Friday, March 6, 2009

wheat germ

Wheat germ is truly a super food; it is high in nutrients since it is the embryo of the wheat grain and its job is to nourish the growing plant. So it makes sense that this embryonic "germ" is only about two to three percent of the entire wheat kernel, but contains 23 nutrients! Sadly though, wheat germ is considered a waste product and is discarded after wheat is milled into white flour. Just add that onto the list of reasons why I am not so fond of white flour. Once the germ is removed, the wheat kernel is just starch. How nutritionally lonely.

An ounce of wheat germ contains four grams of fiber and eight grams of protein. It is high in iron, potassium and vitamins B1 and B3, as well as vitamin E. Wheat germ is also high in the minerals in magnesium and zinc.

You can find toasted wheat germ or raw wheat germ at health food stores, in the bulk bins of grocery stores, or online. It has a delicate, nutty, slightly sweet flavor and is often used as an ingredient in cereals. You can substitute a 1/2 cup of regular flour with wheat germ when baking. It is also great sprinkled over yogurt with fruit in the morning, but don't limit your germ to just baked goods. You can try it in a casserole or meatloaf or use wheat germ as a substitute for bread crumbs.

Fit's Tip: Wheat germ will go rancid quickly, so keep it refrigerated. You can also freeze germ and thaw it as you need it.

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