Wheat germ benefits the immune system by improving it. It helps in fighting off cardiovascular disease and cancer. Wheat germs also have anti-aging component and can improve mental prowess, muscle formation, stamina, and the healing rate of wounds. There are nutrients present in wheat germs that help in digestion, protect arteries and aid in losing weight.
What Is Wheat Germ?
A wheat germ is a minute, nutrient-containing center of the wheat kernel. Approximately, it is only 2.5% of the total weight of the whole kernel. However, small as it may seem, it offers lots of health benefits. There are types of food that are nutritious as a whole, which means both the normal part and nutritious parts are edible. Wheat is one example of those types of food. Wheat germs are the nutritious part that has a lot of nutrients needed by the body. A wheat kernel has three parts: outside shell (wheat bran), starchy endosperm (for mill flour) and wheat germ (reproductive part).
Wheat germs are responsible for reproducing the plant; hence, it contains the essential nutrients for growing a new plant. Historically, wheat kernels are used to grind flour, in which the bran and the germs parts were just thrown away. However, the white flour is produced and marketed.
Taking away the wheat germ from the kernel and segregating it into natural oils, or consuming the grain as a whole make the wheat germ beneficial to the body system. The use of wheat germ is frequent in making a baking or cooking oil for preparing salads and pasta sauces. However, it is inappropriate to use the oil from wheat germ as frying oil. Remember, applying heat to oil removes its nutrients from it.
Wheat germ can also be an additive in desserts or smoothies. It can also be a substitute for flour and breadcrumbs. It provides additional health benefits rather than the former options.
Today, we live in a world where people are very conscious of what they eat. Hence, most of the stores today carry and sell raw wheat germ. So, be on the lookout for it and be creative while being healthy!
Nutritional Facts of Wheat Germ
As small as it may seem, the content of nutrient found in wheat germ is ever magnificent and impressive. Aside from the wheat germ itself, the outer shell covering known as the bran offers health benefit as well. But still, wheat germs have more important nutrients that make it a wonderful addition to a diet.
It is a rich source of fiber, protein, energy, and complex carbohydrates that are beneficial to the body’s internal systems. It also packs essentiallike vitamin E, folate, and Vitamin B (Thiamin, , and ). Not to mention, high levels of minerals are also present in wheat germs such as iron, , , calcium, phosphorus, and selenium. Last but not the least, wheat germ contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are a beneficial form of cholesterol found in the body.
Wheat Germ Benefits and Health Gains
1. Heart Health
Recent research revealed that frequent and regular intake of whole wheat grain and wheat germs help decrease the risks related to coronary heart disease. Meaning, wheat germ benefits heart health by improving it.
The oxidized cholesterol called LDL would swell up and block the arteries and veins, which usually leads to heart attack and stroke. Therefore, making wheat germ as part of a diet improves the proportion of dietary fiber, helping to decrease heart disease. Wheat germ contains octacosanol, which is known to reduce the level of cholesterol in the body, thereby reducing the risk of heart conditions and stroke.
Wheat germ contains a lot of omega-3- fatty acids. It cancels out the negative effect of omega-6-fatty acids that the body accumulated thru food sources. Thus, it also capable of protecting the cardiovascular system.
2. Immune System
Wheat germ benefits the immune system byit to combat a lot of diseases and conditions such as cancer and heart problems. Wheat germ protein hydrolysates can manifest surge in the antioxidant activity of organ system. These antioxidants search for and break up free radicals and other microorganisms that could potentially cause certain diseases. They decrease the chances of acquiring a serious illness. Wheat germs contain high levels of hydrolysates that boost the antioxidants in the immune system.
3. Cancer Prevention
Wheat germ makes a good addition to a diet. It can aid to decrease the incidence of different types of cancers. Wheat germ can stop glucose metabolism and block the expression of a certain kinase that may stimulate cancer cell activity. One research found out that people with wheat germ extract added in their diet have more TNF secretion by the macrophages and triggering the activity of Natural Killer (NK) cells. Both the TNF secretion and enhanced activity of NK cells would then result in programmed cell death or apoptosis for cancerous and tumor cells. Indeed the wheat germ is a small but very terrible (powerful) and impressive addition to a diet.
4. Diabetes Management
With a lot of folic acids, wheat germ benefits people at risk for diabetes. Folic acid has an inverse relation to a compound called homocysteine. Homocysteine contributes to a lot of unfavorable conditions like diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Like most whole grains usually do, wheat germ can add a nutritious dose in a diet to decrease the homocysteine level. Thus, it reduces the chances of acquiring hazardous and deadly health conditions.
5. Cellular Metabolism
Another vitamin found abundant in wheat germ is vitamin B. Mostly comprised of thiamine, folate, and niacin, these vitamin B complex are important for cell metabolism. They aid in making carbohydrate to nutrients, lipids, and glucose to energy that the cells need to function properly. In particular, thiamine can fight off a condition called chronic obesity. Thiamine provides a well functioning metabolism. Meaning, there is a production of more natural energy. It aids in losing weight, providing optimum strength, and boosting alertness as well.
6. Muscle Health
Aside from meat sources, wheat germ is one of the best sources of protein. Protein is important and vital in keeping muscles healthy, restoring destroyed tissues, balancing energy levels, and maintaining balance or homeostasis in the body. Wheat germ benefits people who wanted to get fit, be in good shape, and helps in increasing muscle mass. Its addition to a diet is a healthy way to bulk up with remarkable results in a relatively good amount of time and dedication.
7. Athletic Performance
Wheat germ benefits the athletes. Today, researchers noted that wheat germs contain a high level of naturally occurring octacosanol. Thus, this naturally occurring octacosanol can help boost stamina and performance. It is also responsible for managing the biochemical pathway in which the body produces energy and streamlines the energy reserves found within it. The effects mentioned above were evident to multiple of studies, but a lot of variables come to play with it. Therefore, it still needs further research to back it up.
8. Anti-aging Properties
Wheat germ is reputable for having a lot of vitamins and minerals. It can have an outstanding effect on anti-aging such asand preventing . Aside from obtaining it through diet, there is development recently wherein it comes handy in cosmetics by using its extract or by mixing it with other cosmetic components. Wheat germs can help to combat conditions like sunburn, psoriasis, eczema, wrinkles, receding hairlines, and dull complexion due to its high vitamin and protein contents.
As mentioned over and over throughout this article, wheat germs are rich in folic acid. Folic acid plays an important role in making sure infants would grow healthy in pregnant women. Having an optimum level of folic acid during pregnancy decreases the incidence of having a child with neural tube defect and other complications related to it.
High in Calories
Wheat germ is rich in calories. Even if wheat germ provides a lot of health benefits, it can become useless upon the failure to monitor the intake of other calories. It is important to remember that gaining substantial weight and developing health condition can happen regardless of how healthy wheat germ is.
A lot of people today can’t eat anything with gluten in it, which is a primary content of most grains such as wheat grain. This intolerance related to gluten can give rise to conditions such as. For people with such condition, eating food with gluten content would result in pain and harm to their digestive system. Regardless of its nutritional benefits, if there is a need to be on a gluten-free diet, then never consume wheat germ or any extract related to it.