Wheat germ is the part of the wheat kernel that is responsible in helping the plant reproduce and spawn new wheat. It is actually the embryo of the wheat plant. The entire wheat kernel is usually removed during the refining of whole wheat grains into white flour.
It contains the most vitamin and minerals of the wheat kernel. Wheat germ is a good source of vitamin e, magnesium, zinc, thiamin, folate, potassium, and phosphorus.
Wheat germ can be added granolas, cereals, bread, and is also available raw. Wheat germ is also available in liquid form (wheat germ oil). It is used as a food additive and in nutritional supplements.
High in Fiber
Wheat germ is also a good source of fiber. 2 tablespoons of wheat germ contains 1.9 g of fiber, the same amount of fiber in one slice of whole wheat bread. Including more fiber in your diet improves satiety, aiding in weight management. Fiber in food also improves bowel movements and alleviates constipation. It can also reduce blood cholesterol levels.
Source of Protein
Wheat germ is a good source of protein. 2 tablespoons of wheat germ contains 3.3 g of protein. Your body uses the protein in the food you eat to help preserve lean body mass, make new cells and keep your immune system healthy.
Wheat germ is packed with important B vitamins, such as folate, vitamin B1 (thiamin) and vitamin B6. B vitamins are important for the heart, to make proper mood chemicals for our brain, and are critical for cardiovascular health.
Wheat germ contains phytosterols. Phytosterols can lower unhealthy cholesterol and promote a healthy heart. A study from the 2003 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that removing the phytosterols from wheat germ, you would not get the same cholesterol-lowering effect. This shows us that the phytosterols are the compound needed to lower cholesterol. In this study, wheat germ with the original phytosterols reduced cholesterol absorption from the intestines by an impressive 42.8%. Since wheat germ is one of the most robust sources of phytosterols, wheat germ may indeed be a superfood to lower bad LDL cholesterol.
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 also contains tons of minerals, including iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium, selenium and manganese. Our body needs minerals to repair itself and run the chemical reactions that keep us healthy.
Wheat germ contains plenty of vitamin E. This vitamin serves as a powerful antioxidant that protects the wheat germ oil from becoming rancid too quickly. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can protect cell membranes, brain cells, and cholesterol molecules from free radical damage. Vitamin E is also important for good liver detoxification, immune function, and blood glucose control in both healthy and diabetic individuals.
People who are gluten intolerant or have gluten allergies should avoid wheat germ products as it contains gluten.
Image source: www.weightchart.com