If you are looking for a nutrition boost but don’t want to resort to popping vitamins and minerals in pill form, then you might want to consider wheat germ. Small, yes, unassuming even, but this little seed packs a champion’s punch when it comes to protein, B vitamins, vitamin E, zinc and essential fatty acids.
What is wheat germ?
Wheat germ is a tiny part of a grain of wheat, found in the reproductive part that germinates helping the wheat grass form.
Wheat Germ benefits
There are so many different nutritional benefits of wheat germ that to list them all almost sounds like showing off!
Wheat germ is a very good source of Omega 3 and Omega 6 which are essential fatty acids that you have probably heard about as being found in fish. This means that eating wheat germ can help you lower your cholesterol levels, is good for the heart and can help elevate mood as well as being good for your joints. With only one table spoon of wheat germ you have all your Omega 3 requirements for the day.
Wheat germ has a very high 30% protein content which is more than many meat products. About a cup serving of wheat germ can give you as much as 50% of your daily protein intake needs. Wheat germ also contains one of the highest sources of potassium and iron you can find in any food source. That’s without even mentioning its fiber value.
Other benefits of wheat germ
- Gives energy and increases stamina
- Good for the immune system
- Combats the signs of aging by helping to protect the skin
- Balances the metabolism
Wheat Germ in cooking
Some of wheat germ’s nutrients will still remain with cooking. For example the antioxidant properties of the phytonutrient L-egothioneine are not destroyed when wheat germ is cooked.
Why not try experimenting with buying wheat germ oil to add to your food? Try using it instead of butter or vegetable oil for added health benefits (if you are already use a healthier oil such as olive oil then you can still mix things up a bit with some wheat germ oil). Use for adding flavor to salads or to fry in.
To use the wheat germ itself, try sprinkling on oatmeal or adding to a fresh fruit smoothie. Wheat germ can also be used to add to recipes for cakes and breads, substituting part of the flour for wheat germ. Wheat germ can also be added as a substitute for breadcrumbs.
It seems that wheat germ has so many benefits that it just makes sense to add a sprinkle to your food every now and again. If you buy a jar, keep it tightly sealed and use as appropriate. Look for recipes and find the tastiest way for you to add one of nature’s wonder foods to your diet.