Wheat is a staple food that has been grown around the world for millennia. You can find wheat flour in everything from bread to pasta to cereal and muffins. More recently, however, it seems like wheat may get a bad rap due to the rise in gluten intolerance and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Wheat germ against it? That could be nominated for the new president of the health class.
Let’s see what science has to say about the many potential health benefits of wheat germ.
Although the term “germ” usually refers to something we want to avoid, that type of germ is on the good side.
Along with endosperm and bran, wheat germ is one of the three edible components of wheat. The germ is like a tiny, tiny wheat embryo in the middle of the grain. It plays a role in the reproduction and production of new wheat.
Although the sprout is filled with nutrients, the downside is that it is removed from most processed wheat varieties. Refined wheat products, such as those containing white flour, have the wheat germ and peel removed to give the products a longer shelf life. Fortunately, you can find the germ in whole grain wheat.
Wheat germ comes in many forms, such as: B. as extracted oil, raw and roasted, and there are tons that you can make with them.
Since wheat germ has many nutritious components and is a natural source of essential amino and fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, phytosterols and tocopherols, adding it to cereals, muesli and baked goods will improve their nutritional profile.
Aside from its rich nutrients, wheat germ could offer a number of health benefits, according to recent studies. Here’s what we know so far.
1. It has shown some cancer-fighting potential
A 2019 study suggests that wheat germ has powerful antioxidant properties. The researchers tested wheat germ against A549 cells, which are often used as a model for lung cancer. They found that wheat germ reduced cell viability in a concentration-dependent manner.
In other words, the higher the concentration of wheat germ, the more effective they were in killing cancer cells.
Remember, this is a study on cells, not humans, but it is encouraging direction for further research.
2. It can relieve menopause symptoms
Menopause typically occurs in women between the ages of 45 and 55 as their menstrual cycles change and eventually end. It comes with symptoms like hot flashes, loss of bladder control, trouble sleeping, and mood swings.
Wheat germ could potentially benefit people with menopausal symptoms, a small study of 96 women from 2021 shows.
The researchers examined the effects of a rusk containing wheat germ on menopausal symptoms. It appears that the rusks improved certain menopausal factors, including waist size, hormone profile, and symptom ratings on a self-reported questionnaire.
However, the rusks contained several ingredients so we cannot say whether these results are entirely due to wheat germ.
3. It could be a mental health booster
Wheat germ can potentially improve your mental health. A 2021 study of 75 participants with type 2 diabetes looked at the effects of wheat germ on mental health. Participants received either 20 grams of wheat germ or a placebo for 12 weeks.
The researchers asked everyone to complete a questionnaire about depression and anxiety at the beginning and end of the study. They found that eating wheat germ significantly reduced depression and stress compared to the placebo.
Further research would help identify what aspect of wheat germ causes these effects and how it works in the general population, not just in people with type 2 diabetes.
4. There are strong signals to support the immune system
Your white blood cells play an essential role in your immune system, where they fight off nasty germs and diseases. Some superstar white blood cells are B lymphocytes (B cells), T lymphocytes (T cells), and monocytes.
A 2021 study on mice found that wheat germ had a positive effect on these white blood cells. The researchers observed that wheat germ can increase levels of activated T cells and monocytes, which helps the immune system function more effectively.
Wheat germ also appears to promote some anti-inflammatory processes – another function of the immune system.
And as if that weren’t impressive enough, wheat germ seems to help the immune system make more baby B cells and raise them so they can fight off invading pathogens.
5. It appears to contain some powerful inhibitors of diabetes and heart disease
Living with diabetes can increase your LDL cholesterol (also known as “bad” cholesterol). Not only does this lower your HDL (“good”) cholesterol, it can lead to narrowed and blocked arteries – which often contribute to heart disease.
A 2019 study of 80 participants looked at the effects of wheat germ on metabolic control and oxidative stress in people with type 2 diabetes.
The researchers found that the people who consumed wheat germ had significant reductions in total cholesterol levels. In addition, those who ingested wheat germ experienced an increase in the overall concentration of antioxidant capacity.
Diabetes can also promote insulin resistance, which is associated with increasing body weight. And guess what? A 2017 study in mice found that supplementing with wheat germ reduced insulin resistance.
The mice also showed improved mitochondrial metabolic function, which holds promise for people with heart disease. Mitochondria are critical to fat metabolism, and when these cellular components don’t function properly, fat deposits and oxidative stress increase. Both factors contribute to heart problems.
