Wheat germ is a tiny part of the entire wheat kernel. It is the part that is responsible for germination and the growth of wheat grass. Wheat germ contains dozens of nutrients, including protein. Use wheat germ in smoothies, sprinkled on cereal or yogurt or as a cereal on its own to help you boost your daily protein intake.
Protein is an essential macronutrient that you need to consume in relatively large quantities. It helps with cellular repair and growth and assists in the transport of vitamins and minerals throughout the body. Eating high-protein foods helps you get the recommended minimum 0.4 g of protein per pound of body weight recommended by the Institute of Medicine. Wheat germ is a source of protein that helps you fulfill your daily protein needs.
Amount in Wheat Germ
Wheat germ contains about 33 g of protein per cup, but you are unlikely to eat it in such large quantities. A more reasonable 1/4-cup serving provides 8 g of protein, 108 calories and 3 g of fat. Compare this to 1 cup of milk, which also contains 8 g of protein, with 80 calories and no fat; or 1 oz. of cooked chicken, with 9 g of protein, 48 calories and 1 g of fat.
Proteins are composed of amino acids, nine of which you cannot produce on your own. Most plant proteins are incomplete, meaning they are missing one or more of these essential amino acids. Wheat germ is not a complete protein, such as meat or eggs, but it is high quality when compared to many other plant sources. When you eat a variety of plant proteins daily, including wheat germ, you get all the amino acids you need for a healthy body. Wheat germ contains the branched-chain amino acids arginine and glutamine, which help with muscle growth and repair.
Wheat germ contains more than 4 g of fiber per 1/4 cup. Fiber helps regulate digestion and improves cholesterol levels. Wheat germ also provides vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, folate, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, selenium and zinc. Consider combining wheat germ with whey protein prior to a strength-training workout to increase your energy during your workout and the muscle-building results afterward.
- "Flex"; Myth Master; Fact or Fiction: Wheat Germ is a Dinosaur…; Jim Stoppani; April 2008
- USDA Nutrient Database: Cereals Ready-to-Eat, Wheat Germ, Toasted, Plain
- Institute of Medicine; Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids; September 2002
- MedlinePlus: Protein in Diet