W is for Wheatgrass

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Monique Nelson

Founder at Choose to Cook
Monique Nelson is the founder, chief organizer and editor at Choose To Cook, and is highly motivated to help people of the world take charge of their health through simple and delicious nutritional changes.
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Wheatgrass: General Information, Benefits, and Methods of Use

Wheatgrass. I don’t know about you, but when I hear that word I can almost taste the bitterness in the back of my throat from the last shot of greens I took when ordering a smoothie from my favorite local joint.

In general, I think that when most people hear this word, they think of shots, smoothies, and all natural health drinks. Did you know, though, that you can get the benefits from this healthy green in other ways and you can even grow it in your home garden?

There is a pretty wide variety of health benefits that come from wheatgrass, so let’s start at the beginning…

What is Wheatgrass?

Wheatgrass is a type of edible grass made from the cotyledons of the wheat plant scientifically known as triticum aestivum. Cotyledons are the “seed leaves” of the plant, or the grass part you’re used to seeing.

Wheatgrass is one of those historical gems that has been around thousands of years, used by ancient cultures for its healing properties, and then more or less forgotten about until the 1930s, when a powdered version became popularized mainly across the USA and Canada.

Wheatgrass_(Triticum_aestivum)
By Mokkie (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Nutritional Information

Wheatgrass, which is 70% chlorophyll, is commonly sold as a juice or a powder, which act as concentrated sources of nutrients such as:

  • Vitamin A, C, and E
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Amino acids

Since the juice of wheatgrass is extracted from the plant’s sprouts, it is also gluten free. It is a rich source of antioxidants, contain anti-inflammatory properties and many people believe that it can even help kill bacterial infections. Wheatgrass is an alkalinizing food, meaning it helps to create an alkaline environment within your body, which has recently become one of the healthiest dietary trends. Some studies even show that by maintaining alkaline pH levels you can prevent cancer from forming, and reverse it’s growth if already present.

Please note that, for every study showing the positive effects of an alkaline diet, there is one to “debunk” it. However, an eating plan high in fruits and vegetables – which happens to be alkalinizing – and low in processed foods and dairy – which happen to be acid producing – is more or less universally accepted as being the healthiest choice for weight management, disease prevention and overall health. Also, nothing written in this article or on this website should be used against the advice of a doctor or health professional!

A 1-oz. serving of wheatgrass juice contains:

  • 120 calories
  • 16 grams of carbohydrates
    • 8 grams of dietary fiber
    • Less than 1 gram of sugar
  • 8 grams of protein
  • 240% of the daily value of vitamin A
  • 93% of daily value of vitamin C
  • 12% of daily value of calcium
  • 356% daily value of iron*

*On a personal note, I decided to write this article because of the high iron levels in wheatgrass. As a Vegan, Iron is one of the items that I try to carefully pay attention to my intake of, to be sure I am always getting the appropriate amounts, and a shot of wheat grass is a very simple way to accomplish this!

Wheatgrass Shots by Steven Depolo. CC BY 2.0
Wheatgrass Shots by Steven Depolo. CC BY 2.0

How to Get and Use Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass is commonly available at most juice or smoothie bars, and you can also find supplements and juices at natural health food stores. You can also find it fairly easily as as a spray, a liquid herbal supplement, herbal supplement tablets, massage lotion, cream, and gel.

You can grow it from your from home garden though! The roots, rhizome, and above-ground parts of the wheat grass are used to create medicines while the grass itself can be added to drinks and foods for an extra shot of vitamins and minerals.

Wheatgrass is used to treat a variety of conditions making it highly versatile and very popular. It touches most of the different bodily systems and helps with different functions that encourage optimal health.

  • For one, wheatgrass is used for increasing the production of hemoglobin, which is a chemical found in red blood cells that carry oxygen through the blood.
  • It is also used to improve blood sugar disorders like diabetes, improve and accelerate wound healing, prevent bacterial infections, and even prevent tooth decay.
  • Wheatgrass can be useful for removing toxins in the blood and liver such as drugs and heavy metals as well as cancer-causing agents in the body. It helps to cleanse the various systems of your body so that you feel lighter, better, and healthier overall.
  • Wheatgrass has been used to treat urinary tract disorders, as well as common infections of the urethra, bladder, kidney stones, and even benign prostatic hypertrophy (BHP).
  • For respiratory problems, wheatgrass is used to help the common could, fever, sore throats, cough, bronchitis as well as other infections.
  • It has also been helpful with gout, joint pain, skin problems, and ulcerative colitis.

Final thoughts

As you can see, wheatgrass has an impressively long list of health benefits that can help prevent and treat common, troublesome problems. Most people find wheatgrass to be an acquired taste, to say the least, as it is quite bitter. If you’re anything like me, however, by focusing on all the ways it can help, heal and nourish your body, your mind will overpower your tastebuds…at least for the few seconds it takes to toss back a shot of the green liquid and follow it up with a tasty chaser, like a Chocolate Peanut Berry Green Smoothie!

Have you enjoyed the experience and/or benefits of wheatgrass before? I’d love to hear how you used it and what kind of results you saw, so please leave a comment below!

Post Author: Monique Nelson

Monique Nelson is the founder, chief organizer and editor at Choose To Cook, and is highly motivated to help people of the world take charge of their health through simple and delicious nutritional changes.

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