Millions of people around the world, who are conscious about their health, drink wheatgrass juice regularly. Wheatgrass is a type of young grass belonging to the wheat family that has been grown for about a week to ten days. Apart from the wheatgrass juice, it is also available as a supplement in the pill, powder and tablet forms. Although there are not any major scientific evidence that supports the nutritional and health benefits of wheatgrass, proponents of this food item claim that it is has several health promoting benefits. Wheatgrass is rich in nutrients that are considered to boost your immunity and improve your general health.
Nutritional value of wheatgrass
Nutrient rich wheatgrass is an exceptional source of protein and dietary fiber. It is also a good source of a wide range of vitamins including Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin and Thiamin. Wheatgrass contains high amounts of minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. Wheatgrass also contains many amino acids, including all the eight essential amino acids (phenylalanine, threonine, valine, tryptophan, methionine, isoleucine, leucine, and lysine) that cannot be produced in your body. Another important element in wheatgrass is chlorophyll, the molecular structure of which is almost similar to that of human blood. Wheatgrass juice is considered to be one of the best sources of chlorophyll available nowadays. Read more about health benefits of Chlorophyll.
Benefits of Wheatgrass
Wheatgrass with its high concentrations of chlorophyll and many other nutrients have been considered to provide several health benefits. Since it has high amounts of healthy nutrients, wheatgrass has been suggested to improve a wide range of health conditions such as boosting your immune system, detoxification, diabetes and cancer. However there is only limited scientific proof to confirm these claims.
Wheatgrass juice for relieving digestive problems
Many people suffering from chronic digestive disorders can find long-lasting relief by drinking the juice of wheatgrass. Wheatgrass juice is a natural and effective remedy to relieve indigestion and stomach pain. It is a good source of many nutrients that helps in promoting proper digestion. The enzymes in wheatgrass help in breaking down the food that you eat so that it is easily digested and absorbed by your body. Furthermore, the high amounts of chlorophyll in this grass have detoxifying properties that helps in cleansing your bowels and improving your digestive health. Drinking wheatgrass juice has also been found to provide relief from constipation, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, or also other digestive issues.
Wheatgrass reduces cholesterol
Studies carried out on rats indicates that wheatgrass is helpful in lowering cholesterol. According to a study conducted in the year 2011, researchers found out that by administering wheatgrass juice, the total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels were lowered considerably in rats with unusually high cholesterol levels. However, whether wheatgrass may have the same cholesterol-lowering properties in human beings is yet to be found out.
Wheatgrass lowers high blood pressure
Although there is no scientific proof, wheatgrass is considered to widen the capillaries and reduce high blood pressure.
Wheatgrass boosts your energy
The amount of energy that you get from drinking wheatgrass juice is significant. The nutrition contained in 2 ounces of this juice actually corresponds to the nutrients obtained from about four pounds of fresh green vegetables. Drinking wheatgrass juice on an empty stomach can provide you with energy that can last all through the day.
Wheatgrass is a blood builder
Wheatgrass juice contains about 70% chlorophyll, which is similar to the human blood cell, hemoglobin. Since it is high in oxygen, it helps in oxygenating and purifying your blood. It also helps in activating your white blood cells, thereby improving your immune system. Wheatgrass juice is easily absorbed and assimilated into your blood stream. It helps in increasing the count of healthy blood cells and the various nutrients in wheatgrass helps in improving the quality of your blood. The high levels of iron present in this grass are another contributing factor to the increase in red blood cells. As such, drinking wheatgrass juice may be effective in preventing anemia.
Wheatgrass and treatment of diabetes
According to a study published in the Journal of Herbal Medicine and Toxicology in December 2009, wheatgrass has been found to play a specific role in improving the levels of blood glucose and lipids. This makes it highly effective in managing diabetes. The researchers found that by adding wheatgrass to a meal or certain foods, it helped in reducing the glycemic index of those foods and also in reducing the blood sugar levels. It was found that there were significant improvements in the triglyceride levels of diabetic patients who consumed wheatgrass regularly. Although detailed and extensive research is needed on this subject, these findings hold promising results for people with diabetes. The high amounts of fiber in wheatgrass helps in controlling the absorption of sugar and cholesterol. This is very helpful in preventing the occurrence of sudden spikes in blood sugar levels that can be dangerous. Wheatgrass is a good source of magnesium, a mineral that plays a major role in improving insulin sensitivity, which helps in slowing down the development of type 2 diabetes and other complications associated with diabetes. Read more about Nature food for diabetes.
