When we always say that it is advisable to stay away from germs, there is one germ that is particularly beneficial for you. And that is wheat germ! So, what is wheat germ? It is the embryo or the nucleus of wheat. It is also known as raw wheat germ and has a plethora of wheat germ benefits that works perfectly for the health of the body.
How is wheat germ obtained?
Wheat germ is the tiniest part of the grain. The remaining grain is made up of the endosperm, which is forms most of the grain and is full of carbohydrates; and bran, which is the fibrous outer layer of the grain.
When the grains are ready to be marketed, they usually get processed in a way that removes the germ, and the brand only the endosperm gets packaged.
It happens because the germ and the bran contain various oils which can make the grain rancid very quickly, thus reducing its shelf life. But, in this process, the grain also loses its many beneficial properties and nutrients.
What is organic wheat germ?
When the wheat germ is obtained from the wheat cultivated without using any chemical fertilizers, pesticides or any other artificial chemicals, and is developed using all-natural methods for these purposes, it gets termed as an organic wheat germ.
Wheat germ nutrition facts
These are approximate values based on per ounce quantity of the wheat germ.
- Calories- 101
- Carbs- 14.5 gm
- Protein-6.5 gm
- Fat 2.7 gm
- Fiber- 3.7 gm
- Manganese- 3.7 mg
- Thiamine-0.5 mg
- Selenium-22.2 mcg
- Vitamin b6- 0.4 mg
- Magnesium- 66.9mg
- Copper- 0.2mg
- Niacin- 1.9 mg
- Iron- 1.8mg
- Riboflavin- 0.1 mg
- Potassium- 250 mg
- Pantothenic acid- 0.6mg
How to use wheat germ?
You can use the wheat germ in a powder form, like oil or as a juice as well.
What are the benefits of wheat germ?
Wheat germ benefits are numerous. Read on to find out.
1. Wheat germ helps to enhance the immune system
Wheat germ acts as a great immunity booster. It is useful in fighting various heart diseases and as a preventive against some cancers. It destroys the free radicals and also keeps other disease-causing germs at bay.
2. Wheat germ benefits for the cardiovascular system
Wheat germ is seen to be lowering the cholesterol levels in the blood. Hence, it is immensely beneficial for cardiac health. Also, it is understood to be preventing the hardening of the blood vessels, thereby protecting against cardiac diseases.
3. Wheat germ helps to benefit in cancer protection
Wheat germ is high in anti-oxidants, which are helpful in fighting off free radicals. Free radicals are responsible for the development of cancer and also in a person already affected by cancer, free radicals are seen to be present in abundance. Anti-oxidants help in reducing these free radicals, thus aiding in the treatment of cancer and its prevention in other healthier persons.
4. Wheat germ aids as an anti-aging agent
Wheat germ is rich in various nutrients. Thus, it helps in maintaining skin health. Also, it is very rich in vitamin E, which is essential in slowing the aging process.
5. Wheat germ helps for boosting athletic performance
Wheat germ consists of octacosanol, a type of long-chain saturated alcohol. It possesses ergogenic properties. If you consume the wheat germ regularly, it can improve stamina and boost energy in people. Also, look at the number of wheat germ calories! A whopping 101 calories in one ounce. No doubt it is recommended for athletes and sportspersons.
6. Wheat germ benefits in cellular metabolism
Wheat germ is abundant in vitamin B. Out of the many vitamin B types, the ones abundantly found in wheat germ are folate, niacin, and thiamine. These vitamins play an essential role in cellular metabolism. These vitamins help in converting various nutrients into consumable energy for the cells. A Higher rate of metabolism is indicative of higher energy levels, alertness, and more beneficial weight loss.
7. Wheat germ enhances muscle health
Wheat germ is high in protein. Proteins are critical when it comes to muscle health. It repairs damaged tissues and regulates energy levels in the body. Protein is essential when one wants to lose weight and gain muscle.
8. Wheat germ aids in pregnancy
Wheat germ is very rich in folates. Folates are considered to be extremely important when it comes to a healthy pregnancy. Proper amounts of folates in blood reduce the chances of the baby suffering from neural defects. It is a good idea to include wheat germ in the regular diet of a pregnant woman.
9. Wheat germ benefits in diabetes
Wheat germ can act as a preventive for diabetes and many other vascular diseases due to its abundance in folate. Wheat germ folate is known to reduce the amounts of homocysteine, which has links to many diseases like diabetes. Thus, wheat germ can prevent the development of diabetes in those at risk, by lowering the homocysteine levels.
10. Wheat germ helps in bowel regularity
Wheat germ gets packed with fiber. Consuming wheat germ on a regular basis can provide the body with the much-needed fiber for smooth bowel movements.
What is wheat germ oil?
