Cut the White Stuff, Add Some Wheat Germ
You've heard me say it a million times before, and you'll hear me say it a million times more - for healthy nutrition, cut out the "white stuff." That means white flour, sugar, pasta, bread and processed baked goods. They affect your blood sugar and insulin too quickly, and you don't want an excess of either in your bloodstream. Unlike their browner, whole grain counterparts, these foods lack antioxidants and fiber, which is good for your digestion and can help prevent colorectal cancer. In fact, the white stuff doesn't offer much of anything, other than calories. The quality of your calories is as important as the quantity, so choose wisely.
One of my favorite things to add to recipes to boost a meal's anti-aging, health-promoting value is wheat germ, one highly nutritious part of a whole grain wheat kernel. Broken down, a wheat kernel is:
1. Endosperm: 83% of the kernel is composed of this part, the main ingredient in regular processed flour. Many nutrients are left behind when only the endosperm is extracted.
2. Bran: 14% of the kernel is composed of bran.
3. Germ: Only 3% of the kernel is the germ, the part of the kernel which will sprout and grow into a new plant.
The germ is a highly concentrated source of nutrients including B vitamins (niacin, thiamin, riboflavin and folate), vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, iron and zinc. It is also a good source of chromium, which helps your body use sugar properly.
Wheat germ comes in toasted or untoasted versions and can be found at most grocery stores. Wheat germ can be sprinkled over fruit, cereal and oatmeal or added to many casseroles and savory dishes. I like to add wheat germ to many breakfast foods, including my recipe for Toasted Oatcakes with Berry Confetti
Some of you may have heard of fermented wheat germ extract (WGE). This is very different than toasted or untoasted wheat germ. It is a dietary supplement promoted as a cancer treatment and does not have the same nutritional profile as wheat germ. It should only be taken under supervision from a medical doctor.
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