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Kamut – The Ancient Egyptian Grain

Kamut ® (pronounced ka-moot) is the trademarked name for Khorasan wheat, an ancient grain twice as large as regular wheat. Its origin story is rather interesting. Hailing from Egypt, the grain was once grown in the fertile crescent area between Egypt and the Tigris-Euphrates valley. After World War II, a pilot discovered some grains in an ancient burial chamber. Thus it is also known as King Tut’s wheat or Pharaoh’s grain. These grains ended up in the hands of a Montana wheat farmer who planted and harvested them. It grew into today’s KAMUT® brand. 

The name Kamut is an ancient Egyptian word for wheat. The unique characteristic of KAMUT® is its trademark which guarantees that the Khorasan wheat bearing is always of the unmodified, original, unhybridised, and non-GMO variety. Kamut® Khorasan wheat is also certified organic and meets the highest quality standards. 

Driven into near-extinction by regular wheat, it recently became popular again, along with other unadulterated ancient grains like quinoa, teff, and buckwheat. Kamut® has about 20-40% more protein than wheat and more fatty acids. It is described as a “high energy grain” because of its higher percentage of lipids (fats). Additionally, it has various health benefits. It is nutritional and delicious with its smooth texture and nutty, buttery flavour. 

The unique texture and taste are versatile enough to incorporate kamut into everything from salad to cereal and even beer. In addition, you can use Khorasan flour (Kamut) in baked goods such as cookies, cakes, and muffins. You can also use it to replace standard flour in various instances.

Nutritional Value of Kamut

As per USDA data, 100 grams of uncooked Kamut serving contains:

Energy: 337 kcalFat: 2.13 gProtein: 14.5 g Carbohydrate: 70.6 gFibre: 11.1 gCalcium: 22 mgIron: 3.77 mgMagnesium: 130 mgPhosphorus: 364 mgPotassium: 403 mgSodium: 5 mgManganese: 2.74 mgZinc: 3.68 mgSelenium: 81.5 µgNiacin: 6.38 mg

The HealthifyMe Note

Kamut (Khorasan wheat) is a whole grain with excellent nutritional properties. Although it has high calorie and carbohydrate content, the carbs are complex as it is whole grain. In addition, it is an excellent source of proteins, fibre, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, etc., making it a healthy food.

Health Benefits of Kamut

Some of the most significant benefits of this grain are:

Bone Development and Maintenance

Manganese is essential for bone development and maintenance. Its deficiency can cause hypercholesterolemia and bone demineralisation. It can also lead to reduced growth in children. 

Kamut is rich in manganese which promotes bone metabolism. It helps maintain strong and healthy bones. Manganese-rich foods help prevent the early onset of osteoporosis. Studies suggest consuming manganese improves bone mineral density in menopausal women and prevents symptoms of bone damage. To enhance the benefit further, you can combine Kamut with foods having nutrients like calcium, zinc, copper and manganese. 

Improved Digestive System

Kamut is rich in fibre. Dietary fibre improves bowel movement and helps maintain bowel health because fibre helps solidify stools by absorbing water. Studies also indicate that a fibre-rich diet reduces the risk of colorectal cancer. Fibrous carbohydrates also make you feel satiated and increase nutrient absorption. 

Zinc content in Kamut also aids digestion. Zinc deficiency is often associated with digestive problems. Even minimal zinc deficiency impairs digestion since it is responsible for producing digestive enzymes. This grain is also more easily digestible than modern wheat varieties. Hence, it is beneficial for people with wheat allergies.

Reduces the Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases

Kamut helps lower your risk of obesity, stroke, heart disease, high blood cholesterol, and diabetes and helps maintain good digestive health. It also helps gut mobility, metabolic health, chronic inflammation, and cardiovascular diseases. A study suggests that a Kamut-based diet suppresses hormones that promote inflammation and reduces cholesterol and blood sugar. Raised cholesterol levels are one of the significant causes of heart issues like stroke.

Aids Weight Loss

Fibre adds bulk to your diet. It helps you feel fuller for longer. The protein content in Kamut is also beneficial for weight management. Digestion and metabolism of proteins help burn calories. Protein also decreases your appetite by making you feel full. Protein also helps you lose weight by reducing fat and preventing muscle loss and metabolic slowdown.

Regulates Hormones

Kamut is rich in selenium and manganese, which act as antioxidants and protect you from genetic mutations and cell membrane damage. In addition, selenium helps produce thyroid hormones, and manganese is crucial in processing sex hormones. 

