Wheatgrass and Your Health
If you know what “juicing” is, then you know about wheatgrass. If you don’t, it’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s grass grown from common wheat consumed as a shoot for its high nutritional value. Wheatgrass is traditionally consumed either as a juice or as a concentrated powder. Since the juice needs to be consumed immediately after it is juiced, most consumers prefer the powder as it lasts longer.
What is the nutritional content of wheatgrass?
Wheatgrass contains essential nutrients like Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Beta Carotene, Vitamin B-12 (which is actually a by-product of the organisms that live on wheatgrass), Phosphorus, Magnesium, Calcium, Iron, and Potassium . It also contains iron, zinc, copper, and selenium. Wheatgrass has similar nutritional content to dark, leafy vegetables, making them a good addition to any diet.
The health benefits associated with wheatgrass
1) It has antioxidants
Antioxidants are important for our diet as they usually have anti-inflammatory and nutritional properties that are beneficial. When used by people who engage in regular exercise and maintain a relatively healthy diet, it can help reduce lipid peroxidation levels.
2) Improves symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis
A study conducted in 2002 stated that the anti-inflammatory properties of wheatgrass helped alleviate symptoms of ulcerative colitis by reducing the inflammation of the colon . While the study calls for more research, its preliminary findings point to wheatgrass having good health benefits when consumed regularly in prescribed doses as part of a regular diet regimen.
3) Reduces the side effects of chemotherapy
Chemotherapy, while lifesaving, is an aggressive treatment that leaves its patients exhausted and weakened. A study with 60 breast cancer patients found that chemotherapy was effective in terms of helping reduce the side effects of chemotherapy without affecting the effectiveness of the treatments itself in term of cancer care . Wheatgrass as a cancer management product alongside chemotherapy may thus help patients alleviate the difficulties faced during the treatment.
4) Might be effective for treating blood disorders
A small study in 2004, published by Marawaha et al. found that wheatgrass juice was effective in treating patients who are suffering from beta thalassemia and were dependent on blood transfusions . The patients on wheatgrass required less packed red blood cells in their transfusions.
While more studies need to be conducted to figure out all the benefits of consuming wheatgrass, what is clear is that wheatgrass is good for you in moderate levels.