So we’ve covered some of the promising benefits of raw wheat germ. But what about prepared wheat germ? Here is some early information on the benefits of cooked or extracted wheat germ.
Fermented wheat germ
So it seems fermented foods are good for you – kombucha, anyone? This could also apply to wheat germ.
A 2017 study looked at the effects of fermentation on wheat germ and found that the fermentation process increased free bioactive compounds called phenols and decreased bound phenols.
Free phenols can be extracted by a special solvent such as water, while bound phenols cannot be removed. So an increase in free phenols means you can ingest more phenols, thereby increasing their benefits.
Research also found that fermentation increased the antioxidant activity in wheat germ.
Roasted wheat germ
The main benefit of roasted wheat germ is a sweet and nutty taste that raw wheat germ just doesn’t have. But roasting the wheat germ changes its nutritional value slightly.
15 grams of raw wheat germ has 1 gram of total fat, while the same amount of roasted wheat germ has 1.5 grams of total fat. Additionally, the 141 milligrams of potassium found in raw wheat germ drops to 130 milligrams when toasted.
Finally, and quite surprisingly, when wheat germ is roasted, the sugar content drops from 6.67 grams to 0 grams.
Wheat germ extract
Avemar is a fermented wheat germ extract that, similar to raw wheat germ, could potentially have significant benefits for people with cancer.
A 2018 cell study examined the anti-angiogenic effects of Avemar on cancer cells. Anti-angiogenic drugs or compounds prevent a tumor from making blood cells, causing it to starve.
The data from the study suggest that Avemar may have antiangiogenic effects on some cancer cells, including stomach cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and cervical cancer.
Since unregulated angiogenesis can lead to other health conditions – such as diabetic retinopathy, inflammatory diseases, and rheumatoid arthritis – Avemar could potentially help with these conditions. However, more studies are needed to investigate this.
Another study looked at how Avemar could help improve the effectiveness of natural killer cells (NK) against osteosarcoma, a cancer that begins in the bones. NK cells can kill various cancer cells, but these sneaky bastards can sometimes escape.
A 2019 cell study found that Avemar-treated osteosarcoma cells are more susceptible to the effects of NK cells.
Avemar could also prevent cancer cells from migrating and affect their invasive abilities. It also appears that Avemar causes widespread cell death in lymphoid tumor cells, but does not damage healthy surrounding cells – an essential property for successful cancer treatment.
Since wheat germ contains gluten, it is best to avoid it if you have a gluten-related condition or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Even if this doesn’t apply to you, some peeps may experience mild side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting after consuming wheat germ.
You should also know that wheat germ has a relatively short shelf life. Why? Well, it contains a high concentration of unsaturated oil coupled with active enzymes. This means that its nutritional value is rapidly decreasing, which limits storage times.
So basically there is no grace period for the expiration date.
Wheat germ can offer a plethora of health benefits, including antioxidant and antiangiogenic properties that could fight cancer cells. It can also improve your mental health, lower insulin resistance, support your immune system, and relieve menopausal symptoms.
The jury has not yet decided whether wheat germ is safe for most pregnant or breastfeeding people. Organ and tissue transplant recipients should speak to their doctor before considering including wheat germ in their diet. Since wheat germ contains gluten, anyone who has gluten-related digestive problems should avoid it.
Guiding the way to thrive
Jan Juc naturopath Rebecca Winkler has always found joy in the practice of cooking nourishing meals for others.
That pastime spilled over into developing recipes and it was during lockdown that her culinary passion led her to become a qualified plant-based chef and a raw dessert chef.
Now the mum-of-two has expertly thrown all of her skills into the mix to achieve a long-held goal of producing a book.
Released as an eBook, with a print version to hopefully follow, 14 Day Whole Food Feast is a comprehensive two-week meal plan designed to nourish the body and delight the tastebuds.
Within its pages are recipes for whole food snacks, lunch and dinner meals, lunchbox ideas, and time-saving tips.
14 Day Whole Food Feast by Rebecca Winkler is available now as an eBook.
“My motivation was both personal and professional,” Rebecca says.
“On a professional note, I found so many patients were having difficulty finding family-friendly, whole food recipes to help them navigate various dietary needs.
“The recipes are easy to follow, a shopping list is provided and time frames are taken into account so slower cooked meals or more time-consuming recipes are saved for weekends.”
Rebecca says the eBook can function purely as a recipe resource or be followed meticulously for a 14-day reset.
“Food prep guidance is given at the start of each week in order to get ahead and be organized as possible.
The eBook includes lunch, dinner and snack ideas, as well as shopping lists and naturopathic advice.
