Wheat Germ oil might be one of the more obscure health-boosting oils, but obscurity does not mean it is uncommon. This is a fat soluble natural oil derived from the germ of the wheat kernel and may be light yellow in color. Wheat germ oil also contains nearly 25% of the good stuff found in the wheat grain (vitamins, minerals, and proteins) and has several uses for topical and internal application.
Why Wheat Germ is so Important
The germ of the wheat (from where this oil is extracted) can be thought of as the ‘embryo’ of the wheat plant; meaning that this part is meant to nourish the entire wheat plant. During the bread making process, wheat germ is often removed along with the kernel when the grain is ground to white flour. The oil spoils quickly, so it is easier for bread manufacturers to remove it before it goes bad. The bread we buy does not always contain the ‘good stuff’ from the wheat germ, especially if you are buying white bread. As such, the many health benefits of wheat germ cannot enjoyed through wheat-based foods, but through the oil itself.
Why Use Wheat Germ Oil?
This oil can be used externally and, barring any gluten allergies or intolerances, can be used safely by most people. Wheat Germ oil can also be used internally and be taken by itself like any other supplement, or it can be used in cooking. Some people may add it to pasta, or use it as an alternative to flax seed or vegetable oil. In addition, wheat germ oil is very affordable and can be purchased online as it is quite difficult to find in stores. Because of the odor that wheat germ oil naturally has, some people mix it with scented oils for external use.
Wheat germ oil contains several fatty acids, including:
- Oleic acid
- Palmitic acids
- Linoleic acid
- Stearic fatty acids
All of these are essential fatty acids, and the body uses them for a variety of means. However, linoleic acid is one of the most vital as body cannot synthesize on its own, so consuming wheat germ oil makes up for this loss.
Wheat Germ Oil Benefits
Wheat germ oil is thought to help with a number of skin conditions, including
- Eczema and other skin irritations
- Damage from sunburn
When applied externally, wheat germ oil is thought to improve blood circulation to the skin and to the hair, and this can be helpful even for people with something as mild as dry or itchy skin. This might be due to he high vitamin E content of wheat germ. More than this, vitamin E is thought to act as an antioxidant and may even keep the oil from spoiling by enhancing shelf life.
Wheat germ oil is also a great carrier oil, making it perfect as a base oil for a shaving oil or sleep inducing blend.
Wheat Germ oil also contains several unsaturated fats which are known to benefit the body in a number of ways. These include:
- Improved cardiovascular function
- Raises HDL (‘good’ cholesterol) levels
- Reduction of blood glucose levels
Because of the fatty acids found in wheat germ, especially linoleic acid, it is also thought to help prevent atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.
Wheat Germ Oil Side Effects
Wheat germ oil does not seem to produce any side effects, but always use a patch test if you suspect you’re sensitive to a particular oil.