What Is Wheat Germ?
Wheat germ is huge in the “natural foods” and health food market. Every health food store worth its salt substitute stocks endless products that have wheat germ as an ingredient. Wheat germ is considered one of the most nutritional natural foods in the world. Doctors tell us that wheat germ contains 23 different nutrients, meaning that it contains more nutrients per ounce than any other vegetable or grain.
What Nutrients Does Wheat Germ Contain?
Wheat germ is a “complete protein“, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids that your body uses to create protein. As such, it is an important part of a vegetarian, vegan, or even “meat light” diet. Here’s a complete list of the known nutrients in wheat germ:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
- Pantothenic Acid
Where Does Wheat Germ Come From?
Wheat germ comes from a kernel of wheat. The “germ” refers to the interior part of the kernel and is a tiny piece of a piece of wheat. A single wheat germ makes up only about two percent of the wheat kernel itself. That word “germ” that puts people off? It is short for “germination”, implying that the wheat germ is the reproductive part of the kernel that germinates and forms the grassy part of wheat. Essentially, wheat germ is wheat before it is born.
Wheat Germ Benefits
Because wheat germ is rich in protein, it is a huge source of protein for people who don’t have access to, or refuse to eat, animal proteins. Over a quarter of a single piece of wheat germ is pure protein — this is more protein per ounce than almost any meat product. Our bodies need protein for various things (repairing tissue damage, passing nutrients and minerals into our cells, etc) and wheat germ is a healthy and easy to grow source of protein.
Besides protein, there are seemingly endless nutrient benefits from wheat germ — there is more potassium and iron in wheat germ than in any other food on the planet. Other essential nutrients that wheat germ contains includes riboflavin, calcium, zinc, magnesium and vitamins A, B1 and B3. Those last two — vitamins B1 and B3, are extremely important in keeping your energy up, and maintaining your organ systems and healthy brain function. Wheat germ is muscle and brain food.
Vitamin E in Wheat Germ
The more we learn about Vitamin E, the more essential it seems. We know now that Vitamin E is the body’s most important antioxidant ingredient — antioxidants help prevent cancer and other diseases, slow down the aging process, and can prevent heart disease and stroke. Vitamin E also reduces the severity of blood clots and is a required nutrient for your body’s immune system to function.
Athletes use wheat germ primarily for protein and Vitamin E — it is much easier to maintain your athletic condition if you take in enough Vitamin E. Because Vitamin E also improves the performance of the heart, more red blood cells make their way into your muscles, improving your muscle strength and elasticity. Body builders and people who want to add muscle usually use wheat germ to “bulk up” and then to maintain the bulkiness once it has been achieved. Far from just a hippie health food, wheat germ is also the driving force behind many massively muscular bodies.
Where Can I Find Wheat Germ?
It is getting easier and easier to find wheat germ in the places you’d normally shop, though you can always find it in health food and nutritional stores if you’re having trouble finding it at the grocery store. You can buy wheat germ “toasted” or “fresh” — the main difference being that the toasted form is a little tastier, but also a little less nutritious by virtue of being slightly “cooked.” If you don’t want to jump right in to raw wheat germ, you can find food products that contain it that are a bit easier on the stomach. Many breakfast cereals are made with wheat germ, as well as various kinds of bread, grains, and flour.