Last Updated on May 22, 2023 by Michael Brockbank
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?
For this article, I am going to go by the label on the Maple Brown Sugar version of Cream of Wheat. 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 the total number of calories I eat, 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 antioxidant that promotes a lot of functions throughout the body. It 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.
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 vitamins A and D, all three contribute to staving off diseases such as osteoporosis.
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.
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 that moves oxygen to various parts of the body.
In addition, iron contributes to the health of skin, hair, and 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.
However, unless you’re diagnosed with hemochromatosis, it’s unlikely Cream of Wheat would do any serious damage.
Vitamin D: 25%
Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine” vitamin, guides calcium to bones as I mentioned earlier. It also impacts 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 create internally thanks to the power of sunlight. It’s also one reason I think humans are more photosynthetic than we realize.
After all, we do share a lot of DNA markers with plants and trees.
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.
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 as it can with some of the other nutrients.
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 prevent repeat heart attacks.
This nutrient is found in a range of energy and health 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 quickly.
Vitamin B6: 20%
Another of the B-complex set, vitamin B6 contributes in the development of hemoglobin while boosting the functionality of the brain.
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.”
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 antioxidant. It helps scrub the free radicals in your bloodstream which have the potential to cause various types of cancer.
It has the prospect of treating a myriad of other conditions such as autism, infertility, and vision loss.
Is Cream of Wheat Good for Diabetics?
The vitamin D and B1 content of Cream of Wheat suggest it is helpful for diabetics. Between insulin regulation and pain treatment, there is potential that diabetics can find comfort from eating Cream of Wheat.
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.
Also, keep in mind that I am using the Maple Brown Sugar version of Cream of Wheat in the above breakdown. The plain cereal itself has 0g of sugar unless you make it with milk.
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. Besides, the addition of vitamin D may help regulate how your body addresses those sugars.
You’ll probably want to consider including proteins and fats throughout the day.
Is Cream of Wheat Low in 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?
As 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.
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.
Improving the Health Value of Cream of Wheat with Additions
Like most other cereals, it doesn’t take a lot to improve the overall health value of Cream of Wheat. Something as simple as adding half of a cup of blueberries can greatly increase the levels of antioxidants and vitamins.
Not to mention turning your cereal purple.
In the plain version of Cream of Wheat, you can virtually add any kind of fruit. I’ve used strawberries, bananas, blueberries, and the berry mix from Costco to mine.
Just remember that adding anything to Cream of Wheat will increase the overall calorie and carb count. But considering how this cereal is already relatively low in both, it wouldn’t really impact most diets.
That is unless you’re tossing in miniature peanut butter cups, a stick of butter, or drenching it with maple syrup.
So, Is Cream of Wheat Healthy?
Based on the number of vitamins, Cream of Wheat is probably among one of the healthiest breakfasts you can eat. It provides a lot of nutrients to strengthen everything from the brain to the cardiovascular system.
While it probably won’t immediately cure what ails you, Cream of Wheat will still contribute greatly to maintaining the body.