Wheat Germ Benefits and Your Health

What is Wheat Germ?

A grain of wheat is also known as the ‘wheat kernel’ or ‘wheat berry’. This is the seed that grows into wheat grass as we see it in fields.

Wheat germ is a very small part of a grain of wheat – approx 2.5% of the weight.

The word ‘germ’ refers to germination, which is the reproductive part of the kernel that germinates and forms the wheat grass.

As you can see from the diagram the wheat kernel is divided up into 3 distinctive parts:

wheat kernel1. Bran: The bran is the outside layer of the kernel and is approx 14% of the kernel weight. It contains the most fiber and protects the inner parts of the wheat kernel.

2. Endosperm: The endosperm makes up approx 83% of the kernel weight and the source of white flour. The endosperm contains the greatest share of protein, carbohydrates and iron, as well as the major B-vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin and iron. It is also a source of soluble fiber.

3. Germ: The germ is the part of the wheat kernel that germinates and turns into a plant. The majority of the kernel’s fat is found in wheat germ. It is the most nutrient-rich part of the wheat.

Due to the high levels of nutrients contained in the wheat germ, it is extracted from the kernel and used as a supplement to create healthy meals.

You can purchase wheat germ from health stores or online and add them to foods like protein shakes, cereals, salads, toast or as part of general cooking.

Health Benefits of Wheat Germ

If you ask any nutrition expert or dietitian you will no doubt receive a glowing indictment on the many benefits of wheat germ.

However, if you ask a doctor you may or may not receive such a positive response. As with any food that contains healthy vitamins and/or minerals, doctors will always argue with how much of a health benefit is actually derived from the substance.

The good news is that wheat germ does contain many of these vitamins and minerals that are needed to maintain a healthy body – no matter how small.

Millions of people take mineral and/or vitamin supplements every single day. Most people don’t actually need these supplements as they are usually found in a normal healthy diet.

In today’s hectic lifestyle it is not always possible to maintain a healthy daily diet and we often look to supplements to top up any deficiencies we may have.

Wheat Germ Can Be Used As A Natural Supplement

As with vitamin or mineral supplements, wheat germ can be used in the same way, but in a natural form, and is much cheaper to buy.

Wheat Germ is a Good Source Of:

Tick_symbol brownOmega-3 Fatty Acids

The concentrated oil or fat, found in wheat germ is made up primarily of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids.

They are known as ‘essential’ because the body is unable to make them itself and relies on food intake for its source.

Essential fatty acids are also known as mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats (the “good” fats) and are needed in the body.

Omega-3 in particular has been proven to help high cholesterol level patients. It does this by raising the beneficial High Density Lipoprotein (HDL), which in turn removes your bad cholesterol, Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL), by escorting it to the liver where it is broken down and excreted.

Unfortunately most Western world diets contain too much saturated fats and not nearly enough unsaturated fats in the form of omega-3. It explains why heart disease is still the biggest killer in these countries.

While fish provides us with omega-3, there are a number of drawbacks to consuming it, such as potentially high mercury levels and other pollutants found in fish.

Wheat germ on the other hand comes from a cheap, sustainable plant and just 1 tablespoon is enough to provide us with our entire recommended daily intake of omega-3.

The essential fatty acids found in wheat germ also help to lower high blood pressure as well as being important for nervous system functioning, and help elevate mood.

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B Vitamins

B vitamins are classed as ‘water soluble’ which means they all dissolve in water. Being water soluble means the body cannot store large quantities of these vitamins. Any excess is flushes away in our urine.

So it is important we must consume enough B vitamins each day to protect ourselves against deficiencies.

Wheat germ contains nearly every B vitamin our body needs, including thiamin (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), vitamin B6, folate and pantothenic acid.

B vitamins are important for many functions in the body especially for the brain and may help prevent depression, stress and anxiety.

They also boost the body’s metabolism, increasing energy levels and in the production of red blood cell synthesis.

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Vitamin E

The oil that is extracted from the wheat germ contains essential fatty acids and vitamin E.

Vitamin E is needed by the body for nerves, muscle function and to maintain a healthy reproductive system. It has also been shown to benefit the skin by keeping its elasticity better, reducing the effects of ageing.

More discoveries are also being made about its antioxidant properties. Vitamin E is fat soluble and helps protect every cell in the body from the effects of free radical damage. This protection helps reduce the chances of cancer cell formation.

