Whole Grains and Wheat Germ: Get the Whole Story
More and more, scientists, doctors and dietitians recommend a diet rich in whole grains. Why? The health benefits are immense! Whole grains contain vitamins, minerals, phyto nutrients and soluble and insoluble fiber that promote good health. They can help you maintain or lose weight, improve your heart health, keep you regular and promote prenatal health.
Sounds a lot like wheat germ, right? There is some confusion on whether wheat germ is a whole grain. The simple answer: It’s not. The germ (short for germination) is part of what makes up a whole grain — the most nutrient-rich part! For a food to be considered a whole grain, however, it must contain the bran, the germ and the endosperm.
True whole grain foods include brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, millet, oatmeal, quinoa, rolled oats, whole grain barley, whole grain corn, whole grain sorghum, whole grain triticale, whole oats, whole rye and whole wheat wild rice. When trying to select products that contain whole grains, look for those that list whole grains first in the ingredients. Food labels must list ingredients in order, by weight.
How many servings of whole grains do you need each day? The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating at least three servings a day to help you stay healthy. One serving is equivalent to an ounce of whole grain, which you’ll get in 1/2 cup cooked 100 percent whole grain pasta; 1/2 cup cooked brown rice or other cooked whole grain; a 1-ounce slice of 100 percent whole grain bread; or 1 cup of whole grain ready-to-eat cereal.
Making your own food is a great way to know how much whole grain you’re eating. Two recipes with the double dose of whole grain and wheat germ are our Whole Wheat Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls with Wheat Germ, made with 100 percent white whole wheat flour, and these Wheat Germ Crepes with Spinach and Ricotta made with buckwheat.
How do you get a variety of whole grains in your diet?