Learn more about the wheat germs found in your Ontario wheat, not the bacteria kind! A wheat germ is the nutrition powerhouse of a wheat kernel- not the germs that makes us sick.
Many of us have never heard of wheat germ and have no idea what it is and why this part of wheat grains is so good for us. Luckily, we’re here to help you meet your wheat and to tell you all about your next favourite healthy ingredient.
What is wheat germ?
A wheat kernel, also known as a wheat berry (learn more about wheat berries here) is made up of three parts; the endosperm, the bran and the germ.
The germ is the heart of a wheat kernel. It is the smallest part of the kernel but is the most nutritious part. The germ is the part of the seed that grows into a plant. It contains the “fuel” that the kernel needs for it to grow. The germ contains protein, B vitamins and minerals such as zinc, magnesium and phosphorus. Wheat germs are also an excellent source of vitamin E that has been linked to the prevention of heart disease and has linkages to strengthened immune systems.
Wheat germs are packed full of necessary nutrients and have many health benefits when they are consumed. But did you know that during the milling process of wheat into white flour, the wheat germ is removed and thrown away? Choosing whole grains means, you get all three parts of the wheat grains, including the germ.
Additionally, wheat germ can be purchased on its own. You can purchase wheat germs in the refrigerated section of the health foods section in your local grocery store.
How do I eat wheat germ?
Thankfully, there are many easy and different ways that you can add wheat germ to your diet!
Here are a few ideas:
- Sprinkle it onto your favourite breakfast cereal, hot or cold. You can even add it to your favourite Overnight Oats recipe!
- Add it directly into your smoothies for an added health kick and fibre boost. It goes great in this Berry Fresh Smoothie.
- You can eat it straight out of the bag, or you can roast wheat germ for an extra nutty taste.
- Can be used as substitutes for breadcrumbs in things like meatloaf, casserole toppings or breaded chicken.
- Replace up to ½ of white flour with wheat germ for extra nutrition in your baking. Try wheat germ in these Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.
- What germ can even be used as a topping for ice cream to make your favourite sweet treat a wee bit healthier!
What is the nutritional value of wheat germ?
Wheat germ is made up of 5% minerals, 20% starch and simple sugars, 38% protein, 22% fibre and 12% fatty acid and E vitamin.
In one teaspoon of wheat germ, you can expect to consume:
- 8 calories
- <1 gram of fat
- 1 gram of fibre and
- ~ 1 gram of protein
It is recommended by professionals that when you eat wheat germ that you eat one to two tablespoons of it in a serving to get the maximum health benefits.
Wheat germ is an amazing product that has many different health benefits and can easily be added to your everyday diet! There are tons of goodness found in every Ontario wheat germ.