September 6th, 2012

Kitchen Talk: Wheat Germ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you know wheat germ is one of the most nutritional products available?  It contains 23 nutrients – more nutrients per ounce than any other vegetable or grain.

Aren’t we always looking for more ways to get added nutrition in our diets – especially for our kids?  Wheat Germ is packed with nutrition and so easy to add to what you are already eating!  Here’ s are some basics just to let you see how amazing the benefits are – and of course we’ll be bringing you some delicious wheat germ recipes to try 😉

{Just In case the name “germ” is making you a little queasy, you’ll be happy to know that “germ” in this case doesn’t have anything to do with bacteria; it refers to germination.}  Wheat germ is the center of the wheat seed and is responsible for the development and growth of the new plant. 

Unfortunately the wheat germ, is removed during the refining of whole wheat grains to white flour because its healthy oils can go rancid quickly.  Removing it makes it easier for food production companies to keep wheat in storage much longer.   Fortunately we are seeing more and more “whole grain” options.

Benefits of Wheat Germ:

  • Wheat Germ is highly concentrated with B vitamins such as  niacin , thiamine,  riboflavin, and folate.   B vitamins are important for the heart, to make proper mood chemicals for our brain, and are critical for cardiovascular health.    
  • Wheat Germ provides vitamin A (retinol) for good eye care and vitamin E, an antioxidant that can help with healthy arteries, liver detoxification, and immune function.
  • Wheat Germ packs lots of minerals such as magnesium, selenium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron and zinc and other nutrients.   {Sounds like all the goodies they spray on breakfast cereal doesn’t it?}    Minerals help the body repair itself and run the chemical reactions that keep us healthy.
  • Wheat germ has phytosterols which can lower unhealthy cholesterol and promote a healthy heart
  • Wheat germ is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids can help lower cholesterol, lower inflammation, and support a healthy nervous system, which can lower anxiety levels and improve mood.
  • Wheat germ is also high in protein and fiber.  Two tablespoons of raw wheat germ have about 1.5 grams of unsaturated fat, 9 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of protein, 2 grams dietary fiber, 2 grams of sugars, no cholesterol and about 60 calories.

Using Wheat Germ:

Wheat germ can be added to almost any recipes such as granola {recipe here},  pancakes, muffins, brownies, cakes, and bread.  Add wheat germ when baking by using it instead of a small amount of flour.  It’s easy to mix it in casseroles and meatloaf.  Start with a teaspoon or two in your regular smoothie mix, or try sprinkling it on yogurt, cereal, popcorn, soup, pasta, salad, and even ice cream. 

Storage and Purchase of Wheat Germ

Wheat germ should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer after opening to keep it fresh.

Wheat germ can be purchased at most health food stores and some grocery stores (find it by the grains).   There are also many food products that already contain wheat germ; a number of cereals are now made with it, as well as bread and flour – look for whole-grain options.

 

Sources:    Why You Need Wheat Germ by  Pina LoGiudice ND, LAc and Peter Bongiorno ND, LAc, Directors of Inner Source Health,  Mayo Clinic , wisegeek

 

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3 Responses to “Kitchen Talk: Wheat Germ”

  1. I keep this in the frig and add it to everything. My kid’s don’t even know the difference.

  2. I always blend wheat germ, peanut butter and almond milk with fruit for a great smoothie breakfast.

  3. Melissa – the smoothie sounds yummy – Thanks!

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