Wheat is a staple in many cultural diets all over the world. While rice is the main staple food crop for Malaysians, there’s a trend shifting towards maize and wheat over time due to urbanisation and changes in diets and incomes. From our favourite roti canai to many of our local kuih delicacies, these foods are made from wheat.
What is Wheat Germ?
The wheat plant is a long grass with spikes at the top and each spike comes with wheat beries, about 20 to 100 berries each plant. Each wheat berry comprises 3 parts: the bran, endosperm and the germ.
Wheat germ is the embryo of the wheat kernel that sprouts to grow into a new plant. While it is relatively small with only 2.5% by weight, wheat germ contributes 90% of the nutrient contained in a whole wheat kernel! That’s why wheat germ is widely recognised as nutritious to be incorporated into different food products or be consumed just on its own.
6 Amazing Benefits of Wheat Germ
Wheat germ provides a wide spectrum of nutritional benefits from dietary fibre, plant protein, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc as well as vitamins and vitamin B complex, particularly thiamin, niacin and folic acid.
Where can I find it?
Unfortunately, wheat germ is usually stripped away during the refining process of wheat flour. This is because the naturally occurring PUFA in the wheat germ is highly susceptible to oxidation, yielding off-odour and shortening the product’s shelf life. This is why refined wheat flour needs to be fortified with synthetic vitamins and minerals, as the nutrient-rich wheat germ has been removed.
Nevertheless, wheat germ is therefore a unique source of invaluable nutrients. Choose wisely and only opt for bread, baked products, breakfast cereals that are made from whole wheat or with germ-enriched, as well as taking wheat-germ oil alone for their goodness. Otherwise, you may easily go for wheat germ flakes on cereal, yogurt or just as it is to enhance your daily nutrients intake.
This article is written by Ms Wu Suet Kei (Nutritionist) for Green Image Organic Enterprise Sdn. Bhd.
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