Is Cream of Wheat Healthy? A Closer Look at Breakfast

Cream of Wheat is a staple for many. It’s loaded with a lot of essentials that promote a strong and healthy body. It also has the capacity to be far more than just a fancy bowl of grits. In what ways is Cream of Wheat healthy?

I grew up with Cream of Wheat, as did a lot of people. The product has been on the market for an exceptionally long time. Personally, I am quite partial to the Instant Maple Brown Sugar variation.

What’s more is that it doesn’t take much to add a few things to Cream of Wheat to give it more pep. For example, I like to throw in half-servings of mixed berries – which vastly increases the Cream of Wheat healthy factor.

What Makes Cream of Wheat Healthy?

Cream Of Wheat Additions
From Ally’s Kitchen

For this article, I am going to go by the label on the Maple Brown Sugar version of this breakfast. It’s only because I have the box right next to me. I think other types vary slightly, but all of them have the same bottom line in terms of nutrition.

This is based on making Cream of Wheat without milk. Adding a 1/2 cup of milk adds more nutritional value, but it also increases calories. Because I am watching total number of calories, I simply use water when making my breakfast.

These are all based on the suggested serving of a single packet of Instant Cream of Wheat.

Vitamin A: 30%

Vitamin A is an anti-oxidant which promotes a lot of function throughout the body. I boosts skin health, bone development and enhances the immune system. It contributes to hair maintenance as well.

Vitamin A also helps stave off various types of cancer as well as the loss of vision with age.1

Calcium: 25%

Calcium is most notable for its benefit to developing bones and teeth. In fact, the majority of the calcium in your body, about 99%, is taken up by your skeletal structure. When combined with vitamin A and D, all three contribute to staving off diseases such as osteoporosis.2

One of the caveats behind calcium, though, is that you need other vitamins to help absorb it into the system. For example, vitamin D assists in bringing calcium to bones. Without it, getting enough calcium really doesn’t matter much.3

Iron: 50%

One of the things that make Cream of Wheat healthy is the amount of iron in each serving. Most notably, iron is used in hemoglobin. This is the component in red blood cells which move oxygen to various parts of the body. 4

In addition, iron contributes to the health of skin, hair and your fingernails. But perhaps an important trait people don’t realize is how iron deficiency can lead to fatigue as not enough oxygen is being supplied to muscles and the brain.

Unfortunately, something like Cream of Wheat could exacerbate conditions such as hemochromatosis. This is when iron builds up in the body and may lead to damaging the liver and heart among a myriad of other problems. 5

Vitamin D: 25%

Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine” vitamin, guides calcium to bones as I mentioned earlier. It also impact the health of the brain, nervous system, lungs and cardiovascular system. This nutrient also helps regulate insulin levels, which is good for diabetics.

This “vitamin” is one that humans can created internally thanks to the power of sunlight. It’s also one reason I think humans are more photosynthetic that we realize. After all, we do share a lot of DNA markers with plants and trees. 6

Thiamin: 25%

Thiamin, or vitamin B1, aids in the maintenance of the nervous system, heart and brain. It’s found in a wide range of foods and is being looked at in the treatment of diseases such as Alzheimer’s. 7

Vitamin B1 is a possible treatment for several ailments including AIDS, diabetic pains, vision issues and much more. There is also evidence to suggest it can aid in the processing power of the brain, which is probably why it is used to treat Alzheimer’s disease. 8

Riboflavin: 20%

Among the B-complex vitamins is Riboflavin, or vitamin B2. Riboflavin does a lot for the body ranging from treating skin disorders to boosting energy levels. It’s widely found in many foods, much like other B-complex nutrients.

It’s among many that are flushed from our systems on a regular basis, so it’s easy to become deficient if you’re not paying attention. This is because the human body cannot store B-complex elements like it can with some of the other nutrients. 9

Niacin: 25%

Niacin, or vitamin B3, has the capacity to improve cholesterol levels and decrease cardiovascular risks. It’s also believed it can help with atherosclerosis and repeat heart attacks. 10

This nutrient is found in a range of energy and healthy products, usually because of its ability to promote stamina. Niacin is also good to improve blood flow, allowing oxygen and other nutrients to reach various destinations in the body quicker.