Vitamin E may help to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood by preventing low density lipoproteins (LDLs) from sticking to artery walls and narrowing blood vessels.

Wheat germ is the best source of vitamin E contained in any food. Just 1 tablespoon provides us with 20milligrams, which is 100% of the recommended daily intake – defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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Minerals

Wheat germ is an incredible source of minerals. There are 16 minerals that our body needs to function properly – 10 major minerals and 6 trace minerals.

Wheat germ contains no less than 10 major and trace minerals needed to keep the body in tip-top shape.

These minerals include:

Major Minerals

  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorous
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Zinc

Trace Minerals

  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Selenium

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Fiber

Wheat germ is considered an excellent source of fiber which has many benefits including improved bowel function, which helps prevent constipation and may reduce the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.

A high fiber diet has also been shown to be effective in preventing weight gain.  A 1 oz. serving of wheat germ provides about 4 g of dietary fiber which is around 15 – 20% of your recommended daily intake.

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Protein

Protein is an essential nutrient that is present in the outer and inner membranes of every living cell. Our muscle tissue, hair, nails and outer layer of skin are all made up of protein

It’s no secret that bodybuilders and athletes have been consuming wheat germ for its protein content for some time now.

Not only does wheat germ provide a healthy alternative to eating chicken and red meat for our protein, it is also packed with other health promoting nutrients.

A one cup serving of wheat germ provides over 50% of our recommended daily intake of protein.

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Complex Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are essential part of our diet as they provide fuel to our body and brain.

Simple carbohydrates are carbohydrates that are stripped of their nutrients through the manufacturing process. This includes processed foods like white bread and flour.

Complex carbohydrates retain their nutrients and are a good source of dietary fiber and digested slowly in the body.

Wheat germ is a very good source of complex carbohydrates. (But you knew I was going to say that, right?!)

Conclusion

As you can see the health properties of wheat germ are substantial. This abundant and cheap source of food is a true power house of nutrients that our body needs for optimal health.

As a natural supplement to any form of nutrient deficiencies, or to simply ensure you are getting enough of the nutrients listed above, wheat germ is certainly worth considering.



If you have any comments you would like to share with us, please drop them below..

To Your Health,

Peter

72 Responses to “Wheat Germ Benefits – A Nutritional Superfood”

  1. Tina says:

    Will wheat germ help with my hair loss? I’m only 24 years old and my hair has been falling out a lot. The dermatologist ran a few test and everything came back normal. I don’t understand why my hair is falling out, I do not use any chemcials in my hair, I wash it twice a week and I can’t seem to find anything that helps.

  2. Fahmy says:

    I am 72 years old I discoverd by chance after having back X ray that I have a calcification of Aorta , Also I have mild blood pressure 140/90 , is wheatgerm my be good for me , Thank u

  3. Jez says:

    @ Tina – I couldn’t say if wheat germ or wheat germ oil, can actually stop your hair from falling out as there’s nothing in its properties to suggest this.

    Wheat germ oil is more of an effective natural moisturizer that can strengthen and improve the look of your hair rather than stimulate hair growth.

    I have just written and uploaded a new article titled Wheat Germ Oil For Hair:

    Jez.

  4. Tima says:

    I never knew such a thing existed. I came across it from a food site. I want to start making my own baby’s food at home so I was just wondering if it’s ok for babies. And if so how much should a year old baby consume per day? And can i just mix it with any kinds of food? thanks.

  5. tresa says:

    Hi, I have a seven month old baby and was wondering if wheat germ is good for babies and if so how should it be prepared for them.

  6. RJ says:

    Hi I am 52 yrs young and my dad used to eat wheat germ when I was a kid,but I used to turn my nose up at it.I am into my health more so than ever which includes weight lifting.Muscle eats fat right? right.So in order for us older guys to gain more muscle naturally you must increase your “T” or testosterone levels.Have you heard or know if WG can raise T levels?

  7. lisa says:

    @Sue:
    If you have diverticulosis or diverticulitis, you should avoid any nuts and some grains like rice and possibly wheat germ as they can easily irritate these areas in your bowel. Ask your doctor.

