infections (12). Kamut is a source of dietary zinc. 

5. Bone health

Manganese is found in kamut. This mineral plays a role in the body’s bone formation processes(13). This is vital since our bone health changes as we age.

Furthermore, Kamut is rich in phosphorus which also caters to our bone health.

Is Kamut gluten-free? 

Gluten-free grains do exist, but Kamut is made of wheat which is unfortunately not a gluten-free grain. Kamut is, however, peculiar because gluten-sensitive people are sometimes able to consume it without the problems gluten-containing foods may cause(5).

If you do suffer from a gluten-sensitivity, you may consider a nutrition consultation to determine if Kamut could be a potential fit for you to try.

Even though Kamut is not gluten-free, it is a whole grain and suitable for vegan, vegetarian diets, and the diets of those seeking its many health benefits.

Need another reason to give it a try? Kamut is a single ingredient grocery item and there are lots of reasons to choose single ingredient groceries

How To Purchase Kamut

Kamut can easily be ordered online or found at your local health food store. Bob’s Red Mill sells it on their website or on Amazon. For best outcomes, soak Kamut grains in water overnight(14).

PUFFED KAMUT CEREAL

Kamut can be purchased and cooked as whole grain kamut, kamut puffs cereal, kamut flour, and as kamut pasta

KAMUT PASTA EDEN ORGANIC PASTA, KAMUT SPIRALS

How To Cook Kamut 

Follow recipe instructions to cook Kamut by stovetop, slow cooker, or instant pot(14).

Kamut Recipes 

Kamut can be incorporated into innumerable food recipes from beverages to desserts, appetizers to main dishes, and snacks to breakfast items(5). Keep in mind that Kamut has a rich nutty flavor. 

BOBS RED MILL WHOLE GRAIN KAMUT

Also, Kamut flour can be used to make bread and other baked goods. Kamut flour can generally be substituted for whole wheat flour in a 1:1 ratio, but some recipes may need further adjustments. 

BOBS RED MILL STONE GROUND KAMUT FLOUR

Bottom Line

Kamut is a nutrient-rich single ingredient grocery item that can benefit your immune and digestive health. It may not be suitable for those with gluten sensitivities however it is known to be digested well despite containing gluten. This ancient grain is versatile enough to be used in a variety of dishes.

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References

  1. Bordoni, Alessandra, et al. “Ancient Wheat and Health: a Legend or the Reality? A Review on KAMUT Khorasan Wheat.” International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, vol. 68, no. 3, 2016, pp. 278–286., doi:10.1080/09637486.2016.1247434.
  2. “Ancient Grains.” Ancient Grains | The Whole Grains Council, wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/whats-whole-grain/ancient-grains.
  3. “Ancient Grains.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Feb. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_grains.
  4. Shewry, Peter R. “Do Ancient Types of Wheat Have Health Benefits Compared with Modern Bread Wheat?” Journal of Cereal Science, vol. 79, 2018, pp. 469–476., doi:10.1016/j.jcs.2017.11.010. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5824670/
  5. “KAMUT® Khorasan Wheat – Ancient Grain Organically Grown.” KAMUT® Khorasan Wheat – Ancient Grain Organically Grown, www.kamut.com.
  6. Abdel-Haleem, Amal M.h., et al. “Assessment of Kamut® Wheat Quality.” World Journal of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development, vol. 9, no. 3, 2012, pp. 194–203., doi:10.1108/20425941211250543.
  7. “FoodData Central Search Results.” FoodData Central, fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169744/nutrients.
  8. Ma, Yunsheng, et al. “Single-Component Versus Multicomponent Dietary Goals for the Metabolic Syndrome: A Randomized Trial.” Annals of Internal Medicine, American College of Physicians, 17 Feb. 2015, annals.org/aim/article-abstract/2118594/single-component-versus-multicomponent-dietary-goals-metabolic-syndrome-randomized-trial.
  9. Marotti, Ilaria, et al. “Prebiotic Effect of Soluble Fibres from Modern and Old Durum-Type Wheat Varieties on Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium Strains.” Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, vol. 92, no. 10, 2012, pp. 2133–2140., doi:10.1002/jsfa.5597.
  10. Ventura, Mara, et al. “Selenium and Thyroid Disease: From Pathophysiology to Treatment.” International Journal of Endocrinology, vol. 2017, 2017, pp. 1–9., doi:10.1155/2017/1297658.
  11. “Zinc.” Linus Pauling Institute, 1 Jan. 2020, ls/zinclpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals.
  12. Overbeck, Silke, et al. “Modulating the Immune Response by Oral Zinc Supplementation: a Single Approach for Multiple Diseases.” Archivum Immunologiae Et Therapiae Experimentalis, vol. 56, no. 1, 2008, pp. 15–30., doi:10.1007/s00005-008-0003-8.
  13. “10. Manganese: Its Role in Disease and Health.” Essential Metals in Medicine: Therapeutic Use and Toxicity of Metal Ions in the Clinic, 2019, pp. 253–266., doi:10.1515/9783110527872-016.
  14. Bobsredmill.com, www.bobsredmill.com/recipes/how-to-make/basic-preparation-instructions-for-organic-kamut-berries/.

 

 

Lisa Hugh is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Leap Therapist. She has a Masters of Science in Healthcare Administration. As a a Food Sensitivity Expert, her passion is helping people with complex medical and nutrition needs find food and groceries that are safe and enjoyable. Lisa also produces Poop Problems Podcast.

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