What is Wheat Germ? What is Wheat Bran? What is the difference?
I have started working at a small health food store where you can find healthy bulk foods and supplements at the same time. There are lots of interesting products and some of them that I have never seen or heard of before. I am feeling overwhelmed by a large number of products that I have to learn about and get familiar with, but at the same time, I am thrilled to discover and be exposed to health foods and products that enhance well being!
From my observation of the bulk section of the store, “Wheat Germ” is one of the more popular products among senior customers. Also, Wheat Germ and Wheat Bran are both made from wheat, but how are they different? I need to find out!
Fist of all, I need to know the difference between Germ and Bran. A wheat grain contains three parts: the bran (a tough outer shell), endosperm (a grain), and the germ (the reproductive section of the grain). All three parts are nutritious and important for our overall health. However, the process of making wheat into flour removes bran and germ. Since they are different parts of wheat, they both have different roles to play for health benefits.
Wheat Germ A great source of natural fiber, protein, essential fatty acids (Omega-3 and 6), vitamins (B1, B2, B6, E), and minerals (Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Zinc).
Vitamin B2 helps to improve the recovery from muscle fatigue and also enhances endurance and stamina.
Vitamin E promotes anti-aging effects, as well as rejuvenates youthful and healthy skin. However, wheat germ can turn rancid quickly due to its high content of unsaturated fats. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator to avoid this.
Wheat germ has a nutty flavor and can be added to any dish: sprinkled on salads, added to breakfast cereal, pancakes, smoothies, omelets, and more…
It also can be an alternative to breadcrumbs in breaded meats, meatballs, and meatloaf.
Studies show that the fermented version of wheat germ can be helpful for people with certain auto-immune conditions. The fermentation process increases the nutritional value of wheat germ and enhances health benefits.
Wheat Germ Nutrition facts /100g
- Calories 420
- Fat 15%
- Cholesterol 0%
- Carbohydrate 18%
- Fiber 48%
- Protein 29g
- Calcium 6%
- Iron 90%
Wheat bran is rich in insoluble fibers which are not digested by the body. It acts as a colon cleanser: treats constipation, improves symptoms of IBS, and increases bowel frequency. So, it is very effective in digestive health.
It is said to help with lowering blood pressure.
However, wheat bran doesn’t promote a reduction in cholesterol from the body.
Wheat bran also contains protein, fat, vitamins (B3 and B6), and minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous).
Wheat Bran Nutrition facts /100g
- Calories 320
- Fat 7%
- Cholesterol 0%
- Carbohydrate 20%
- Fiber 160%
- Protein 17g
- Calcium 10%
- Iron 141%
To conclude, both wheat germ and wheat bran contain massive amounts of nutrients which refined flour is lacking. Even though, they both are high in fiber, it seems to me that the one to choose is dependent on which health benefits you are looking for.
Since wheat germ has more nutritional value (especially high in vitamins and minerals), people should consume this to add extra nutrients into their diet. Unfortunately, this simplified version of Nutrition facts (adapted from Bulk Barn) doesn’t show the full nutritional value. There are many health benefits as I mentioned above. In fact, it is an easy and very inexpensive way to improve one’s diet.
Wheat bran, on the other hand, is high in insoluble fiber. People who consume this can expect mainly to improve digestive health (which can promote many positive effects for overall health). According to the Nutrition facts, iron content is remarkable as well!
In other words, if you are not gluten intolerant, consuming the whole grain (including both parts: germ and bran) may be the best choice. Or, you can have fun with sprinkling wheat germ and/or wheat bran into your favorite dishes to increase health benefits.
All is well, all the best!