Adding more wheat to your diet can be a good idea, but that doesn’t have to mean crowding your meal plan with bread or pasta. Wheat germ, the inner part of a wheat grain kernel, and bulgur, ground and parboiled whole wheat particles, offer a nutty flavor, a good texture and many nutritional benefits.
Calories and Fat
Wheat germ and bulgur wheat are similar in calories: 207 calories versus 239 calories per 1/2-cup serving, respectively. These foods differ greatly in fat content, however. One serving of wheat germ contains 5.6 g of fat, most of which is polyunsaturated fat, while a serving of bulgur wheat provides less than 1 g of fat. Like wheat germ, the fat in bulgur wheat is primarily polyunsaturated fat.
Carbohydrates and Fiber
Bulgur wheat contains significantly more carbohydrates than wheat germ. A 1/2-cup serving of bulgur has 53.1 g of carbs; the same size portion of wheat germ has 29.8 grams. Your meal plan requires 225 g to 325 g per day; you can boost carb intake when you eat these foods by adding vegetables that contain carbohydrates such as corn, potatoes, beets and carrots. Both wheat germ and bulgur are good sources of fiber, containing 7.6 g and 12.8 g per serving, respectively. You should consume 22 g to 34 g of fiber each day.
Eating wheat germ or bulgur provides a good source of vegetarian protein. One serving of wheat germ has 13.3 g of protein, while a serving of bulgur contains 8.6 g. If you are a vegetarian, increase the amount of protein you take in by adding beans or nuts to these foods; meat eaters can add poultry or seafood. You should consume 50 g to 175 g of protein daily.
A serving of wheat germ contains 7.6 mg of manganese; a serving of bulgur has 2.1 mg of this mineral. You require 1.8 mg to 2.3 mg of manganese in your diet each day to keep your brain and nerves healthy, so eating either grain product is a good choice to satisfy your daily manganese requirements.
Include bulgur or wheat germ in your diet to boost thiamin intake. Wheat germ contains 1 mg of thiamin per serving, compared to the 0.2 mg in a serving of bulgur. Neither quantity seems very large, but your body only requires 1.1 mg to 1.2 mg per day. Eating wheat germ is the better choice if you consume a diet relatively low in thiamin, but both provide this vitamin.
Vitamin B-6 provides benefits for your nerves, and you take in 0.7 mg of it in a serving of wheat germ and 0.2 mg in bulgur. Consume 1.3 mg of vitamin B-6 each day. In addition to its influence on nerve health, it helps your body absorb vitamin B-12.