What is wheatgrass?
Wheatgrass is a grass grown from newly sprouted wheat seeds. It is consumed in juice form as a dietary supplement. Wheatgrass can benefit you in many ways by improving your overall health and immunity. Many people drink wheatgrass juice every day because of its detoxifying properties.
Here’s everything you need to know about drinking wheatgrass juice and its health benefits.
Wheatgrass is a grass grown from newly sprouted seeds belonging to the wheat plant Triticum aestivum . The grass is harvested for consumption within seven to ten days after germination. You can take it in the form of juice, powder, tablets or pills.
Wheatgrass juice is popular because it is highly nutritious and has many potential benefits. You can find it in juice bars and health food stores across the United States. People typically drink one to two ounces of wheatgrass juice or add it to smoothies or other juices. You can also find wheatgrass powder and supplements in health food or grocery stores.
What are the nutrients in wheatgrass?
A 100 ml serving of commercially available organic wheatgrass juice contains the following nutrients:
- 17 calories
- 0 grams protein
- 0 g fat
- 60 mg iron
- 40 mg vitamin C
- 0 mg cholesterol
Research shows that fresh wheatgrass juice is rich in the green pigment chlorophyll, which has anti-cancer effects. Wheatgrass also contains minerals such as calcium, iron, selenium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, sulfur and sodium. It is a rich source of vitamins A, C and E as well as choline.
What are the benefits of wheatgrass?
Consuming wheatgrass daily can improve your overall health and well-being. Wheatgrass juice has the following health benefits:
Play the role of green blood and protect blood cells
Wheatgrass juice contains high amounts of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the green pigment found in plants. It is often called "green blood" because it is biologically similar to the red pigment hemoglobin in human blood. The only difference is that chlorophyll contains magnesium while hemoglobin contains iron. Adding chlorophyll to your diet can help keep your heart and blood vessels healthy.
Wheatgrass is also rich in antioxidants. These substances help your red blood cells survive longer. Some clinical studies have also shown that wheatgrass can be beneficial for people with hemolytic anemia, a blood disorder that prevents your body from producing enough hemoglobin.
Research shows that the sugars or oligosaccharides in wheatgrass have immune-boosting effects. The sugars in wheatgrass stimulate certain immune cells called monocytes. These cells protect your body from infection.
Prevent oxidative damage
Wheatgrass is a rich source of protective antioxidants called flavonoids. They prevent oxidative stress caused by toxic free radicals, which can affect your cells and lead to inflammatory diseases in the long term. The flavonoids in wheatgrass destroy free radicals and protect your cells from damage and disease.
The substance lipopolysaccharide can cause the formation of nitrous oxide in cells. This can lead to inflammation, which can lead to long-term conditions like heart disease and cancer. Studies show that wheatgrass juice can prevent this inflammation in some cases, so drinking wheatgrass juice every day can prevent inflammation and related diseases.
Many people believe that wheatgrass can stimulate enzymes that promote digestion or prevent digestive problems. For example, one study showed that the green juice of wheatgrass prevented stomach ulcers in stressed rats. Research also shows that wheatgrass juice helps cleanse and detoxify the intestinal lining. It can help treat problems affecting the stomach and colon, such as constipation and hemorrhoids.
Prevent bacterial infections
The chlorophyll, antioxidants and other bioactive substances in wheatgrass inhibit bacterial growth. For example, studies show that wheatgrass extract is effective against harmful bacteria such as Listeria monocytogenes and Streptococcus pneumoniae .
Improve skin health
Wheatgrass’ antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and wound-healing properties make it perfect for your skin. You can use it topically on your skin or eat it to prevent skin problems and infections. Regular consumption of wheatgrass juice can also promote skin cell growth and protect skin health.
Detoxify your liver
The chlorophyll found in wheatgrass regulates and protects your liver. Other nutrients in wheatgrass juice, such as choline and trace minerals, also cleanse the liver. Studies in mice show that choline prevents the accumulation of fat in the liver, even when mice are fed a cholesterol-rich diet. Choline also lowers cholesterol and glycerol and protects liver cells from damage.
Therefore, drinking wheatgrass juice may help prevent liver problems such as fatty liver disease.
Prevent cancer growth
Wheatgrass contains several antioxidants and a plant hormone called abscisic acid. There is evidence that abscisic acid is an effective anticancer agent. It reduces the levels of compounds that promote cancer cell growth.
Wheatgrass juice also has antioxidant activity that protects cells from oxidative damage. It prevents cells from mutating and preventing cells from becoming cancerous. The chlorophyll in wheatgrass is particularly beneficial for patients with liver and gastrointestinal cancer.
What are the side effects of wheatgrass?
Wheatgrass is generally a health food. Unlike wheat, wheatgrass does not contain gluten. However, if this is your first time trying it, be aware of allergies. Symptoms of a wheatgrass allergy include upset stomach, nausea, swelling of the throat or lips, rash, and headache. Other potential side effects of wheatgrass include dizziness, mild headache, and tiredness. If you experience these symptoms, see your doctor immediately.
To avoid these side effects, start with a small dose of one to two ounces of wheatgrass and gradually increase the amount. You can drink up to 2 ounces three times per day.
You can take wheatgrass as a supplement along with a balanced diet that includes other fruits and vegetables. However, keep in mind that wheatgrass is often unprocessed and may harbor bacterial growth. Wash wheatgrass thoroughly before eating.
How to add wheatgrass to your diet?
Regardless of your age, drinking fresh wheatgrass juice every day can be beneficial to your health. Growing wheatgrass at home is easy and cheap using fresh wheat seeds or a starter kit.
You can squeeze the juice in a blender and drink it daily to boost your health and reap its benefits. You can also buy organic wheatgrass at a juice bar or health store. Wheatgrass is even available in powder or capsule form that you can add to water, juice, smoothies, soups, or meals.