Cream of Wheat is such a rich source of iron that it's recommended as an inexpensive way to boost low hemoglobin on the website of the Stanford School of Medicine's Blood Center. Even if your iron levels aren’t low, Cream of Wheat makes a warm, filling breakfast that also delivers protein, B vitamins, zinc and calcium.
Cream of Wheat is available in several varieties, including chocolate and cinnamon flavors, but the original, plain cereal simply contains wheat flour, wheat germ and is enriched with some vitamins and minerals. One cup of Cream of Wheat prepared with water has only 137 calories and 0.5 gram of fat yet delivers 4 grams of protein. You’ll also gain 2 grams of dietary fiber. Wheat is a good source of insoluble fiber, which contributes to gastrointestinal healthy by promoting elimination, preventing diverticular disease and relieving symptoms related to irritable bowel syndrome.
Iron carries life-sustaining oxygen through the blood, but it’s also an essential component of proteins and enzymes that produce energy and create genetic material. In the immune system, iron must be present for the normal growth of specialized cells that destroy viruses and cancerous cells. One cup of Cream of Wheat provides 10 milligrams of iron. This represents 125 percent of the recommended daily intake for men and 55 percent for women but only 37 percent for women who are pregnant, because they need more iron.
Everyone needs folate, but it’s an especially vital nutrient for women. Folate’s role in the synthesis of genetic material and the development of new cells makes it essential during periods of rapid growth, beginning with conception and continuing through adolescence. A deficiency of folate can cause birth defects of the brain and spine in the first 30 days following conception, according to the University of Ohio. During this critical time, many women are unaware that they’re pregnant, so it’s important to include enough folate in your daily diet before becoming pregnant. One cup of Cream of Wheat has 98 micrograms of folate. Adult men and women need 400 micrograms daily, so they get 25 percent of the recommended daily intake. Pregnant women should consume 600 micrograms, which means they get 16 percent.
Most of the calcium you consume is used to build bones, and since they're continuously remodeled with new bone to replace the old bone, it's vital to get enough calcium throughout your life to prevent osteoporosis. Calcium also has biochemical functions that are so important that your body will remove this mineral from bones to fill those roles if needed. Calcium is necessary for normal muscle contraction and nerve impulse transmission. It helps control the growth of skin cells and mediates the constriction and relaxation of blood vessels. One cup of prepared Cream of Wheat delivers 25 percent of the recommended daily intake of calcium.
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Cereals, Cream of Wheat, 2.5 Minute Cook Time, Cooked with Water, Stove-Top, Without Salt
- Harvard School of Public Health: Fiber -- Start Roughing It
- University of Ohio: Fact Sheet -- Folate
- University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension: Farina
- The National Academies Press: Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D
Sandi Busch received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, then pursued training in nursing and nutrition. She taught families to plan and prepare special diets, worked as a therapeutic support specialist, and now writes about her favorite topics – nutrition, food, families and parenting – for hospitals and trade magazines.