“Dinners are often incorporated into leftovers for lunch the next day and naturopathic guidance is provided around ways to maximize your time by incorporating regular exercise and practicing self-care.”
The idea for the book began to brew in 2019 during a solo trip Rebecca took with colleagues which gave her the space to establish a clear vision for the content she wanted to share.
“I began developing and refining recipe, enlisting a beautiful photographer and graphics team to allow my dream to be realised.
“The long-term plan is to release a number of other eBooks and, eventually, print a hard copy, real-life book to be loved and to splash your chocolate and bolognaise sauce on. The kind of recipe book that you find yourself grabbing time and time again.”
The eBook is filled with nutritious recipes and much more.
So, what are some of Rebecca’s personal favorites featured in her carefully curated eBook?
“Ooh, that’s like trying to choose a favorite child,” she laughs.
“I know it might seem boring, but the slow-cooked bolognaise with hand-made gluten-free fettucine is an absolute favourite.
“We make it weekly in my house and every time my kids exclaim ‘this is the best bolognaise ever’.”
The slow cooked beef pie, kafir lime chicken balls and whole food cranberry bliss balls are also hard to pass up, she says.
Rebecca avoids listing ideal ingredients for people to incorporate into their diet, instead saying the most beneficial ingredients are those that make you feel at your best.
“Not everyone tolerates grains, some don’t tolerate fruit, others have difficulty digesting meat and protein.
“My advice is to listen and take note of how your body feels when you eat.
“Are you bloated, do you have pain in your gut, loose stools, headaches or fatigue?
Rebecca is a qualified naturopath, as well as being a plant-based chef and raw dessert chef.
“I am more inclined to advise people to source good quality ingredients, grow what they can, and cook from scratch as much as time and money allows.
“Eat three meals a day and snack only if you are hungry, growing, pregnant or exercising.
“Try to consume 30-35ml of water per kg of body weight. Add plenty of vegetables, fresh herbs, variety and colour.
“Our gut flora thrives on variety, so mix up your veggies, fruits, grain, legumes and proteins. Eat the rainbow.”
To get the most out of the eBook, the author suggests reading it from cover-to-cover and choosing a 14-day period where you are at home and have minimal social engagements.
Rebecca is passionate about naturopathy which she describes as a holistic, comprehensive view of the body in its entirety and “a wonderful adjunct to Western Medicine for patients as it ensures medical due diligence is exercised, adequate diagnostic testing where appropriate and an individualized approach to restoring health”.
Rebecca’s advice is to “eat the rainbow” when it comes to healthy food choices.
She says many of her clients are seeking ways to regain optimal health following extended periods of lockdown during the pandemic.
“There is no doubt that most of us found ourselves allowing more in alcohol and comfort foods over lockdown, which is nothing to feel ashamed about.
“In such a difficult, confining and overwhelming time, we sought comfort where ever it may lie for us.
“This is not a failure, it was merely a way for so many to cope. I never judge anyone’s choices, I merely try to support, understand and listen.
“Often we already know what we need to do to rebuild or move forward, simply sharing and being heard without shame or judgment is therapeutic.
“I cannot describe to you the genuine joy that seeing people thrive provides.”
14 Day Whole Food Feast retails for $19.95 and on the Rebecca Winkler website. Discover more and contact Rebecca via her Facebook page, Instagram @rebeccawinklernaturopath or email [email protected]
Get to know farro and other superfood whole grains
By Casey Barber, CNN
Quinoa has reached a level of superfood status not seen since the great kale takeover of the aughts. Equally embraced and mocked in pop culture, it’s become the symbol of the grain bowl generation. It’s not the only whole grain that’s worth bringing to the table, however.
The world of whole grains is wide, and if quinoa and brown rice have been the only grains on your plate, it’s time to expand your palate. Here’s an introduction to whole grains, along with tips for cooking and enjoying them.
What’s a whole grain?
The term “whole grains” encompasses all grains and seeds that are, well, whole. They retain all their edible parts: the fiber-rich outer bran layer; the carbohydrate-rich endosperm center, which makes up the bulk of the grain itself; and the inner core, or germ, which is packed with vitamins, protein and healthy fats.
On the other hand, refined grains such as white rice and all-purpose flour have been milled to remove the bran and germ, stripping away much of the fiber, protein and vitamins, and leaving only the starchy endosperm.
“A lot of people don’t realize that whole grains contain several grams of protein in addition to vitamins and antioxidants,” said Nikita Kapur, a registered dietitian nutritionist in New York City. With every serving of whole grains, “you get a ton of minerals, B vitamins and fiber, which is especially important for good health.”
