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Jan de Vries: Wheat germ offers so many benefits to our well-being

Wheat germ - those tiny yellow flakes - is far too little valued and used. If people only realised how wonderfully nourishing and curative these flakes are they would serve them every day, including in their breakfast muesli.

Girls and young women would eat more wheat germ if they appreciated its marvellous properties.

It contains a first-class protein and much oil. More important, however, are the phosphates, which play a vital role in keeping our nervous system healthy. Still more important than phosphates is the high content of vitamin E in wheat germ.

It is not for nothing that vitamin E is also called the fertility vitamin, since it plays a considerable part in the development and function of the reproductive organs. But the ovaries and testicles are more than just reproductive organs, they actually discharge their secretions into the bloodstream and therefore belong to the category of organs known as the endocrine glands. Vitamin E is of great importance for the correct functioning of these glands and thus for the entire metabolism.

Provided there is no physical disability, vitamin E often acts as an aid to conception when a woman eats foods rich in this vitamin. Every 100g (4 oz) of wheat germ contain as much as 30 mg of pure vitamin E. Wheat germ is one of the best remedies that can be recommended to help overcome a tendency to premature birth.

If pregnant women were to eat sufficient wheat germ or take wheat germ oil capsules, the painful experience of miscarriage could often be prevented.

Girls and women who become obese because of ovarian insufficiency should take herbal sitz baths and eat plenty of wheat germ, as this will stimulate the ovaries, increase the metabolic rate of the body and so dispose of undesirable fat. They should also take the seaweed preparation Kelpasan for even faster results.

Lack of vigour and stamina, tiredness because of overwork and neurasthenic conditions call for foods rich in vitamin E. Anyone suffering from impotence should take a long-term course of wheat germ or wheat germ oil capsules. Other sources of vitamin E are lettuce, watercress and soybeans.

Among other things, wheatgerm will ensure that our children's most important glands will develop properly. Plus, it has a delicious taste, not only when sprinkled over muesli and in soups, but also on bread and honey - much healthier than sugary buns from the bakery.

Wheat germ as a concentrated food is an absolute necessity in our modern world, where so much low-value, denatured food is eaten, causing an increasing prevalence of deficiency diseases. People living in areas relatively untouched by modern development and those of us who live on natural wholefoods, generally speaking may not need to take concentrated food such as wheat germ on a regular basis. If you make it a habit to eat whole grains and other wholefoods, you will obtain the essential substances in the right proportion. In wheat germ they are in a concentrated form.

Slice a wheat grain lengthways - the white inside is mainly made up of starch. White flour comes from this part. The yellowish germ is located at one end of the kernel. Years ago the wheat germ was not fully used because no one ever knew about its great value as a source of vitamin E. The outer protective cover, which, being pure cellulose, is indigestible. This roughage should not be eaten if one suffers from gastritis and stomach ulcers - it is so sharp edged that it would actually irritate and inflame an already damaged stomach lining. In the case of ulcers it may even trigger pain and light bleeding.

A number of valuable minerals are found in the layers between the starch and the outer cellulose sheath. These layers contain vitamins of the B complex, gluten and amino acids essential for the building up of body protein. It is these important parts of the wheat kernel that are usually fed to cattle, the bran together with its roughage or cellulose and germ. It is quite an achievement that modern machines are able to separate the valuable layers without including the indigestible cellulose, so that we can actually obtain the important elements of the grain and include them in our diet. Wheat germ oil is available in capsule form.

Health problems? Jan answers your questions

Could you tell me the best remedy to help with flatulence and bloating?

For a problem with acute flatulence and bloating I would recommend the remedy Iberogast at a dose of 20 drops, three times a day with warm water. Take it before or during meals and shake bottle before use.

Iberogast is named for the fresh herb Iberis amara (clown's mustard plant) and combines Iberis amara with eight other herbs that provide synergistic advantages for the entire intestinal tract and digestive system.

My husband has ulcerative colitis, which is affecting him badly. He is passing blood, losing his appetite and he is always sleepy and tired. What can you suggest he take?

For the ulcerative colitis I would suggest your husband avoid tap water, salt, sugar, spices, alcohol, pork products, citrus fruits, sweets, chocolates, white sugar and flour, and butter, as well as nicotine. Minerals such as iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc are greatly needed so he should take a good multivitamin and mineral supplement. His diet should contain soya, brown rice, millet, sesame seeds and sprouted seeds. I would also suggest he take 15 drops of Centaurium in a little water before meals. This should be sipped and held in the mouth before swallowing. He should also take one tablet of Enzymes, twice a day, and 10 drops of Bowel Essence can be taken twice daily in acute cases.

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