By sprinkling a little wheat germ powder over your child’s food, you can leapfrog his nutritional levels like nothing else can. Wheat germ, the most nutritious part of wheat grain, contains all the necessary nutrients that help a child’s physical and mental development. Vitamins, fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids and complex carbs make this food source a powerhouse of nutrition for your little one.
Adding wheat germ to your child’s diet is one of the most effortless ways to give a real nutritional boost to your little one. This inexpensive and highly abundant food source is a true power house of nutrients required by our body for optimal health. It can be incorporated easily into your child’s diet. You can add it to fruit and veggie purees and yogurt. Although available in a small package, wheat germ surely packs whollop of a nutritional punch for babies and toddlers alike.
About Wheat Germ
Wheat germ is the most nutritious part of a wheat grain. It has a subtle taste and blends aptly with sweet and savory dishes. As a matter of fact, wheat germ is hardly noticeable when combined with other foods thus making it ideal for picky babies.
A whole wheat grain contains four parts, namely:
- The outer layer, called husk
- Nutritious, high fiber part of the grain, called the bran
- The main part of the grain that is used in processed grain foods, called the endosperm
- The smallest part, yet one of with the highest nutritional value, called the germ
Luckily, wheat germ is gaining high popularity these days and also appears on the shelves of many supermarkets. It is generally sold in two forms – fresh and toasted. Although fresh is best, it is hard to find. Fresh wheat germ needs to be refrigerated as soon as you buy it. However, toasted wheat germ needs refrigeration only once it has been opened.
Well, refrigeration is important for wheat germ because it contains fat and will spoil very quickly at room temperature. Therefore, refrigeration is important to keep it fresh. However, make sure to put opened wheat germ in an air tight container before refrigeration.
When can I give Wheat Germ to my baby?
Wheat germ contains gluten. Therefore, many experts suggest that it should not be introduced to the baby before six months of age. Also, it is important to check with the doctor before introducing any food containing gluten or wheat.
Wheat Germ Health Benefits
If you ask any dietician or nutrition expert, you will undoubtedly receive a glowing indictment on the various amazing benefits of wheat germ. Surprisingly, wheat germ contains many essential vitamins and minerals required to maintain a healthy body – no matter how small.
The numerous health benefits provided by wheat germ are listed below:
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: The concentrated oil or fat, contained in wheat germ is made mostly of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty essential fatty acids. They are considered essential because the body is unable to make them on its own and relies on food intake for its source. Wheat germ is packed with omega-3 fatty acids. Furthermore, wheat germ comes from a cheap, sustainable plant. The essential fatty acids are important for healthy functioning of nervous system.
Vitamin E: The oil extracted from wheat germ is loaded with vitamin E and essential fatty acids. Vitamin E is crucial for healthy development of nervous system. Furthermore, it also provides healthy muscle function and a healthy reproductive system.
B Vitamins: B vitamins are categorized as water soluble for they dissolve well in water. Being water soluble implies that these vitamins cannot be stored in large quantities by the body. Any excess amount is flushed away through urine. And, deficiency of this important vitamin can cause many diseases in children. It is, therefore, important to provide sufficient B vitamins to your child.
Wheat germ contaions almost every B vitamin required by the body, including vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B6, vitamin B3 (niacin), folate and pantothenic acid.
Besides supporting healthy functioning of the body, the B vitamins also boost metabolism, increasing the energy levels, and production of red blood cells.
Minerals: Minerals are vital for healthy growth and development of body. Wheat germ is an amazing source of minerals. As a matter of fact, our body needs 16 minerals for proper functioning. These are categorized as major minerals and trace minerals.
The major minerals are:
Trace minerals are:
Fiber: Wheat germ is packed with fiber which provides numerous health benefits like bowel function. This further prevents problems like constipation.
Protein: Protein is an essential nutrient that is present in the outer and inner membranes of every living cell. The tissues of muscle, hair, nails, and outer layer of skin are all made with protein. Besides, wheat germ also provides a healthy alternative to eating red meat and chicken for protein content. Adding further, it is also loaded with other health promoting nutrients.
Complex Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are an essential part of the diet for they provide fuel to the body and brain. Simple carbohydrates are the ones that are stripped of their nutrients through the manufacturing process. This includes processed foods like flour and white bread. Conversely, complex carbohydrates are the ones that retain their nutrients and are also good providers of fiber. Also, these are digested slowly by the body. Wheat germ is a rich source of complex carbohydrates.
Nutrition Facts Table
Serving Size: 1-2/3 tbsp (14grams)
|Amount per Serving
|Calories – 52
Calories from Fat – 10
|% Daily Value
|Total Fat 1.09 gms
|Saturated Fat 0.19 gms
|Cholesterol 0 mg
|Sodium 1.54 mg
|Potassium 134.96 mg
|Total Carbohydrate 8.14 gms
|Dietary Fiber 1.43 gms
|Sugars 3.48 gms
|Protein 3.72 gms
|Vitamin A 0 IU
|Vitamin C 0 mg
|Calcium 7 mg
|Iron 1.13 mg
Side Effects and Precautionary Measures
Wheat germ is beneficial to loosen the baby’s stools in case of constipation. However, giving in excessive quantity can be a cause for diarrhea. Therefore, make sure to only sprinkle it over your baby’s food. Also, avoid it completely if your baby has diarrhea.
Most importantly, it is always wise to consult your pediatrician before introducing any new food to your baby. More specifically, make sure to discuss the foods that might pose risk of allergic reactions for your baby.