Wheat germ is the internal part of the wheat grain, typically removed when it’s processed into household foods like bread or cereal. Because of its incredible health benefits, many people buy shredded, or flaked wheat germ to enjoy in bakes, sprinkle on porridges, or add into smoothies.
In this article, we’ll explain everything you want to know about wheat germ. We’ll look at wheat germ’s health benefits and nutritional profile, so you can see how it can help you achieve any wellness goals.
What is wheat germ?
Wheat germ is the embryo of a wheat kernel, also known as a germ. The germ is essential for wheat’s reproduction. Many refined wheat products remove the germ to extend the shelf-life of products like flour. Still, wheat germ is full of vitamins and mineral essential for immune health.1
Benefits of wheat germ
Wheat germ is associated with many great benefits for health and wellness, including:
Promotes digestive health
Wheat germ is a good source of fibre.2 Fibre supports digestive health, relieves constipation, and reduces the likelihood of developing age-related diseases.3
Wheat germ contains both vitamin E and beta carotene, two nutrients that studies have shown improve cognition in the elderly.4,5
Wheat germ oil can lower cholesterol.6 Low levels of cholesterol decrease your likelihood of developing age-related diseases.7
Ease menopause symptoms
Although not the case for all women, some women experiencing menopause symptoms enjoy cessation of symptoms when they incorporate wheat germ into their diet regularly.8
Improves gut health
A healthy gut is associated with better lifelong health outcomes.9 Wheat germ has been shown to reduce the presence of illness-causing organisms in the gut.10
Wheat germ nutrition profile
A 28g portion of wheat germ contains11:
|25% of RDA||20% of RDA||18% of RDA|
- Thiamin encourages the body to process food as energy, as well as maintaining nervous system health12
- Folate encourages the body to produce red blood cells. It is especially vital for pregnant women as it helps to prevent birth defects13
- Vitamin B6 helps the body produce haemoglobin, to transport oxygen in blood cells14
Different uses of wheat germ
Incorporating wheat germ into your diet is straightforward. Here are our top tips for enjoying wheat germ at home:
- Use in place of breadcrumbs on casseroles and pasta bakes
- Sprinkle on top of yoghurt
- Add to porridge
- Replace flour for a wheat germ and flour blend in bakes
- Thicken meatballs, soups, and stews with wheat germ
Potential risks from wheat germ
Wheat germ contains gluten, so those with coeliac or gluten sensitivity will not be able to enjoy it.
Wheat germ oil is high in triglyceride fat.15 Individuals with heart problems or those at risk of developing heart problems should consult a medical professional before incorporating wheat germ oil in their diet.
Last updated: 15 March 2021
Author: Bhupesh Panchal
Joined Holland & Barrett: April 2019
Qualifications: Masters Degree in Toxicology, BSc Hons in Medical Biochemistry
Bhupesh started his career as a clinical toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products. After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.
Bhupesh specialises in vitamins & minerals nutrition, health benefits & safety of botanicals and traditional herbal medicines.
In his spare time, Bhupesh likes to cycle and has been learning to speak Korean for several years.
Author: Bhupesh Panchal