Cream of Wheat is a popular brand of breakfast porridge.

It’s made from farina, a type of hot cereal derived from wheat that has been milled to form a fine consistency.

With its smooth, thick texture and creamy taste, Cream of Wheat is often combined with milk or water and topped with a variety of sweet or savory ingredients.

However, despite its popularity and widespread availability, you may be unsure whether Cream of Wheat can be a nutritious addition to a balanced diet.

This article reviews whether Cream of Wheat is healthy.

Cream of Wheat has been associated with several possible health benefits.

Rich in important nutrients

Cream of Wheat is low in calories but contains many important micronutrients.

One cup (241 grams) of cooked Cream of Wheat provides approximately (1):

  • Calories: 133
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Fat: 0.5 grams
  • Carbs: 28 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Iron: 58% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Niacin: 39% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 38% of the DV
  • Thiamine: 37% of the DV
  • Riboflavin: 33% of the DV
  • Folate: 33% of the DV
  • Selenium: 13% of the DV
  • Calcium: 11% of the DV
  • Copper: 11% of the DV

Cream of Wheat is particularly rich in iron, along with B vitamins like niacin, vitamin B6, thiamine, riboflavin, and folate.

B vitamins are involved in many aspects of health, including energy production, brain function, and DNA synthesis (2).

Cream of Wheat also contains selenium, a powerful micronutrient that doubles as an antioxidant to decrease inflammation and protect against disease (3).

Vegetarian source of iron

Iron is an important mineral that’s necessary for oxygen transport, DNA synthesis, and red blood cell production (4).

A deficiency in this key nutrient can contribute to iron deficiency anemia, a serious condition caused by a lack of healthy red blood cells in the body (5).

Because iron found in animal products is more bioavailable than iron found in plant products, many vegans and vegetarians may be at a higher risk of iron deficiency anemia (6).

Cream of Wheat products are enriched with iron, making them a great, vegetarian-friendly source of this important micronutrient.

While 1-cup (241-gram) serving of enriched Cream of Wheat provides over half of the DV for this key mineral, it’s important to note that the RDA for iron for vegetarians and vegans is actually 1.8 times higher than for omnivores. This means that a serving of cream of wheat actually contains a lower percentage of the DV for vegetarians and vegans; however, it’s still a good source of iron (1).

Easy to enjoy

Cream of Wheat is delicious, versatile, and easy to enjoy in a variety of ways.

It can be made with water or milk and cooked using the microwave, stovetop, or a slow cooker, depending on your preferences.

You can also add your choice of sweet or savory toppings to fit your personal palate.

Some of the most common additions to Cream of Wheat include sugar, maple syrup, fruit, nuts, spices, salt, cheese, or butter.

However, you can customize your Cream of Wheat with just about any combination of toppings.


Cream of Wheat is rich in important nutrients and a great vegetarian-friendly source of iron. It’s also easy to prepare and can be enjoyed in many ways.

Although Cream of Wheat offers several potential benefits, it has a few downsides to consider.

Contains gluten

Cream of Wheat is a type of farina, which is a cereal made from milled wheat.

For this reason, Cream of Wheat contains gluten, which is a group of proteins found in cereal grains that provides dough with its signature elasticity (7).

While most people tolerate gluten without issue, those with celiac disease or a sensitivity to gluten may experience adverse side effects after eating gluten-containing foods.

For those with celiac disease, consuming gluten can trigger an immune response, causing digestive issues like diarrhea, constipation, and stomach pain (8).

Meanwhile, people with a sensitivity to gluten often report symptoms like bloating, nausea, fatigue, and brain fog, a condition characterized by an inability to focus (9).

Following a gluten-free diet that eliminates ingredients like Cream of Wheat, as well as wheat, barley, and rye, can help alleviate symptoms for those with either of these conditions (10).

High in sodium

According to the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans, sodium intake should be limited to around 2,300 mg daily for most healthy adults (11).

Instant Cream of Wheat, in particular, is relatively high in sodium, with around 590 mg per cooked cup (241 grams), which is over 25% of the recommended daily limit (1).

Other varieties like quick or regular Cream of Wheat contain less sodium but are often prepared using salt, which can increase the sodium content of the final product (12, 13).

Additionally, some savory toppings like cheese or nuts can ramp up the total amount of sodium.

Some research shows that decreasing your intake of sodium can help reduce blood pressure levels, especially among those with high levels (14, 15).

Studies also show that consuming high amounts of sodium may be associated with an increased risk of stomach cancer (16, 17).

What’s more, high salt intake can increase the excretion of calcium through the urine, which could potentially lead to bone loss (18).

Therefore, it’s important to moderate your intake of Cream of Wheat and other foods high in sodium to prevent adverse health effects.


Cream of Wheat can be relatively high in sodium and contains gluten, which can cause side effects for those with celiac disease or a sensitivity to gluten.

Cream of Wheat is a great source of several important nutrients, including niacin, vitamin B6, thiamine, riboflavin, and folate.

It’s also rich in iron, which is an important mineral that many vegans and vegetarians are lacking.

However, it may not be a great dietary addition for everyone, as it contains gluten and can be relatively high in sodium, depending on the type, preparation method, and add-ins.