Wheat germ oil – a small germ full of vitamin E

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The golden germ of the wheat plant packs vitamins, minerals, good quality fatty acids and secondary plant substances into a tiny space and is rich in vitamin E and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Valuable wheat germ

Wheat germ oil is extracted from the wheat grain. More precisely, from the innermost part, the wheat germ. The function of a germ is to grow new life which is why it contains essential ingredients. Although it makes up only a fraction of the whole grain, its value lies in its range of outstanding properties. The effects of the golden germ can be won by pressing and processing it into oil.

Wheat germ oil with 5 superpowers

  1. Most valuable source of vitamin E
  2. Consists of 80% unsaturated essential fats
  3. Strengthens the immune system
  4. Has a positive impact on blood pressure and cholesterol
  5. Nourishes the skin from the inside
In industrial processing, germ buds are removed to extend flour’s shelf life. But valuable nutrients are lost in the process.
Roger Stieger

An oil as valuable as gold

To obtain 1 litre of wheat germ oil, a good 10 kilograms of wheat germ must be pressed. This requires several hundred kilograms of wheat grain, which is many times more compared to other oilseeds. As a result, the price is correspondingly high: 100 ml of wheat germ oil costs between 10 and 15 francs. However, to take advantage of the effect of this special oil, only very small quantities are needed and the oil is best mixed with other high-quality oils. It’s worth mixing high-quality vegetable oils. This benefits the body’s fatty acid pattern.

Effects of wheat germ oil

The oil obtained from the wheat germ has phenomenal properties and benefits the body in many ways. The substances mainly responsible for this are the polyunsaturated fats linoleic acid as omega-6, alpha-linolenic acid as omega-3, and vitamin E.

  • high 80% proportion of unsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids has a beneficial effect on blood cholesterol levels and helps maintain normal blood pressure.
  • reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and strokes.
  • strengthens the immune system, thereby helping to protect the body from viruses and bacteria.
  • has an antioxidant effect, thereby protecting cells from free radicals and the body from inflammation.
  • protects the skin from the inside.
  • strengthens the hair.

Omega-3 and 6 – the stars of polyunsaturated fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids in particular are responsible for the oil’s health-promoting effects. They have an impact on the body’s hormone production, detoxification, protein production and cell health. The valuable fatty acids help regulate blood pressure, cholesterol, blood clotting and blood flow through all the body's blood vessels. Omega-6 fatty acids sometimes suffer from disrepute: consuming too many is said to promote inflammation, constrict blood vessels and raise blood pressure. But there is also much talk about the positive effect they have on blood cholesterol. Even if researchers are still debating this – ultimately it's the quantity that counts.

It's all in the right mix

The important thing, therefore, is the ratio in which the types of fat contained in a food enter the body. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in wheat germ oil is about 5 to 1. This is precisely what makes the oil good for us because in a Western diet this ratio stands at 25 to 1 and higher. Diets rich in carbohydrates, processed products and added sugars are blamed for common diseases such as diabetes, among other things because of the fatty acids they contain.

Unsaturated fats are essential – meaning necessary for life. They cannot be produced by the body itself and must be ingested with food.

Vitamin E source

The most important property of vitamin E is its antioxidant effect. The body uses it to break down oxygen radicals into oxygen. The free radicals are extremely reactive and, with their ability to damage cells, are harmful to the body and its genetic material.

Vitamin E fulfils the following tasks in the body:
  • stabilises cell membranes
  • improves protein metabolism and the nervous system
  • inhibits the clumping of blood platelets
  • strengthens the immune system
  • has an anti-inflammatory effect

Depending on a person’s age and gender, a daily intake of 11 to 15 mg of vitamin E (tocopherol) is recommended. This can be achieved with as little as 10 ml of wheat germ oil a day.

Wheat germ oil in the beauty industry

Wheat germ oil is not only important in our diet, but also features prominently in cosmetics. The oil protects and moisturises the skin, makes it softer and more supple, and reduces the formation of wrinkles. Omega-3 fatty acids in particular help prevent the skin from becoming dry, flaky and inflamed.

Use of wheat germ oil

Because the oil mostly consists of polyunsaturated fats, it is very sensitive to heat and light. In order that valuable ingredients aren't lost, it is produced in a cold pressing process without exposure to oxygen and light. Wheat germ oil isn't suitable for frying, but is intended exclusively for dishes that don’t require cooking. It should be stored in a cool and dark place.

  • drizzled over dishes after cooking, in soups
  • smoothies/shakes
  • vegetable and fruit juices
  • added to salads, dips and dressings

Wheat germ oil nutritional table

Nutrient per 100 g per 10 g (recommendation) Proportion of the daily recommended intake (adults, 2000 kcal/day)
Energy 810 kcal 81 kcal 4%
Total fat 90 kcal 9 kcal 13 - 22%
Saturated 15.7 g 1.6 g 8%
Monounsaturated 12.6 g 1.3 g 3.5 - 6.5%
Polyunsaturated (omega-3 & 6) 55.5 g 5.6 g 9.5%
Vitamin E 123 mg 12.3 mg 100%

Recipe: Budwig muesli

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Budwig muesli with persimmon and berries.

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 2 tbsp. wheat germ oil
  • 30 g pecan nuts
  • 2 tbsp. milk 1.5% fat
  • 200 g skimmed quark
  • ½ tsp. vanilla powder
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 persimmon
  • 50 g mixed berries
  • 2 tbsp. ground flaxseed

Method

  1. Finely chop the pecan nuts, cut the persimmon into small pieces
  2. Mix the wheat germ oil, milk, skimmed quark, honey and vanilla powder well. The oil should mix completely with the quark.
  3. Decorate the quark cream with the freshly ground flaxseed, pieces of persimmon, berries and pecan nuts.

Sources:

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