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That 70's Food! Wheat Germ, Not Just a Taste of the Past

Feathered hair. Macrame. Charlie’s Angels. Wheat germ.

These are my memories of the 1970′s.

I can still see myself now, walking around the natural food store with my mom (the woman with feathered hair wearing—yes, wearing—macrame) as she stocked up on natural peanut butter, bread that I was sure would break my teeth and wheat germ. It’s enough to keep anyone away from the stuff.

But, though it may need a make-over, I’ve come to realize that wheat germ isn’t just a health food trend of the past. This is some seriously good-for-you stuff that’s easy to include in every family’s diet. And well worth it, too.

Wheat germ is the embryo of the wheat grain. That means that it germinates (hence the name) to form wheat grass. When wheat is processed to make white flour, the germ is removed. In fact, it’s considered waste, a shame given that it’s the most nutritious part of the entire wheat kernel.

Wheat germ contains an astounding 23 nutrients—–that’s more per ounce than any other vegetable or grain! It is also very high in protein, fiber, an excellent source of folic acid, and contains Omega-3 fatty acids and a phytonutrient called L-ergothioneine, a powerful antioxidant that withstands cooking temperatures. (And, for all you glam mamas, wheat germ is a top vitamin E food to help give you glowing skin!)

You can find wheat germ in most supermarkets and natural food stores raw or toasted, sold in jars or in bulk. It’s super versatile, with a mild, nutty flavor that’s easy to add to everything from baked goods to yogurt to meatballs to breading. In fact, you can substitute wheat germ for bread crumbs (or mix the two together) in almost any recipe.

Get the recipe for my easy wheat germ-friendly breakfast, Banana Pecan Oatmeal, and read more about the health benefits of wheat germ, how to store and how to substitute for flour in baking.

And, tell us, what’s your favorite way to use wheat germ?

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