You have probably seen shots of wheatgrass juice being sold in health stores and juice bars. This hard-core health drink became popular among people wanting to cure and prevent disease. First brought to popularity in the 1940s by Ann Wigmore, founder of the Hippocrates Health Institute, wheatgrass juice was believed to be a powerful cleanser of toxins while providing the body with the equivalent nutritional content of approximately five pounds of organic vegetables!
There is no doubt that wheatgrass is a nutrient dense wholefood. Grown from wheat seeds, it contains high amounts of chlorophyll, a phytochemical that gives dark leafy greens their color. Again, just like dark leafy greens, wheatgrass has an abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It is commonly sold as a juice but is also available in supplement form.
Wheatgrass has many studied and potential health benefits:
High in chlorophyll
Wheatgrass is a rich source of chlorophyll. In fact, it is made up of 70 percent chlorophyll. Often referred to as the blood of plants, chlorophyll has been shown to improve liver detoxification, help fight cancer, improve digestion, speed up wound healing and improve skin health. Consuming foods rich in chlorophyll can help you to cleanse the body and reverse ageing.
Wheatgrass is widely thought to be a powerful detoxifier, especially of the liver, that can cleanse the body and help remove toxins. For example, the Hippocrates Health Institute states that:
It helps neutralize toxins and environmental pollutants in the body. This is because Wheatgrass contains beneficial enzymes that help protect us from carcinogens, including Superoxide Dismutases (SOD), that lessens the effects of radiation and digest toxins in the body. It cleanses the body from head to toe of any heavy metals, pollutants and other toxins that may be stored in the body’s tissues and organs.
However, there has been little scientific research that can support the ability of wheatgrass to detoxify the liver. One study published in the March 2006 issue of the Phytotherapy Research journal found that some types of wheatgrass helped reduce the build-up of lipid fats in the livers of rats.
This was an animal study and it is not currently known if the same would hold true for humans, or what dose of wheatgrass would be optimal to help improve liver function.
What is true is that the high chlorophyll content of wheatgrass has a positive overall impact on the body’s ability to cleanse and detoxify and there is certainly the potential that it could aid in liver detoxification.
Note: When you begin consuming wheatgrass it is best to start slowly and increase the dose gradually to avoid any reactions as the body cleanses. It is recommended to drink wheatgrass on an empty stomach and not eat or drink anything for 30 minutes afterwards.
High in antioxidants
Like all dark leafy greens, wheatgrass is high in antioxidants. Research confirms this and wheatgrass has been found to have an ORAC score (antioxidant level) “higher than those reported for many other natural extracts or vegetables”.
It is this abundance of antioxidants that can make wheatgrass juice or supplements a valuable addition to your diet as a way to help prevent and fight disease. In fact, it has been shown to help heal ulcerative colitis and to be beneficial for breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
A powerful nutritional boost
Fresh wheatgrass juice is high in vitamins and minerals. However, when growing your own wheatgrass, the harvest time is crucial and it is generally one week after you germinate the seeds
Wheatgrass was first studied by food scientist Charles F. Schnabel. Schnabel determined that whole-food cereal grass such as wheatgrass powder contained the highest level of vitamins and minerals of any leafy green vegetable, especially when harvested at a special time in its growth cycle.
Wheatgrass is a source of:
As mentioned before, the nutritional content of wheatgrass is comparable to that of dark leafy vegetables and Charles Schnabel concluded in his research that wheatgrass was of superior nutritional value.
By adding fresh wheatgrass juice or a wheatgrass supplement to your diet, you will definitely be giving your body a powerful nutritional boost.
As with all supplements, wheatgrass is not intended to replace a healthy balanced diet. However, wheatgrass can help to detoxify your body and supply it with extra antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.