What in the World is Wheat Germ?

WheatThe kernel of every whole cereal grain, including wheat, consists of the following three parts: bran, endosperm and germ.

- Bran is the tough protective outermost layer of the whole grain or the husk and it is the part which provides the dietary fiber. Unfortunately, unless you use products containing whole grains, you will be missing this very important nutritional element.

- The endosperm is the starchy nucleus and the largest portion of the grain and it is the only part that is used in the making of white flour. This is where we obtain the carbohydrates from grains.

- The germ is the embryo or the sprouting part of the kernel. In essence, it is the reproductive system which ultimately grows and develops into a mature plant. The germ is the smallest part of the kernel but it contains most of the essential nutrients. Once again, only products made of whole grains include the germ because it is removed in the milling process along with the bran.

I wish to make one more statement about whole versus non-whole grains before proceeding to innumerate the health benefits of wheat germ. As I have stated above, non-whole grains go through the process of milling which removes the bran in order to produce refined flour that is white rather than brown and this eliminates the all-important dietary fiber. Also in the process of milling the grains, the germ is removed in order to give the product a longer shelf life, but with its removal you are deprived of the its rich nutritional value. Do yourself a favor and always opt for whole grains!

Wheat GermSo, what is the nutritional value of wheat germ?

- Wheat germ is rich in essential fatty acids.

- 115 grams of wheat germ contains 60% of your daily dietary requirement of the fiber that is associated with the reduction of heart disease as it also regulates digestion, assists the body in getting rid of harmful toxins and helps prevent colon cancer.

- With 27 grams of protein in a 115 gram serving, wheat germ is a very good source of protein while also having a low glycemic index which actually means that it affects blood sugar levels only slightly. Thus, wheat germ is recommended to people suffering from diabetes and having the need to closely manage their levels of insulin.

It is best to consume wheat germ as part of the whole grain but you can also get wheat germ in flaky form. However, keep in mind that it contains oils which can easily oxidize and go rancid. You must, therefore, keep it in refrigeration.

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