  8. Faiz says:

    YES RJ!!!… I’m sure it will. Zinc is essential for the production of natural testosterone and wheat germ provides more zinc than other foods. it’s the second highest zinc food (see link).

    http://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/zinc.php

    wheat germ also provides other important vitamins and minerals that helps to boost testosterone levels.

    good luck:p

  9. annie says:

    can you tell me if I can use wheatgerm as a sort of porridge ?

  10. Theresa says:

    Hello, I am interested in the benefits of taking w.g and especially on the benefits with skin. Have some scars on my face due to acne and am curious on what if any results may come from taking w.g
    Thanks

  11. Peter says:

    @ Annie – You can certainly add wheat germ to your porridge. I do all the time. But you would need an awful lot to create a porridge out of wheat germ. You certainly don’t need to consume that much in 1 sitting!

    @ Theresa – Wheat germ can be used to treat scars and stretch marks but it’s difficult to say how it would benefit acne scars. It also depends on what type of scars – how deep/old, your current skin condition etc. Deep scars would need more advanced technology. See this resource: http://www.dermanetwork.org/information/acne_scars.asp

  12. Dana says:

    Hi,
    Can you please tell me the brand/type of wheat germ was used for the tea? It favors the texture of oatmeal, and doesnt look powdery like other wheat germs. thanks!

  13. SMorris says:

    I wanted to note wheat germ also has benefits and added nutrition that really cannot be measured. Eating anything in it’s natural state provides countless trace minerals and such that cannot be replicated in a lab. So on top of what everyone has mentioned, you can be sure that there’s even more goodness to wheat germ than we know of. We have been using wheat germ for years, our kids never get sick, never ever. And I have heard the same from other parents as well.
    My grandmother once told me long ago, her mother always gave her wheat germ as a child and she never fell ill either.

  14. Alyssa says:

    I just had my first smoothie made with 2 Tbsp of wheat germ! Reading all these benefits made me put the bag of wheat germ on the top shelf in the refrigerator to remember to use it often.

    If I were to get pregnant, would it still be safe to consume it as often?

  15. Peter says:

    @Alyssa:

    Yes taking wheat germ whilst pregnant is perfectly safe. Your body needs more nutrients and wheat germ contains naturally high doses of vitamin E which amongst other things, helps form red blood cells.

  16. Nicole says:

    Hi all, does organic wheat grass leaf powder have the same benefits as wheat germ, after reading other peoples comments I think I need to go and buy some wheat germ instead?

  17. Andrew says:

    I got a good quality coffee grinder and I grind fresh flax seeds every morning, maybe 2 tablespoons full. To this I add a tablespoon of wheat germ. I mix it in cold water and drink it. I feel good so far.

  18. Betty says:

    What will happen if I mix chia seeds and wheat germ. I also have flax seeds. I just don’t want to overdo it.

  19. Shari says:

    Hello Everyone !
    I mixed a box of “Cream Of Wheat” with a jar of Wheat Germ and I make a hot cerial out of that. I then top with a little cinnamon and brown sugar and a pat of butter.Then I put some fresh fruit or berries on top.
    DELICIOUS !!!
    Everyone remarks about my skin,hair,nails and how fast my hair seems to grow, I attribut it to the wheat germ.
    Thank you for the site,very informative !!!

  20. Yogi says:

    I just bought some ground flaxseed and am thinking about getting wheat germ now…I’m trying to change my diet around to improve my skin. Hope it helps! Thanks for the info!!

  21. Rob says:

    Hello everyone,

    I’m a maker of high protien oat muffins and one of my new additives this year has been wheat germ. The combination of the oats and wheat germ is about as good as it gets for a heart healthy product. The whey and soy protein I use as only the finest commercial grade and are super for a post work out or to boost your protein intake if you’re a vegitarian. They are also super for toddlers as they are loaded with fiber and protein to keep their little brains growing.

    I buy my wheat germ raw then toast it one batch at a time and keep the remaining in the fridge. It can stay fresh for a long time but I ususally run out way before that and have to buy more!

    Just came back from Maui and as a homage to such a beautiful place I made a coconut, pineapple and chocolate chip (oatein) muffing. THEY ARE AWSOME!

    Thanks

  22. Rachel says:

    I’ve been using wheat germ in my foods my whole life….my mom used to put it shakes and baked goods when we were younger. I mix about 2 teaspoons in 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter and 1 tablespoon of natural honey and put it in the fridge. I spread it on a piece of toast every morning. I usually get 2-3 servings out of it, then I make more. I love it!

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