The first time I saw wheat germ was in the vegan refrigerator at Bates. I had no idea what it was, and was kind of weirded out by the name (why would I want to eat something with the word ‘germ’?).

Wheat germ comes from the inside of a wheat kernel, but the germ is what has all the good nutrients inside (the germ comes from “germination,” which you’d think as an English major I would have figured out). Since it’s the part that contains the necessary material to become a plant, it contains a lot of important material (including nutrients).

At Bates, I’d sprinkle a little wheat germ in my fruit salad-yogurt creations, but after that I didn’t really eat it again until finding out I was pregnant this December. Wheat germ was recommended by almost everything I read for “what pregnant women should eat.” I’m fairly good at taking nutritional advice (not so much with exercise advice), so this was instantly added to my next grocery list and started adding a little to 2 meals a day- yogurt/banana mixes, smoothies, scrambled eggs, a crunchy topping for veggies/salads, and so on. It has an easy flavor and texture for adding to things I already eat consistently,  and at the end of this post I’ve rounded up some recipes that you might want to try out!

Health Benefits

Folic Acid. This was a big reason why I started buying wheat germ consistently again in December when I found out I was pregnant. Folic acid helps a growing baby’s brain develop early on, when it’s beginning to form something called the neural tube. Most prenatal vitamins now include folic acid and DHA, but it helps to have something extra in your diet, especially if prenatal make you sick.

Vitamin E. You may have heard that vitamin E is recommended for anyone looking to improve their skin (wrinkles, stretch marks, scars- you name it). That’s because vitamin E assists with cell regeneration (making it good for more than just an outer beauty regimen).

Loads of Fiber. But without the sometimes gross feeling that you may get from eating bread (2 tablespoons of wheat germ is equivalent to 1 piece of whole wheat). You do have to be careful though- wheat germ is low calorie when eaten in the recommended amounts, but it isn’t exactly an “eat by the spoonful” food either.

Vitamin B. The B vitamins help with energy and metabolism, and wheat germ has plenty of them. This is part of the reason why wheat germ is recommended for athletes (and anyone who is looking to improve their energy levels with a holistic approach).

This probably goes without saying, but if you have a gluten sensitivity/intolerance/allergy, you should probably stay away from wheat germ because it will aggravate your symptoms.

9 Amazing Benefits of Wheat Germ

Recipes

Banana Bread Breakfast Cookies from Baker By Nature

Choco-Peanut Banana Shake from Mr. Breakfast

Sweet and Sour Meatballs from Kretschmer

Baked Zucchini with Spicy Wheat Germ from Teczcape

German Chocolate Cake Muffins from Veggie and the Beast

Ingredient of the Week: Wheat Germ