Guest Author - Linda Heywood
Wheat germ contains high quantities of important B vitamins. The germ is the reproductive part of the wheat grain from which a new sprout grows. It is the essence of the wheat. Wheat germ is an important food supplement in a vegetarian or vegan diet. Half a cup of wheat germ flakes has as much protein as four ounces of chicken or beef. The wheatís germ and oil are beneficial to the skin when used internally or externally.
It is better to use wheat germ flakes internally in cooking as they contain the complete compound of B vitamins. Add a couple of table spoons to flour mix for bread, pasta, cookies or pastry. Sprinkling the flakes on breakfast cereal or add to yogurt, smoothies or protein shakes. Wheat germ gives porridge and pancakes a nutty, wholesome flavour. Stir a spoonful or two into soups and stews or use in a coating for fried fish or chicken. It is a very versatile food and can be added to almost anything.
The wheat germ flakes contain large amounts of pantothenic acid (PABA), inositol (a sweet tasting carbohydrate) and specific B vitamins vital for the lustre and vitality of hair. Eat whole grain wheat foods as the germ is retained in the milling process. The germ is removed in the manufacture of white bread. It is a good form of fibre and also contains folic acid, phosphorus, thiamine, calcium,zinc and magnesium.
As cooking oil wheat germ is very expensive, highly flavoured and perishable. The oil makes up over two per cent of the grainís weight. The wheat germ oil contains high concentrations of vitamin E and should be used externally on the skin.
Wheat germ oil is very thick and can be hard to apply as it drags the skin. It is also very sticky and can be mixed with a small amount of base oil such as sunflower for easier application. It can be used in place of vitamin E capsules which are a more concentrated form of the pure vitamin. Wheat germ oil can be added to any facial or used as a lubricant.
The vitamin E content of wheat germ oil is the highest of any food that has not undergone vitamin fortification. Wheat germ oil also contains the essential fatty acids; linoleic acid omega 3 and 6, palmitic acid and oleic acid.
Wheat germ has a tendency to oxidise and become rancid if not properly stored. It should be kept in an air tight container, in the refrigerator and away from sunlight. It can be obtained from most health food shops and is quite inexpensive but always check the date on the packet.
"Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps the singing bird will come." ~ Chinese proverb