We often hear about wheat germ and its many health benefits, but what exactly is it and how can we use it to reap its health benefits?
The wheat grain consists of three main parts: The bran, endosperm and the germ. The bran is the skin of the grain that has a fibrous texture. It is usually removed from the grain in the refining process. The endosperm contains the most of the wheat’s starch. It comprises 83 percent of the grain. The germ is the embryo of the wheat grain where new wheat sprouts. It too is usually removed during the refinement process. However, it is used in whole wheat flour.
Wheat germ is a nutrient rich ingredient that can be added to many foods. Wheat germ is the part of wheat that sprouts and grows into a new plant. When wheat is processed into white flour, wheat germ is the part that is left out. Wheat germ provides a significant amount of vitamins, minerals and protein. It contains vitamin E, which helps protect cells from damage; folic acid, which helps in making healthy new cells and protects against some types of cancer; magnesium, which keeps heart, bones and the immune system strong; thiamine, which is essential in the function of the heart, muscles and nervous system; phosphorus, that works with calcium and helps the growth and repair of all tissues; and zinc, which strengthens the immune system by fighting off viruses.
Michigan State University Extension says that wheat germ can be a great ingredient to incorporate in your healthy diet for its many health benefits. With only 25 calories per tablespoon serving Experiment with wheat germ by adding it to yogurt, smoothies and even some meat entrees like meatloaf.