If you are pregnant, you are likely looking for ways to increase the nutrient content of your diet. This is important, as the baby needs these vitamins and minerals to grow strong and healthy.
While supplementation is important, the best approach is to get these added nutrients is from real, natural food sources. Yet, eating enough quality food can be difficult, especially if you are having trouble with nausea!
The good news is, wheat germ and pregnancy have long been positively linked, and wheat germ provides many beneficial compounds which are necessary for a healthy body. To help you discover what it can offer to you and your baby, let’s examine this topic in more detail below.
A Little Background to Wheat Germ
At this point you may be wondering, “what is wheat germ?” It is actually the embryo of the wheat berry, and it is a rich source for many essential vitamins and minerals. Often, this portion of the kernel is removed when making bread, leaving it devoid of nutritional value. That is why many people choose to supplement directly with wheat germ instead.
What Can Wheat Germ Provide?
B vitamins are vital for health, and wheat germ contains nearly all of the B vitamins we need on a daily basis. These are critical for everyday cellular functions, and even more so when you are pregnant.
In fact folic acid, a B vitamin, is an important vitamin for women especially before and during pregnancy. Wheat germ provides good amounts of folic acid to help with this common problem.
Wheat germ also delivers a solid dose of calcium with every serving, which is important for proper bone formation. Getting enough of this vital mineral can be difficult during pregnancy, as the RDA is 1200 mg of calcium every day.
When discussing wheat germ and pregnancy a third nutrient is often mentioned – Magnesium. Magnesium is important for many processes in your body, and it works to calm your nerves. In fact, studies imply this vital mineral may even prevent your uterus from contracting prematurely. In addition, magnesium may help you to sleep, which can be a challenge in the later stages of pregnancy.
Magnesium further works to repair your body tissues, and a severe deficiency can cause several problems. These include preeclampsia, slow growth of your baby or even infant mortality. Yet, with proper supplementation, these issues are easily avoided.
Wheat germ and pregnancy are also positively linked, due to its varied and high mineral content of magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron, zinc and trace minerals selenium, copper and manganese.
Your body’s requirements for such minerals increase due to your pregnancy, so eating rich food sources containing these is important.
Essential Fatty Acids
Yet, besides beneficial vitamins and minerals, wheat germ boasts another vitally important compound. It contains high amounts of essential fatty acids (EFA’s), which are a wonderful substance for your body to use.
Omega-3 EFA’s are thought to be crucial for brain development and your baby’s nervous system. The body also uses EFA’s to help build the immune system, lower high cholesterol levels and improve the cardiovascular system. This nutrient is vital to include in your daily diet and especially whilst pregnant.
Essential Amino Acids
Wheat germ has healthy levels of essential amino acids, which are used in the formation of protein molecules. Your needs for these building blocks of life are higher when you are pregnant, as protein is essential for tissue formation.
In fact, the American College of Nurse-Midwives suggests that pregnant women consume 71 grams of whole protein very day (Coleman, 2010). This ensures that your baby has the nutrients which it needs for proper growth.
Many women testify that eating this much protein has a beneficial effect on their baby’s brain! While this is unsubstantiated, protein is essential for cellular formation, so it is highly probable that these accounts are not far wrong.
Wheat germ provides crucial vitamins and minerals, which are essential for your baby’s development. With the addition of its Omega-3 EFA’s and the essential amino acids, wheat germ is the perfect addition to any meal if you are currently pregnant.
Supporting Source: Coleman, Erin. “Amino Acid Supplements; Pregnancy.” LIVESTRONG.COM – Lose Weight; Get Fit with Diet, Nutrition; Fitness Tools. 8 Dec. 2010