Zinc, as an antioxidant, is essential for the proper functioning of the reproductive system for both genders. It is responsible for regulating growth hormones. Studies on the role of zinc in female reproductive system disorders show that it helps increase or decrease testosterone levels. Therefore, it reduces PCOS symptoms. Zinc can also reduce the pain accompanied by the menstrual cycle.

Liver Detoxification

Kamut is an excellent source of phosphorus. Phosphorus is essential for kidney function and helps eliminate toxins from your body. To balance uric acid, sodium, water, and fat in the body, the kidneys and other digestive organs depend on electrolytes such as phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium.

A study conducted to check the effects of a Kamut-based diet on Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) revealed that this grain effectively reduces metabolic risk factors and improves the liver profile in patients with NAFLD.

Improves Brain Health

Kamut contains niacin, also known as vitamin B-3, necessary to produce several endocrine hormones and support the nervous system’s health. Your brain requires niacin to get energy and function properly. It also protects brain cells from stress and injury. On the other hand, niacin deficiency can lead to memory loss and dementia.

The manganese content in Kamut also improves cognitive function. Studies prove that manganese is pivotal for normal cell function and metabolism. Scientific evidence also shows that manganese is essential for normal brain development.

Prevents Common Cold

Some studies suggest that zinc prevents the accumulation of mucus and bacteria within nasal passages. As a result, it may reduce the duration of the common cold by a day or so, reduce the symptoms’ severity, and prevent upper respiratory infections. Since Kamut is rich in zinc, it can prevent the common cold.

Promotes Good Thyroid Health

Manganese is responsible for producing thyroxine. Thyroxine is a vital hormone responsible for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland controls metabolism, appetite, weight gain, and organ efficiency. The manganese in Kamut can be a part of your diet and prevent thyroid-related issues.

Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Properties

According to research, Kamut bread produces more antioxidants than modern durum bread. Khorasan wheat also showed the highest number of polyphenols and carotenoids. Polyphenols are responsible for protecting the body’s tissue against pathologies such as cancers, coronary heart diseases, and inflammation. Carotenoids have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They are also crucial in protecting retinal tissue from light damage.

The HealthifyMe Note

Kamut boasts a broad nutritional profile. Along with its beautiful golden appearance and buttery taste, it is very healthy. It is rich in proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. It is also an excellent source of zinc, magnesium, selenium, and many polyphenols and fatty acids. Thus, it offers several health benefits like aiding weight management, preventing cardiovascular risk, improving bone and brain health, etc. 

Ways to Include Kamut in Your Diet

Kamut enjoys excellent versatility as a raw material because it is suitable for various purposes.

You can substitute your breakfast oatmeal with Kamut grains. Then, add fruits, nuts, and toppings of honey or chocolate syrup to make a healthy and filling breakfast bowl.You can add Kamut grains to soups and stews. You can also use it as a salad topper. Add cooked Kamut grains to a cold, refreshing salad to utilise its protein and fibre content.You can use Kamut in baked goods, bread, pasta, waffles, and pancakes. Its buttery flavour makes it perfect for bread.You can make a porridge out of Kamut grains by blending them in your food processor.

How to Prepare

Soak them overnight to decrease the cooking time. After soaking, drain Kamut to prepare them for cooking.Bring a pot of water to boil (for every cup of Kamut, there should be three cups of water). Add Kamut and continue to boil until the grains are soft.Drain the water before serving. Kamut can also be pressure cooked.

Healthy Recipes with Kamut

Kamut Breakfast Porridge

Servings: 3 to 4

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 12 minutes

Ingredients

Kamut berries: 1 cup (200 g)Unsweetened almond milk: 500 mlKosher salt: ½ tsp Butter: 1 tbsp Pure maple syrup: 4 tbspGround cinnamon: 1 tspDried or fresh fruit: As preferred

Method

Blend one cup of Kamut in a food processor.In a saucepan (medium), add 3¾ cups of almond milk. Then, add the cracked Kamut and ½ tsp of kosher salt to the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil.Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook. Stir occasionally and let it thicken over 10-15 minutes.After it reaches the desired thickness, remove it from heat. Garnish with some ground cinnamon and fruits of your liking.

