It's time to give wheat germ, a health-food staple, a new look as an affordable and nutritious add-in to myriad recipes.
With all the new and exotic “superfoods” that have emerged in recent years (acai and chia, anyone?), sometime it’s easy to forget about tried-and-true health foods that remain readily available, affordable, and full of nutrients.
Wheat germ is just such a food (unless you’re gluten free, of course, in which case you should avoid it). Wheat germ looms large in my childhood memory; to me, it’s sort of the original health food, something my mom (and later I) mixed into pancake batter and oatmeal to health them up without anyone noticing.
Recently, I received an email from Kretschmer Wheat Germ, the quintessential, 75-year-old brand. It included this interesting chart showing how wheat germ compares with health-food darlings hempseed, chia, and flaxseed.
Wheat germ is derived from the most nutrient-rich part of the wheat kernel (the part that’s removed to make white flour), and it’s an excellent source of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant vitamin E, brain- and heart-boosting B vitamins, and folic acid. In addition to the notable nutrients listed above, 2 tablespoons of wheat germ also gives you 2 grams cholesterol-lowering fiber.
I think in our rush for the “next big thing” in healthy food, it’s easy to overlook something good that’s been there all along. Kretschmer offers lots of wheat-germ recipes on its website; I’m going to break out my jar and start mixing it with my daily yogurt, using it for breading fish, and yes, once again stirring it into my favorite pancake batter recipe.