There is something special and wholesome about delicious breakfast porridge, and although it is not the flashiest choice for this meal, many people enjoy it to this day. It is tough to beat due to its smooth and thick texture, and Cream of Wheat is one of the popular brands that people opt for. But is Cream of Wheat healthy? Today we will discuss this subject and provide the answer to this question.
This food is commonly combined with milk or water and topped with various sweet or savory ingredients. In addition, it is a quick-to-prepare comfort food, which makes it highly popular among children and adults alike. However, its widespread availability may leave you asking yourself whether or not it is healthy. In this article, we will tackle this subject, so without further redo, let us get into it.
What Exactly Is the Cream of Wheat?
Cream of Wheat is a well-known brand of porridge that is commonly served for breakfast and prepared with enriched ground wheat kernels and milk. It has been in the United States since 1893 in a ready-to-prepare box form that is also known as farina.
Both children and adults love this food, but it does contain gluten, so make sure to exercise caution when consuming it, especially if you are gluten-sensitive. Cream of Wheat has a smooth texture and mild flavor, and when served with nonfat milk (almond, coconut, etc.), it can be very healthy.
How to Make It?
You make this meal by cooking milled wheat with some milk until you get a thick and creamy consistency. The original variation is sugar-free, but there are other flavor variations on the market that do contain it, so if you are on a diet that restricts sugar, make sure to read the ingredients section.
Is It Healthy?
Cream of Wheat can be a very healthy meal if you prepare it with nonfat milk. It is more than just a comfort food, as it is a great source of carbs, fiber, iron, and some B vitamins, which makes it a healthy addition to your diet. Now, we are going to break down all the health benefits this food brings to the table.
Cream of Wheat is packed with calcium carbonate, and one serving prepared with three tablespoons grants you 235 milligrams of calcium. When you add a cup of nonfat milk, you will get 316 milligrams on top of that, for a total of 551 milligrams.
This mineral is known for improving bone density and assisting with muscle contraction. It is recommended that men and women between the ages 19 and 50 should get 1.000 milligrams daily and that women over 50 should get 1.200 milligrams, so cream wheat can be a great way to do so consistently.
This food is rich in ferric phosphate, which is a great source of iron. This is something that drastically improves nutritional content, as it delivers 11 milligrams of iron per serving. Iron is an essential mineral in red blood cells, and it carries oxygen to all the cells in your body.
It is also important to mention that iron deficiency can lead to various health issues, including anemia. It is recommended for men between 19 and 50 years of age to consume 8 milligrams, and for women in the same age group, it is recommended to get 18 milligrams.
Cream of Wheat is enriched with B vitamins. These vitamins convert carbohydrates into glucose that fuels your body. As these vitamins are water-soluble, your body is not able to store them, but it does use them on a daily basis.
B vitamins are also very important for pregnant women as they need more folic acid in their diet to reduce the risk of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida and cleft palate.
Protein and Carbohydrate
This food is a great source of natural, whole-wheat carbohydrates. It is made of endosperm, the center of the kernel, which fuels the growing grain when planted. It is the largest part of the kernel that contains carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, and vitamins. One serving delivers 3.83 grams of protein and 24.15 grams of carbohydrates.
Potential Downsides of Cream of Wheat
Although there is a wide variety of health benefits that Cream of Wheat delivers, there are some potential downsides to it you should consider before implementing it in your regular diet program.
It Contains Gluten
Cream of Wheat is a type of farina, which is a name that refers to a cereal made from milled wheat. Needless to say, it contains gluten, which is a group of proteins you can find in cereal grains that provides dough with its signature elasticity.
Although many people tolerate gluten without any issues, people with celiac disease or a sensitivity to gluten may experience some side effects after eating Cream of Wheat. People with celiac disease are at risk of triggering an immune response, causing digestive issues like diarrhea, constipation, or belly pain.
On the other hand, people that are sensitive to gluten often experience symptoms such as bloating, nausea, fatigue, and brain fog, which is a condition characterized by an inability to focus.
It Is High in Sodium
According to various research from medical and nutrition experts, consumption of sodium on a daily basis should be limited to 2.300 milligrams for most healthy adults. Cream of Wheat is relatively high in sodium, containing around 590 milligrams per serving, which is over 25 percent of recommended daily intake.
Some varieties of Cream of Wheat contain less sodium but are prepared with salt, which evens it up and sometimes even increases the sodium content of the final product. In addition, some savory toppings such as cheese or nuts can increase the total amount of sodium per serving too.
Doctors and nutrition experts claim that decreasing the sodium intake in your diet can help reduce blood pressure levels, especially in people with high levels. It is also important to mention that consuming high amounts of sodium may be associated with an increased risk of stomach cancer.
Therefore, it is highly important to control your intake of Cream of Wheat, especially if you consume other foods that are high in sodium, to prevent any adverse health effects.
Delicious, creamy, and comforting, Cream of Wheat is a delicious choice for breakfast that delivers various health benefits and improves nutrition. However, it is a type of food that also comes with some potential health risks due to sodium and gluten in it.
Suppose you plan to consume this food every day. In that case, it is important to consult your nutritionist or healthcare provider, as they will be able to provide you with accurate information on whether or not you should consume it and, if so, how often to do it.
Steve is a certified trainer with more than 10 years of training experience and he holds a Master’s in Sports Science. Prior to Boston Rock Gym, Steve worked for two years as a personal trainer.