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Wheat Germ & Protein

by
author image Andrea Cespedes
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.
Wheat Germ & Protein
Wheat germs. Photo Credit Olga Popova/iStock/Getty Images

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.

Significance

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.

Quality

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.

Additional Benefits

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.

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