So-called “ancient grains” fall under the umbrella of whole grains, though the phrase is more of a marketing term than a marker of a more nutritious option. Ancient grains refer to whole grains like millet, amaranth, kamut and, yes, quinoa that have been the staple foods of cultures for several hundred years. They are not hybridized or selectively bred varieties of grains, like most modern wheat, rice and corn.
And though quinoa has gotten all the press as a whole grain superfood, there’s good reason to try others. Trying a variety of whole grains isn’t just a way to mix up your same-old side dish routine. It’s also a chance to get a wider portfolio of minerals and more into your diet.
“Suffice to say, we need to have a more diverse plant-based diet” to get the full complement of recommended nutrients in our meals, Kapur said, “and we can’t get it from the same 10 or 20 foods.
“One grain might have more manganese, another more zinc or magnesium, and another more protein,” she added. “Try one as a pasta, one as a porridge — you do you, as long as there’s a variety.”
Familiar foods like oats, corn, brown and other colors of rice, as well as wild rice (which is an aquatic grass), are all considered whole grains, but there are many others you’ll want to add to your regular repertoire.
Some whole grains to get to know
amaranth is a tiny gluten-free grain that can be simmered until soft for a creamy polenta-like dish, but it also makes a deliciously crunchy addition to homemade energy bars or yogurt bowls when it’s been toasted. To toast amaranth seeds, cook over medium heat in a dry pan, shaking frequently until they begin to pop like minuscule popcorn kernels.
Buckwheat is gluten-free and botanically related to rhubarb, but these polygonal seeds (also called groats) don’t taste anything like fruit. You might already be familiar with buckwheat flour, used in pancakes and soba noodles, or Eastern European kasha, which is simply toasted buckwheat.
Faro is the overarching Italian name for three forms of ancient wheat: farro piccolo, or einkorn; farro medio, or emmer; and farro grande, or spelled. The farro you typically find at the store is the emmer variety, and it’s a rustic, pumped-up wheat berry that’s ideal as a grain bowl base. Or make an Italian-inspired creamy Parmesan farro risotto.
Freekeh is a wheat variety that’s harvested when unripe, then roasted for a surprisingly smoky, nutty flavor and chewy texture. Freekeh’s taste is distinctive enough that it steals the spotlight in your meals, so use it in ways that highlight its flavor. It’s fantastic in a vegetarian burrito bowl paired with spicy salsa, or in a warming chicken stew.
kamut is actually the trademarked brand name for an ancient type of wheat called Khorasan, which features large grains, a mild taste and tender texture. It’s a good, neutral substitute for brown rice in a pilaf or as a side dish. Or try this high-protein grain in a salad with bold flavors like arugula, blood orange and walnut.
millet is a gluten-free seed with a cooked texture similar to couscous. Teff is a small variety of millet that’s most frequently used as the flour base for Ethiopian injera flatbread. Try raw millet mixed into batters and doughs for a bit of crunch, like in this millet skillet cornbread recipe, or use either teff or millet cooked in a breakfast porridge.
How to cook any whole grain
While cooking times vary for each grain, there’s one way to cook any whole grain, whether it’s a tiny seed or a large, chewy kernel: Boil the grains like pasta.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a handful of kosher salt. Add the grains and cook, tasting as you go, until tender. Small grains like amaranth and quinoa can cook fully in five to 15 minutes, while larger grains like farro and wild rice can take anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour — so keep an eye on your pot and check it frequently.
Drain well in a mesh strainer (to catch all those small grains) and either use immediately or allow to cool slightly, then refrigerate for later meals. Cooked whole grains can also be portioned, frozen and stored in airtight bags for up to six months.
If you want to cook your whole grains in an Instant Pot or other multicooker, this chart offers grain-to-water ratios for many of the grains mentioned here.
The CNN Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.
Casey Barber is a food writer, illustrator and photographer; the author of “Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food” and “Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Brand-Name Treats”; and editor of the website Good. foods Stories.
Travel: A quaint county seat with Mayberry charm | Lifestyles – Travel
I finally ventured out for my first road trip of 2022 earlier this month. It’s been way too long since I took a little trip and it was long overdue. My last little getaway was in Chicago the week of Christmas. The day I returned I wasn’t feeling very well and an at-home test confirmed that I had COVID — again.
The first time was in November 2020 and it was a severe case that landed me in the hospital with pneumonia and difficulty breathing and then many months of recovery. Luckily this time around it just lasted a couple of weeks. At the same time I was pushing through COVID we were in the process of moving. And my Dad, who had tested positive for COVID not long before me, passed away. So, it’s been a heck of a start to 2022. A getaway was much needed.
