Wheat germ oil comes from the kernel of the wheat plant. Like other liquid oils, wheat germ oil contains 120 calories per tablespoon. It also contains 13.6 grams of fat, of which only 2.5 grams are saturated. The remainder of the fats are unsaturated fats, which support heart health. Unlike some other liquid oils, wheat germ oil is an excellent source of vitamin E. All that vitamin E can stave off chronic health problems, too.
Vitamin E in Wheat Germ Oil
One tablespoon of wheat germ oil supplies 20 milligrams of vitamin E. That's more than 100 percent of the 15 milligrams of vitamin E that healthy adults should get as part of their daily diet. One teaspoon of wheat germ oil supplies 6.7 milligrams of vitamin E, which is almost half of what you need in a day.
Functions of Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it is absorbed when consumed with some fat. The fact that wheat germ oil already contains fat makes it a useful food for ensuring that you get adequate amounts of vitamin E. This nutrient also acts as an antioxidant, which means it hones in on free radicals and destroys them before they can cause damage. Free radicals form when you're exposed to pollution, contaminants and cigarette smoke. They also form as part of the aging process. Free radicals can increase your risk of developing heart disease and certain types of cancer, so vitamin E is a good line of defense against these health problems. Vitamin E also helps your body use vitamin K, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Vitamin K is a nutrient that's essential for proper blood clotting.
Additional Health Benefits
Consuming plenty of vitamin E as part of a healthy diet might reduce your risk of certain types of cancer. According to an animal study by researchers from Rutgers University that was published in a 2012 issue of "Cancer Prevention Research," certain compounds in vitamin E, called gamma-tocopherols and delta-tocopherols, offer a preventative benefit when it comes to the formation of cancerous cells. Taking huge doses doesn't offer the same benefit, Ohio State University researchers report, because the human body doesn't absorb large amounts at one time. This suggests that it would be more beneficial to get appropriate amounts from the daily diet.
Vitamin E might also help reduce the risk of heart disease. The Linus Pauling Institute notes that vitamin E can help prevent the formation of atherosclerotic plaque, which increases the risk of heart attack. It might also be useful for preventing blood clots that could cause a heart attack.
Tips and Considerations
Use wheat germ oil in place of your usual olive or canola oil when you make homemade salad dressings to get a hefty dose of vitamin E. The flavor of the wheat germ oil goes well with vegetables. You may also drizzle wheat germ oil into cooked pasta or stir a small amount into steamed vegetables. Don't heat wheat germ oil, however, because its beneficial properties tend to break down at high temperatures. Store wheat germ oil in a cool, dark place or in the refrigerator to prevent it from going rancid quickly. If you have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease, don't use wheat germ oil, because it does contain gluten.