You can obtain wheat germ oil by pressing the wheat germ to extract the oil. The daily recommended dosage of wheat germ oil is 15ml (1 tbsp) of oil per 100 pounds (45 kg) of body weight.
Wheat Germ Oil Benefits
Just like the wheat germ benefits, wheat germ oil also possesses beneficial properties.
- Wheat germ oil is very high in vitamin E. vitamin E is a great antioxidant. Anti-oxidants help in fighting against free radical damage. They are critical in protecting against cancer.
- Wheat germ oil is extremely beneficial in bringing down cholesterol levels. It is because wheat germ oil is rich in octacosanol, which affects fat metabolism and reduces cholesterol production.
- Wheat germ oil is an extremely beneficial hair nourishing tonic. It is rich in linoleic acid, which is a great hair nourisher. However, mix it with a carrier oil in the ratio of 1:10 (one-part wheat germ oil and ten parts of carrier oil) and then applied to the scalp. It is advisable to keep it for some time before rinsing the head.
- Wheat germ oil is highly beneficial in improving energy. It is because it contains octacosanol, which is a long chain saturated primary alcohol known to boost energy and provide stamina. Therefore, it gets highly recommended for sportspersons.
- It is beneficial in various skin ailments.
Wheat Germ Recipes for Inclusion in the Daily Diet
You can include wheat germ in a daily diet. Here are a couple of wheat germ recipes for adding this fantastic food into your everyday diet.
Wheat germ, spinach, and carrot soup
- Heat I tsp butter in a pan
- Add chopped onions and fry till done
- Add chopped carrots and cook till done
- Add 2 cups chopped spinach, add 1 cup of water and cook on medium flame for 1-2 minutes
- Add 1 ½ cups of milk, salt to taste, some pepper and 2 tbsp of wheat germ
- Mix well and cook on medium flame for 4-5 minutes
- Keep aside to cool
- Blend to a puree in a blender when cooled completely
- Transfer the puree in a saucepan and bring to a boil again
- Transfer to the serving bowls and serve hot with breadsticks or croutons
Wheat germ, mango and banana smoothie
- In a blender, add 1 cup roughly chopped and chilled mangoes, similarly one cup bananas, ½ cup refrigerated fresh curd, ½ cup refrigerated milk, 2 tbsp sugar, ice cubes, and 2 tbsp wheat germ
- Blend to a smooth puree
- Transfer the puree to two glasses and serve chilled, garnished with some chopped mangoes
Other Wheat Germ Uses and Tips
These can be used to reap maximum wheat germ benefits.
Banana with wheat germ face mask
- Take two tsp of olive oil and mix it with 1 tbsp of wheat germ powder to form a smooth paste
- To this mixture, add the required quantity of ripe bananas
- Clean the face and then apply this mixture on the face and let it sit there for about 30 minutes
- Rinse off with warm water while performing circular massage to remove it
- It can be used twice a week for getting the smooth and supple skin.
Wheat germ and honey face mask
- Mix 1 tsp honey and one tsp wheat germ oil in a bowl
- Add a few drops of raw milk to it
- Apply this on the face and let it sit for 15 minutes
- Rinse it off with plain water
- It can be used daily for obtaining a glowing skin.
Precautions and Side Effects
Wheat germ benefits are amazing. However, there are certain things to be kept in mind before using it in any form.
- Wheat germ gluten content can’t get ignored. Hence, those who are allergic to gluten in any way, shouldn’t consume this or use this even for local application.
- Also, people who are looking for weight loss should be cautious about the quantity of wheat germ they consume, as one ounce contains nearly 15 gm of carbs. Also, one ounce contains almost 100 calories, which is quite an amount when thinking of weight loss.
- Wheat germ oil is also abundant in triglycerides. It is a type of fat. Hence, those with heart disease should not consume it without prior consultation with the doctor.
- Wheat germ oil may cause mild side effects like diarrhea, nausea, and gas in some people. It is better to consult your doctor before adding it to the diet.
Where can wheat germ be found?
You can find wheat germ in some grocery stores as well as many healthcare stores.
Wheat germ benefits are in abundance. It is a powerhouse of nutrients and can show immense benefits on overall health and immunity of a person. With proper consultation, it is a great idea to include wheat germ in one’s daily diet.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can wheat germ be eaten raw?
Yes, it can be eaten raw. The raw wheat germ is hugely beneficial, as most of the wheat germ nutrition is kept intact in its natural state.
2. How long can the wheat germ be kept in the refrigerator?
Wheat germ can be stored for up to two weeks in the refrigerator, and for up to two months in the freezer. Though it is advisable to consume fresh wheat germ, due to its unavailability at many places and all year through, it can get stored in the fridge.
3. Are there any side effects of wheat germ?
Wheat germ can cause some mild side effects like diarrhea and nausea etc. also, those intolerant of gluten should not be consuming it. It is best to talk to your doctor before starting on wheat germ.