It was a brief 24 hours in the Indianapolis area, but as always I packed a bit in and had a lot of good food. On our way down we stopped off in Rensselaer for lunch at Fenwick Farms Brewing Co. and took a little walk to check out the murals that are part of the Ren Art Walk. That evening I attended a media opening of the newly reopened Dinosphere exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
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It’s a place I adore and still enjoy visiting even though my kids are teenagers and young adults now. I love being greeted by the huge Bumblebee character on the way in from what is probably my favorite action move, “The Transformers.” The largest children’s museum in the world has so much to see and I’ve loved having the chance to explore it both with and without my kids.
After the event it was a quick overnight at Staybridge Suites in Plainfield, and in the morning we headed to Danville. Danville is the county seat of Hendricks County. I adore county seats with downtown squares and this is one of my favorites. On an earlier visit there we were in town for the Mayberry in the Midwest festival, which had lots of activities related to the classic TV show “The Andy Griffith Show” that was set in the fictional town of Mayberry.
Danville definitely has that charming, inviting, friendly small town vibe that feels like it could be a sitcom setting. We ate at the Mayberry Cafe where old episodes play on television screens and the menu is full of down-home, made-with-love comfort foods, with a specialty being “Aunt Bee’s Famous Fried Chicken.” I tried it and it was very tasty. The whole place made me smile like Opie after a fishing outing with his dad.
This time our dining destination was The Bread Basket. I had tried their desserts at a few events, but it was my first time dining in. It’s located in a house that was built for the president of Central Normal College in 1914 and is cute and cozy. It’s a breakfast and lunch spot, so plan to go early and be prepared for a wait during peak times (but it’s well worth it).
My Dilly Turkey Sandwich on fresh wheat nut bread with an Orchard Salad was delicious. I loved that they had a combo option where you could pick a half sandwich and half salad or cup of soup. But the desserts are the real star here. I stared at that dessert case for several minutes — and I wasn’t the only one.
I was seated next to it, and watched intently each time they removed a pie or cake from the case to cut a slice. I tried the Hummingbird Cake, which was a perfect treat without being too rich, and then noticed another that was so unique I had to get a slice to take home — the Blackberry Wine Chocolate Cake. If you go there and are overwhelmed with choices, go with this. You won’t regret it.
After lunch, we made our way over to the Hendricks County Historical Museum & Old County Jail, which is just off the square. For someone like me who loves history, this was a wonderful stop to incorporate into our day. It was built in 1866 and used as a jail all the way up until 1974. You can go into the old jail cells (two on the female side and four on the male side) and tour the sheriff’s home.
An exhibit has information and artifacts from when Central Normal College existed (later Canterbury College). There’s also a temporary chronological exhibit about music and musicians, featuring many Hoosier hitmakers.
After the visit, I took a breezy little walk around the square, where I was reminded that there is a nostalgic old movie theater. The historic Danville Royal Theater dates back to the early 1900s and shows current movies for just $5 a ticket.
It was then getting close to dinner time, so we decided to eat before we headed back home. A place in the nearby town of North Salem had been recommend to me and I am so glad we took time to visit. I chatted for a few minutes with Damiano Perillo, owner of Perillo’s Pizzeria. He’s a native of Palermo, the capital of Sicily. The food is authentic and almost all of it is made fresh daily, including their garlic rolls, marinara and alfredo sauces. The New York-style pizzas are perfection.
They even have a nearby garden where they grow many of the fresh vegetables and herbs used in their dishes. They have gluten free pastas, too, and the lady at the next table had some and was raving about it. We also tried the homemade Sicilian cannoli and the limoncello flute, and trust me when I say to definitely not skip dessert.
There was one last food stop. Although we had just eaten, I realized we’d be driving right by Rusted Silo Southern BBQ & Brewhouse in Lizton and just couldn’t pass it up. I made my husband pull in and pick up some food to go. We got the brisket and their house made pimento cheese, chorizo and kielbasa and took it home. I was introduced to it last fall and there is a reason they have been voted Best BBQ in the Indy area four years in a row. I loved hearing about how this eatery located next to a railroad literally stops trains in their tracks to get food from this award-winning BBQ joint.
All three of these places — The Bread Basket, Perillo’s Pizzeria and Rusted Silo are ones that you should absolutely include in your itinerary if you happen to be in the Indianapolis area.
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Guiding the way to thrive
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