Vitamin B6: 20%

Another of the B-complex set, vitamin B6 contributes in the development of hemoglobin while boosting the functionality of the brain. 11

Like the other B vitamins, this one also contributes to producing energy in the body. It’s another nutrient found in many drinks and supplements to give you a “pep-me-up.” 12

Folic Acid: 25%

Lastly comes vitamin B9, or folic acid. This is another B-complex nutrient found in many sources ranging from veggies to meats. It’s used to aid in the digestion of foods while addressing issues such as anemia.

Some evidence supports how folic acid aids the immune system by acting as an anti-oxidant. It helps scrub the free radicals in your blood stream which have potential to cause various types of cancer.

It has potential for treating a myriad of other conditions such as autism, infertility and vision loss. 13

Is Cream of Wheat Good for Diabetics?

The vitamin D and B1 content of this food suggests it is helpful for diabetics. Between insulin regulation and pain treatment, there is potential to answer, “is Cream of Wheat healthy for diabetics?”

However, there are two prominent components of this cereal that may give you pause. They are: 28g of carbs with 13g of them being sugars. As experts suggest diabetic women consume fewer than 25g and men 37.5g at most, you may want to adjust your diet accordingly. 14

You can eat Cream of Wheat safely as a diabetic, as long as you take the number of carbohydrates into consideration for the rest of your meals that day. Besides, the addition of the vitamin D may help regulate how your body addresses those sugars.

Also bear in mind this is all centered around the Maple Brown Sugar type. The original recipe doesn’t have these numbers in terms of sugars and carbs.

Is Cream of Wheat Low Sodium?

When compared to other morning foods, Cream of Wheat is incredibly low in sodium. At least the instant version is. I know when you make the stove top cereal, the directions call for adding salt.

Even if I have two packets of this in the morning, I’ll still eat about 1/4 of the sodium I usually have at lunch.

So if you’re looking for a low-sodium breakfast that can kick-start your day, give Cream of Wheat a try.

What About the Carbohydrates?

Like I mentioned for diabetics, Cream of Wheat does have a few carbohydrates behind it. However, these are easily burned in the body if you’re active. In reality, the amount of carbs in this cereal is merely a fraction of what you should eat in a day according to a 2000 calorie diet.

Experts suggest you should have between 225 and 325g of carbs in a day, which is around 45% to 65% of your daily caloric intake. 15

In fact, the Maple Brown Sugar variation only provides 9% of your daily value. I know the plain version has fewer carbs and sugars…but I like the taste of Maple Brown Sugar.

Answering, “Is Cream of Wheat Healthy?”

Based on the numbers of vitamins, this among one of the healthiest breakfasts you can eat. It provides a lot of nutrients to strengthen everything from brain to the cardiovascular system.

While it probably won’t immediately cure what ails you, Cream of Wheat will still contribute greatly to maintain the body.

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Sources

  1. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-Consumer/
  2. https://www.nof.org/patients/treatment/calciumvitamin-d/
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/8-fast-facts-about-calcium#too-much-calcium
  4. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/features/iron-supplements#1
  5. https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/tc/hemochromatosis-topic-overview#1
  6. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/161618.php
  7. https://www.healthline.com/health/vitamin-watch-b1-thiamine#supplements
  8. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-965/thiamine-vitamin-b1
  9. https://www.livescience.com/51966-vitamin-b2-riboflavin.html
  10. https://www.webmd.com/diet/supplement-guide-niacin#1
  11. https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/benefits-of-vitamin-b6.aspx
  12. https://www.livescience.com/51920-vitamin-b6.html
  13. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1017/folic-acid
  14. https://www.livestrong.com/article/285774-grams-of-sugar-permitted-in-a-diabetic-diet/
  15. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318617.php

Michael Brockbank

Since 2015, Michael has put in the effort to lose more than 80 pounds by gamifying fitness and eating proper portion sizes. He conducts extensive research into various health and fitness products to provide the best answers possible according to his own experience and knowledge.

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