Grain, flour, bread, cereals … the most common food products in our everyday diets, that have been around since the beginning of mankind.
Archaeological finds indicate the cultivation of grain in the “Cradle of Civilization”, also known as the “Fertile Crescent”. A boomerang-shaped part of the Middle East – spanning from the western fringes of present-day Iran, including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Cyprus and Egypt to southeastern Turkey – where evidence of one of the earliest human civilizations have been found. This area is seen as the birthplace of a number of technological innovations such as agriculture and the use of irrigation, the wheel, glass and writing. As a result, early human settlements such as Sumer in Mesopotamia flourished.
Solid agriculture first emerged when people began clearing and adapting natural vegetation to grow newly domesticated plants as crops. According to archaeological records, the earliest wheat cultivation in this region dates back to around 9600 BCE.
Nowadays wheat is grown on more agricultural land than any other food crop and world trade in wheat is considerably larger than trade in all other crops combined.
What is Wheat?
Wheat is one of many cereal grass species widely cultivated for its seed – cereal grain – which is worldwide staple food. All species of wheat together make up the genus Triticum; the most widely grown is common wheat (Triticum aestivum). Botanically, the wheat kernel is called a caryopsis – a dry one-seeded fruit, typical of grasses and cereals, whose pericarp is fused with the thin seed coat. These form their edible grains, which are processed into various products such as flour, bread, pancakes and couscous.
What is Wheat Germ?
Wheat germ are the seeds of the grain, from which the new plant grows. This means that wheat germ is the plant’s storehouse of all its necessary nutrients. Wheat germ is one of the three components of the edible wheat kernel. The whole grain is usually stripped from its nutritious wheat germ and from the bran, which is the fibre component, leaving only the third component, the starchy endosperm.
Wheat germ is the heart of the wheat berry, hence its many health benefits. As an indication of the plentiful nutritious content of wheat germ: two tablespoons contain only 45 calories, 1 gram of unsaturated fat and 2 grams of dietary fibre. In addition, wheat germ contains folic acid (10% of the recommended daily allowance), phosphorus, magnesium and zinc (8% of the RDA), vitamin E (15% of the RDA) and 10% of thiamine requirement. Wheat germ is cholesterol and sodium free.
What is Wheat Germ Oil?
Cold-pressed wheat germ provides a concentrated liquid oil, coloured amber to brownish, with a hint of earthy scent. This pressing method guarantees preservation of all valuable nutrients which are naturally contained in wheat germ.
100% Natural nutritions in Wheat germ oil
Traditionally wheat germ oil is used to treat skin ailments such as inflammation, psoriasis and scars, to reduce wrinkles, soften the skin and prevent stretch marks. It makes the hair healthy, strong and glossy, and can be used to treat hair loss. Wheat germ oil improves blood circulation, eliminates toxins from the body, provides relief from muscle fatigue and can help with malnutrition problems. All due to the sheer amount of vital nutrients contained in wheat germ oil.
These are the main nutritional elements in wheat germ oil and how they positively affect your health:
Fibre – Fibre is important for maintaining a healthy body. Wheat germ contains a multitude of dietary fibre, necessary for healthy blood sugar levels. It regulates bad cholesterol, which in turn reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, it is good for the proper functioning of the digestive and intestinal system and for detoxification. In addition, wheat germ contains no calories, while fibre ensures a full feeling, which contributes to weight loss.
Vitamins – Wheat germ is packed with vitamins!
Vitamin B – one of the essential nutrients for our body. All B vitamins are water-soluble, which means that the body does not store them. Their duty in the body is to convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), needed to produce energy. They also support the body in using fats and protein, they are needed for a healthy liver, for healthy skin, hair, and eyes. And they are important for proper functioning of the nervous system. Wheat germ contains lots of those important B vitamins, such as thiamin, folate and vitamin pyridoxine.
Thiamin (vitamin B1) is important for the proper functioning of the heart muscle and the nervous system. It assists to prevent complications in the nervous system, brain, muscles, heart, stomach and intestines.
Folate or folic acid (vitamin B9) is crucial for both proper brain function as for mental and emotional health. It aids in the production of genetic material, and is especially important in rapidly growing cells and tissues, for example during infancy, adolescence and pregnancy. Folic acid works closely with vitamin B12 in creating red blood cells and supports the proper functioning of iron in our body.
Pyridoxine (vitamin B6) is important for a healthy metabolism, growth and functioning of certain hormones. B6 is also necessary for blood production and for a properly functioning nervous and immune system. Vitamin B6 may help to:
- improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression;
- promote brain health and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s;
- prevent and treat anaemia as it supports haemoglobin production;
- ease symptoms of PMS and nausea during pregnancy;
- prevent clogged arteries and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Vitamin E – Wheat germ oil contains plenty of vitamin E – a very powerful antioxidant! Vitamin E protects all cells in the body against harmful substances, from brain cells to cell membranes, and it can fight free radicals. Free radical damage greatly contributes to atherosclerosis – the process of plaque build-up in the arteries – which vitamin E can help to stop. It is also important for liver detoxification, proper immune function and blood glucose control.
Minerals – Wheat germ oil carries an abundant amount of minerals. Minerals are needed to carry out chemical reactions that keep the body healthy and to repair itself. What do these different minerals do for us?
Iron – necessary for the production of haemoglobin, a substance essential for oxygen transport through the blood.
Phosphorus – wheat germ oil is full of phosphorus that contributes to healthy, strong bones.
Calcium – as phosphorus, calcium contributes to strengthen bones and assists in prevention of osteoporosis.
Magnesium – a mineral contained in wheat germ oil that is important for proper functioning of the muscles, for our metabolism and construction of bone tissue.
Potassium – this mineral enacts in regulating fluid balance in our body. It helps to reduce water retention and blood pressure, and it can prevent kidney stone formation.
Zinc – is suggested in prevention and suppression of the common cold. It is an indispensable mineral that plays an important role in a proper functioning immune system.
Selenium – another mineral nutrient contained in wheat germ oil, known to have antioxidant properties. Selenium in particular is purported to help with asthma and reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular disease. It is often touted to help prevent cancer and vision loss.
Fatty acids – Wheat germ oil also contains fatty acid such as linoleic acid (omega-6), palmitic, oleic and linolenic acid (omega-3). Both omega-3 and omega-6 are polyunsaturated fats, which assist in muscle movement and blood clotting. These fats are not produced by the body and must therefore be obtained through our diet. Wheat germ oil is therefore a beneficial addition to our everyday diet.
Omega-3 – plays a role in brain, nerve and eye development in infants. It supports a healthy immune and nervous system, can lower anxiety levels and improve mood, and may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Omega-6 – is important in regulating our genes, promoting immune health and blood clotting. These fats are also believed to help with the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and dermatitis.
Phytosterols – another important content of wheat germ oil. Phytosterols are actually steroid compounds similar to cholesterol that can lower unhealthy cholesterol levels and promote a healthy heart. Several studies have shown that ingestion of wheat germ lowers total cholesterol by 7.2%, it lowered LDL, or “bad” cholesterol by 15.4%, and triglycerides, a fat and sugar molecule in the blood, by 11.3%. Since wheat germ oil is one of the most robust sources of phytosterols, wheat germ may indeed be the superfood in lowering LDL cholesterol levels.
How to use Wheat germ oil
Wheat germ oil has a wonderfully soft taste with a hint of sweet and bitter. It can easily be added to your daily routine to spice up your salads and vegetables. Wheat germ oil is delicious in muesli and yogurt, or mixed through dough in baking cake or bread.