Wheat germ refers to a portion of the wheat kernel that is edible. It is the part of the plant that will germinate to from the wheat grass. This piece is about 2.5 percent of the whole kernel. People praise this ingredient for being very nutritionally rich, but it is commonly removed when the wheat is processed because it will make it go rancid quicker. Because we now know the importance of this wheat germ, it is easier to find it in health food shops and supermarkets to use as part of our daily diet.
Nutrition and Benefits of Wheat Germ
Wheat germ contains 23 different nutrients, and contains more of these ingredients per ounce than any other grain or vegetable in the human diet. It is an incredible source of iron and potassium, it also contains high amounts of calcium, magnesium riboflavin, zinc and Vitamins A, B1, B3 and E. On top of all this, wheat germ is 28 percent protein, which is higher than a lot of meat sources we consume. The high amounts of B vitamins in wheat germ also help to increase your metabolism so you can better process the foods you eat. The high amounts of fiber in the grain also improve bowel function so you are less likely to develop constipation. This can also assist with weight loss.
Regularly consuming wheat germ can lower your cholesterol levels, decreasing your risk of cardiovascular diseases. This food has high amounts of folic acid that can lower your homocysteine levels to help protect your arteries from damage. This ingredient also improves your oxygen utilization to improve overall body health. This also helps your body improve your energy storage to increase muscle function and improve your stamina.
The B vitamins in wheat germ can also help you maintain your skin and other tissues within the body. It also contains high amounts of vitamin E that can help protect you from signs of aging as well as maintaining issues so you are less likely to develop cancer or heart disease.
Common Uses of Wheat Germ in the Diet
There are plenty of options for people looking to get wheat germ into the diet. Many find it to be a good substitute for granola in yogurt. Others use it to replace bread crumbs in recipes. Some will grind it or blends it to add nuttiness to milkshakes or smoothies. You can also grind it up and substitute it for a fourth or a half of the regular flour in your baking. This is a great choice for those sensitive to gluten because wheat germ has a much lower gluten content than traditional flour products.
People will frequently mix wheat germ into desserts or sprinkle a bit on top of cakes and pastry. This adds a nutty flavor and a contrasting texture while improving your health. People will also frequently mix wheat germ into oatmeal to increase their health while adding a bit of flavor to their dishes. Simply mix a tablespoon of wheat germ into every bowl for best results.
You can also cook with wheat germ oil when you cook to reap the benefits of this product. This oil loses its valuable nutrients when it is heated so you should not use this oil for frying. Instead, use wheat germ oil to make a sauce or salad dressing. Some use this ingredient as a replacement for vegetable oil when baking, adding more vitamin E, D and A as well as protein to your food.
Wheat germ has a high calorie count so it might not be the best choice for those who are trying to diet. However, because of the high protein content of wheat germ, you can easily use this ingredient to replace higher-fat or high-cholesterol options such as red meat. This ingredient is also quite filling, you may also find that you wind up eating less throughout the day when you add a bit of wheat germ to other items you are planning on eating.
Storage and Selection of Wheat Germ
You can usually find wheat germ in the natural or organic section of the grocery store. If your local supermarket does not stock this ingredient, you can usually find it at a store that specializes in health foods. You can usually find fresh wheat germ or toasted products.
Wheat germ has a high oil content so it does not have a very high shelf life. Once you open a package of wheat germ, you will need to plan on using it very soon. Storing your wheat germ in the refrigerator can help extend the shelf life if necessary.