Wheat germ is a good substitute for wheat bran; both foods have a similar taste. Rice bran, oat bran or buck wheat are good substitutes for wheat bran on a gluten-free diet.
Wheat bran, known simply as bran or cereal fiber, is used as a source of dietary fiber to help prevent colon disease, colon cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer, gallbladder disease, hemorrhoids and hiatal hernia.
Bran is also used to treat constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. According to WebMD, a person should consume 20 to 25 grams of wheat bran per day to alleviate constipation and at least 30 grams per day for 12 weeks to treat irritable bowel syndrome. Bran is safe for consumption by most people except those with gluten allergies.
Bran is the hard outer layer of certain whole cereal grains, such as wheat, oats and rice. The essential fatty acids in bran become rancid after a period of time, making bran-rich food go bad faster. Bran is removed from grains before they are processed into flour to give it a longer shelf life. Bran is also removed from the outer layer of rice to make white rice, while the layer is kept on the grains for brown rice.