If a recipe is calling for wheat flakes, and you’re not exactly sure what they are, you have every right to be confused. A quick Google search will likely yield very mixed results.
On one hand, you’ll see round, dime-sized, crunchy flakes that look similar to corn flakes. On the other, you’ll see small flakes that look similar to oats. So, which are the real wheat flakes?
The real wheat flakes are the small flakes that look similar to oats! The other stuff is just a modified, processed version.
Still curious about wheat flakes? We’ve got you covered. In this article, you’ll learn all about what they are, where they come from, and the nutritional differences between wheat flakes and rolled oats. You’ll also learn some likely health benefits of daily consumption and how to increase your intake by breakfasting with Muesli.
what are wheat flakes?
Wheat flakes come from wheat berries that have been steamed and rolled – just like rolled oats. The primary difference between rolled oats and wheat flakes is that they come from different kinds of seeds.
Rolled oats come from oat groats (oat seeds) of the Avena Sativa plant. Wheat flakes come from wheat berries (wheat seeds) of the wheat plant.
Because oat groats and wheat berries look alike, rolled oats and wheat flakes also look rather similar.
differences between wheat flakes and rolled oats
Despite their similar appearance, there are quite a few differences between the two grains in terms of both taste and nutritional benefit.
Compared to rolled oats, wheat flakes have a firmer texture and a more pronounced flavor. Some people describe them as having an “earthier” flavor than rolled oats.
Another primary difference has to do with their gluten content. While gluten is present in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale, it’s not naturally present in oats, so oats are usually a safe bet for people with gluten sensitivity or intolerance.
That said, because contamination can occur while farming, people with gluten intolerance should still look for oats that are labeled as gluten-free.
In terms of nutrition, wheat flakes are slightly less caloric (per gram) and contain about 15% more fiber than rolled oats. They also contain slightly less protein than rolled oats and about one/third of the fat.
differences in vitamins and minerals
In terms of vitamins and minerals, there are quite a few key differences. Most notably, rolled oats are a much better source of Thiamin and Phosphorus. Wheat, on the other hand, offers more Niacin, Vitamin B6, and Selenium than rolled oats. Both wheat and oats are very high in Manganese.
In general, wheat is high in Manganese, Selenium, Niacin, Thiamin, Magnesium, and Zinc.
At this point, you might be wondering what all of this means in terms of health benefits. What do Manganese, Selenium, Folate, Niacin, Thiamin, Magnesium, and Zinc do for the body? Let’s talk about the health benefits of wheat flakes.
health benefits of wheat flakes
fiber in wheat flakes
One of the greatest benefits of wheat flakes is that they’re a great source of fiber. Just 100 g (339 calories) provides the body with 50% of its daily needs.
A high-fiber diet is beneficial for digestion, maintenance of a healthy weight, and blood sugar stabilization. It can also help to reduce constipation and may even help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
manganese in wheat flakes
Manganese is a trace mineral, meaning the body only needs small amounts. It’s required for the normal functioning of the brain, nervous system, and many of the body’s enzyme systems.
Research shows that manganese may also help improve bone health, reduce inflammation, stabilize blood sugar, lower incidences of eplieptic seizures, and more.
About 100 gram of wheat provides the body with over 170% of its daily need for manganese. That means less than 60 grams of wheat flakes is all you need to fulfil your daily requirement.
selenium in wheat flakes
Selenium is another trace mineral that is required for metabolism and thyroid function. Recent research shows that it may also act as a powerful antioxidant, reduce risk of certain types of cancer (including breast, lung, colon, and prostate cancers), protect against heart disease, prevent mental decline, and more.
Only 78 grams (265 calories) of wheat provides the body with about 100% of its daily selenium needs.
niacin in wheat flakes
Niacin (also known as vitamin B-3) is an important nutrient that every part of the body needs in order to function properly. It plays a particularly important role in lowering LDL cholesterol (the bad kind), increases HDL cholesterol (the good kind), lowering triglycerides, helping to prevent heart disease, boosting brain function, improving skin function, and more.
The body needs about 16 mg per day, and 100 grams of wheat flakes can provide about 5.5 grams (34% of the body’s daily needs).
thiamin in wheat flakes
Thiamine (also known as thiamine and vitamin B-1) plays an significant role in helping the body convert carbohydrates to energy. In fact, it’s absolutely essential for glucose metabolism. Thiamin also plays a key role in nerve, muscle, and heart function.
The body only needs about 1.2 mg per day. You can get 0.383 grams of Vitamin B-1 from just 100 grams of wheat. That’s about one-third of the daily requirement.
magnesium in wheat flakes
As the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, Magnesium plays several important roles for your health. Specifically, it can help improve exercise performance, reduce depression, protect against type 2 Diabetes, lower blood pressure, and reduce inflammation. Research shows that magnesium may even help reduce symptoms of PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) and that it may also improve sleep. It’s really a powerhouse mineral.
Fortunately, wheat is a great source of magnesium. 100 grams can provide about 30% of your daily magnesium needs.
Based on everything we’ve discussed, it’s safe to say that wheat flakes are great for the brain, the heart, digestion, immune function, and sports performance! That’s why they’re the perfect addition to brain Muesli, heart Muesli, and sport Muesli.
how to eat wheat flakes
If you want to reap the many nutritional benefits of wheat flakes, you’ll have to add them to your diet! So, what’s the best way to eat them?
One of the most common ways to eat wheat flakes is the same way you would eat oatmeal. Heat them on a stovetop in milk or water for 5 to 8 minutes. Then, add some tasting toppings with yogurt and fruit.
Wheat flakes are a bit less “gooey” than oatmeal, so if you’d prefer a less “gooey” version of your favorite breakfast, they’re the perfect solution.
It could also be a good idea to add wheat flakes to your diet by substituting rolled oats for wheat flakes in various recipes. Of course, this might slightly alter the taste and texture of the finished product, but if you’re feeling adventurous and creative, it could be a fantastic idea. Who knows? You might discover that they take your old recipes to a whole new level.
Probably the best way to increase your intake of wheat flakes is by finding a Muesli that contains them! Breakfasting with Muesli is an easy, tasty, and fun way to increase your wheat flake intake each and every day.