Wheat germ – how healthy is it really?

wheat, field, sunset

In the world of superfoods, where quinoa, chia seeds and goji berries often dominate the headlines, there is one humble but exceptionally nutrient-rich food that deserves more attention: wheat germ. As the centrepiece of the wheat grain, wheat germ offers a wealth of health benefits and is an easy addition to a balanced diet. In this article, we take a deep dive into the world of wheat germ to explore its nutritional profile, highlight its health benefits and provide practical tips on how to incorporate it into your daily diet.

What is wheat germ?

Wheat germ is the embryonic part of the wheat kernel from which the new plant sprouts. Although they only make up a small part of the whole grain, wheat germ is a powerhouse of nutrients. They are rich in essential fatty acids, proteins, vitamins and minerals, making them an excellent addition to any diet.

The nutrient profile

Wheat germ is characterised by its impressive nutrient profile. They are an excellent source of:

  • Vegetable protein: Ideal for vegetarians and vegans, it provides all the essential amino acids the body needs.
  • B vitamins: Contain thiamine, folate and vitamin B6, which are essential for energy production and brain health.
  • Vitamin E: A powerful antioxidant that protects cells from oxidative stress.
  • Minerals: Rich in zinc, iron and magnesium, they support a variety of bodily functions, from immune defence to muscle health.
  • Fibre: aids digestion and can help lower cholesterol levels.

Health benefits

Regular consumption of wheat germ can provide numerous health benefits:

  • Heart health: the vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids found in wheat germ can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Immune system: The antioxidants and minerals contained in wheat germ strengthen the body’s own defences.
  • Digestion: High fibre content supports healthy intestinal flora and promotes regular digestion.
  • Blood sugar levels: Wheat germ can help to stabilise blood sugar levels, which is particularly beneficial for people with diabetes.

Integration into the diet

Wheat germ is easy to integrate into your daily diet. Here are some ideas:

  • Sprinkleover breakfast: add wheat germ to yoghurt, muesli or smoothies.
  • As a baking ingredient: Replace some of the flour with wheat germ in recipes for bread, muffins or pancakes.
  • In salads: Add a spoonful of wheat germ to your salads for a nutritious kick.

Potential risks and buying advice

Although wheat germ is safe for most people, those with gluten intolerance or wheat allergy should avoid it. Since wheat germ can easily go rancid, it is important to store it in a cool, dry place. When buying, look for fresh, high-quality products and prefer certified organic wheat germ to minimise your intake of contaminants.

Evidence from research

Scientific studies support the health benefits of wheat germ. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition shows that the high levels of vitamin E in wheat germ can help improve heart health by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. Another study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that the fibre in wheat germ can aid digestion and help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

Comparison with other superfoods

Compared to other superfoods such as chia seeds or quinoa, wheat germ is characterised by its high content of vitamin E and folic acid. While chia seeds are known for their high omega-3 fatty acid content, wheat germ offers a broader range of B vitamins, making it particularly useful for energy production and cognitive function.

Simple recipes

Wheat Germ Pancakes: Mix 1 cup wholemeal flour with 1/2 cup wheat germ, 1 teaspoon baking powder, a pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 beaten egg, 1 cup milk and 2 tablespoons melted butter to make a smooth batter. Bake the pancakes in a lightly oiled pan until golden brown.

History and origin

Wheat germ has a long history in the human diet. They were originally recognised as a valuable source of nutrients in ancient times. They were traditionally used in many cultures to utilise their healing powers and enrich the diet.


The production of wheat germ is relatively sustainable compared to other superfoods, as it is a by-product of wheat flour production. The use of wheat germ helps to reduce waste and increase efficiency in food production. When buying wheat germ, consumers should choose organically grown products wherever possible to support sustainable agriculture.


  • Do wheat germs lose their nutrients when cooked? The vitamin E content can be slightly reduced by high heat, but most of the nutrients in wheat germ remain intact even when cooked. It is recommended to use wheat germ at low to medium heat to preserve its nutrients.
  • What is the best way to store wheat germ? Due to their high oil content, wheat germ should be stored in a cool, dry place, ideally in the fridge or freezer, to extend their shelf life.

Expert opinions

Dr Maria Schmidt, a nutritionist, emphasises: “Wheat germ is an excellent addition to a healthy diet. Their high nutrient content not only supports physical well-being, but also mental health. I recommend including them regularly in your diet to benefit from their many health benefits.”

Conclusion on wheat germ health

Wheat germ is an underrated superfood that offers an impressive array of nutrients and health benefits. By simply incorporating it into your daily diet, you can boost your wellbeing and provide your body with essential nutrients. Give it a try and discover how this natural powerhouse can enrich your health.