Wheatgrass and weight loss
Wheatgrass is found to promote weight loss in a number of ways. It has powerful detoxifying properties that cleanses your system and flushes out the harmful toxins. The active elements in wheatgrass improve digestion and promote the fast and better absorption of nutrients by your body. Another way that wheatgrass helps you in shedding pounds is by boosting your metabolism. As your metabolism increases, more and more calories are burnt to fuel your activities, thus enabling weight loss. Wheatgrass contains a plethora of nutrients including several important vitamins and minerals. It is a low calorie food that is rich in fiber content. The fiber in wheatgrass helps in controlling your appetite by making you feel fuller. Drinking wheatgrass juice can satisfy your hunger and keep you from having food cravings. Wheatgrass juice is also a good source of potassium that helps in enhancing your muscle tone, which in turn helps in burning more calories.
Wheatgrass for cancer cure
Proponents of wheatgrass claim that it has the ability kill cancer cells, although there is lack of scientific facts to support this finding. Wheatgrass fights the cancer cells in many ways. Studies suggest that oxygen helps in destroying disease causing cells. First of all, this herb is an excellent source of chlorophyll, which increases the production of hemoglobin. More hemoglobin means more oxygen is transported to the various cells including the cancer cells. Chlorophyll also has the ability to breakdown carbon monoxide molecules and release oxygen. Wheatgrass contains the mineral selenium that is known for its anti-cancer properties.
Wheatgrass maintains pH balance
Wheatgrass is alkaline in nature and hence helps in reducing high acidity in your blood and in balancing your pH levels.
Wheatgrass to combat anemia
The consumption of wheatgrass juice supplies body with essential nutrients and help relive anemic conditions. It encourages formation of red blood cells in body. This benefit can be attributed to supply of chlorophyll in body.
Wheatgrass promotes healthy and beautiful skin
Wheatgrass is beneficial for your skin in many ways. Being a powerful detoxifier, it helps in removing the toxins and in making your skin healthy and glowing. Wheatgrass powder is helpful in exfoliating your skin by getting rid the dirt and dead skin cells and hence is often used as a skin cleanser. It also improves the elasticity of your skin, giving it a youthful appearance. Wheatgrass has antiseptic properties that are effective in healing wounds, cuts, bruises, sores, and insect bites. Applying wheatgrass powder provides a soothing effect on skin conditions like boils, sunburns, and athlete’s foot. It is also useful in preventing acne break outs. Wheatgrass has good amounts of antioxidants that help in fighting off the oxidation damage caused by the free radicals. This helps in slowing down the process of aging and in preventing wrinkles and fine lines.
Wheatgrass for wound healing
Wheatgrass supplies body with Chlorophyll that has the power to inhibit the growth of certain types of disease causing anaerobic bacteria. Chlorophyll has use in healing wound and studies reveal that topical application of chlorophyll or wheatgrass helps in healing vascular ulcers and pressure ulcers.
Wheatgrass and bad breath
It is believed that wheatgrass juice gargle can help treat bad breath. It contains chlorophyll and other nutrients which are antibacterial in nature and helsp prevent bad breath.
Wheatgrass benefits for hair
Just as it is beneficial to your skin, wheatgrass offers several health benefits to your hair as well. It is effective in treating dandruff and other scalp problems. Combining wheatgrass with your shampoo and applying it on your hair is a great remedy for mending damaged hair and also for treating dandruff, and itchy scalp. Washing your hair with wheatgrass powder is also found to be effective in reducing graying of hair.
Side effects of wheatgrass
Wheatgrass is generally considered to be a safe food. However, it is also associated with a few side effects. These side effects are usually mild and include allergic reactions, nausea, headaches, and diarrhea. People allergic to this food may experience allergic reactions like rashes, hives or swelling in the throat or face and difficulty breathing. Nausea usually occurs when wheatgrass is combined with other foods or drinks. It is advised to always drink wheatgrass juice on an empty stomach. Headache is another side effect of wheatgrass probably due to its detoxifying effects. In addition to headache, detoxification may also cause symptoms including stomach pain, upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, nasal congestion, coughing, skin eruptions, and mild fever, especially in people who are not used to drinking wheatgrass juice. Too much consumption of wheatgrass may cause diarrhea.
Wheatgrass, which is a wonderful source of nutrients, is considered to be one of the super foods by several health-conscious people. Since there is no scientific evidence that supports the use of wheatgrass as a main standard treatment for any kind of health issues, it is recommended not to use it as an alternate treatment remedy of any chronic medical condition.Image Credits: Flickr - Ervins Strauhmanis, Flickr - Steven Depolo