Looking for an easy way to add vitamins, minerals, protein and heart-healthy fats to you child's diet and your own? Look no further; wheat germ is the hot ticket.
Although the germ makes up only 2.5% of whole grain wheat, the germ contains a great majority of the vitamins and nutrients present in wheat. Whole wheat flour retains the germ (and all of its excellent nutritional value) while white flour loses its germ in the refinement process. Many of the benefits that whole wheat offers over refined wheat comes from wheat germ. Refined white flour must be 'enriched' legally in an attempt to replace what is lost when wheat germ is removed (like B vitamins and iron), but it is not a complete replacement. The following lists the numerous benefits that wheat germ offers:
Wheat germ is a good source of:
B Vitamins: Folate, Niacin, Thiamin & Vitamin B6 (for metabolic health)
Calcium (for healthy bones & teeth, muscles and blood clotting)
Fiber (for digestive health and prevention of heart disease, cancer and diabetes)
Iron (for healthy muscles and blood function)
Magnesium (for healthy nerves, bones, muscles and heart)
Manganese (for energy production)
Omega-3 Fatty Acids (for healthy cholesterol, brain function, and satiety)
Phosphorous (for energy production)
Potassium (for healthy nerves, muscles, heart and kidneys)
Protein (for healthy muscles and organs)
Selenium (for a healthy immune system and the prevention of cancer)
Vitamin E (for prevention of heart disease and cancer and for healthy skin)
Zinc (for a healthy immune system and cell growth and repair)
Add to any breakfast:
Try sprinkling a tablespoon of wheat germ over breakfast cereal or oatmeal, or stirring a couple tablespoons into a batch of any pancake or waffle batter. Growing up, my mom used to replace 1/3-1/2 cup of flour with wheat germ in her homemade waffle recipe which lent a delicious nutty flavor and crunchy texture that the whole family enjoyed. Now, whenever I bake, I consider making a similar replacement in recipes like banana bread or muffins of any kind.
Store in the fridge:
All those healthy unsaturated fats in wheat germ are delicate and, unfortunately, go rancid (spoil) quickly, especially when exposed to warm temperatures and light, so be sure to store your wheat germ in the fridge or freezer.
Share your favorite ways / success stories of incorporating wheat germ into your household's meals with us!
* On Food and Cooking - Harold McGee
* The Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition - UC Berkeley