Mediterranean Kamut Salad

Servings: 4

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 42 minutes

Ingredients

Kamut: 1 cup (200 g)Diced onion: 2Zucchini squash: 1Red bell pepper: 1Chopped kalamata olives: 50 gChopped Sun-dried Tomatoes: 4Currants: ½ cup (50 g)

Dressing

Minced garlic : 3 clovesDijon mustard: 2 tspKosher salt: ¼ tspBlack pepper: ¼ tspBalsamic vinegar: 2 tbspExtra virgin olive oil: 1.5 tbsp

Method

Cook Kamut in a pressure cooker with a Kamut to water ratio of 1:3. After cooking, drain any excess water and let the grains cool.Put the grains in a large bowl and add onion, zucchini, red bell pepper, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and currants.Take another bowl and mix garlic, mustard, salt, black pepper, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil to make the dressing.Add the dressing to the salad and toss it.

Precautions

Allergies

Kamut is a grain containing gluten. However, it is known to have less gluten and is easier to digest than other grains. But if you have a gluten intolerance like celiac disease, avoid Kamut.

Medications

There is some evidence to prove that Kamut might interact with cisplatin, a chemotherapy agent used to treat ovarian, bladder, lung, and other cancers. Consult a doctor about possible drug interactions.

Summary

Kamut is untouched by modern hybridisation and genetic engineering. It is a rich source of protein, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins and offers other nutritional benefits. For example, Kamut consumption can improve cognitive health, cardiovascular health, digestive system, hormonal balance, etc. Compared to other conventional wheat products, Kamut has a higher nutritional value.

Since it has a versatile flavour, you can use its nutty flavour and smooth texture to enhance several healthy dishes. The buttery flavour is perfect for baked goods, especially bread. It is easier to digest even though it contains gluten. However, people having gluten allergies, like celiac disease, should avoid Kamut.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What is Kamut good for?

A. Kamut has a high nutritional profile. It has many benefits, including improved gut health, lower cholesterol and blood sugar, reduced risk of heart diseases and diabetes, and a better immune system. In addition, it is healthier than modern wheat since it is untouched by hybridisation and modification.

Q. Can I eat Kamut every day? 

A. Kamut is safe for consumption every day. However, consuming Kamut with other foods high in selenium can lead to hair and nail loss, nausea, diarrhoea, or skin rashes. It is because there is a specific limit for selenium consumption per day. In addition, people who are highly allergic to gluten, for example, celiac disease, should avoid it. Consult your doctor, nutritionist, or health expert before incorporating Kamut into your diet if you take cancer medications.

Q. Is Kamut grain healthy?

A. Kamut grains are healthy. Kamut is more easily digestible than other grains. Hence, it is better for people with wheat allergies. It has a significant amount of nutrients that promote the well-being of an individual. In addition, It aids cardiovascular health, digestion, and weight loss. It also supports bone health, brain health, etc.

Q. Does Kamut make you gain weight?

A. Kamut does not make you gain weight. Kamut is rich in fibre which makes it great for digestion. It reduces blood sugar, cholesterol, and inflammation. The protein content in Kamut is about 20-40%. Protein-rich foods help you healthily lose weight. All this makes it an excellent weight-loss staple.

Q. Is Kamut better than oats?

A. Kamut has lower fat content than oatmeal. It is also rich in vitamin B6, responsible for improving metabolism. Furthermore, it is also rich in selenium and vitamin E, which have antioxidant properties. Oatmeal has more fibre and magnesium content than Kamut. These grains are healthy alternatives to regular wheat and have their benefits.

Q. Is Kamut healthier than wheat?

A. Kamut has a higher nutritional value than traditional wheat. It has 20-40% more protein and is higher in benefit-rich zinc, magnesium, selenium, and many polyphenols and fatty acids. It is also rich in fibre, which makes it easily digestible. As a result, It is proven to be more tolerable for wheat allergies. However, you should avoid Kamut if you are highly allergic to gluten.

Q. Is Kamut easy to digest?

A. Kamut is high in fibre and protein, which helps with metabolism and digestion. Fibres help absorb excess water in your stools which makes them soft. Kamut enables you to maintain a regular bowel movement and improves overall gut health.

Q. Does Kamut have protein?

A. Yes, Kamut is rich in protein. According to USDA, 100 g of Kamut consists of 14.5 g of protein. So, a half-cup serving has 30% more protein than regular wheat, with only 140 calories. Protein is a macronutrient and thus has plenty of benefits. Hence, Kamut is healthy for improving digestion, boosting metabolism, lowering blood pressure, and maintaining a healthy weight.

Q. Is Kamut better than quinoa?

A. Both are healthy ancient grains that have become trendy recently because of their abundant benefits. However, Kamut is richer in protein content than quinoa. Kamut is the highest-protein grain, providing 9.8 grams per one-cup serving, while quinoa provides about 8 grams per one-cup cooked serving. 

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