Wheatgrass is the young grass of the wheat plant, Triticum aestivum. It grows in temperate regions throughout Europe and the United States and can live indoors or outdoors.
Many people grow their own wheatgrass by putting wheat seeds in water and then harvesting the leaves. Wheatgrass is a natural source of vitamins and minerals (a few of which are antioxidants) including:
Despite all the health claims, there is very little, if any, evidence that wheatgrass actually works to detoxify or prevent or cure disease. Most of what little research has been conducted focus on the effects of wheatgrass on the digestive system. Here’s what some of those studies have found wheatgrass may do: Improve symptoms of ulcerative colitis.
A 2002 study by researchers in Israel showed that treatment with wheatgrass juice eased the symptoms of ulcerative colitis — inflammation of the colon. More research needs to be done, but it does point to possible benefits from wheatgrass.
Reduce chemotherapy side effects. Although there isn’t any scientific evidence that wheatgrass can shrink tumors or increase survival in cancer patients, a preliminary study of 60 women with breast cancer did find that wheatgrass reduced some of the harmful effects of chemotherapy without altering the effectiveness of the treatment.
You should only purchase wheatgrass from a trusted supplier, such as a reputable health store. Talk with an associate to ensure that the plants were grown and cleaned properly. This helps to eliminate the possibility of harmful bacteria and mold.
Wheatgrass may be a powerful addition to cancer treatment plans. A 2011 review also shows that wheatgrass has antioxidant properties that can help to prevent cancer. The high nutritional value of wheatgrass helps to build a strong immune system, which is thought to keep the body healthy and free of disease.
Some experts claim that wheatgrass nutrition contains over 100 different elements needed by man. One of the most noticeable (and important) nutrients in wheatgrass is chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the substance that gives wheatgrass its signature, bright green color.
Like other nutrient-dense greens, it’s used in the human body for a number of important processes. It’s a natural liver cleanser and detoxifier acts as an antioxidant to reduce free radical damage is a blood strengthener (it has a similar chemical composition to that of hemoglobin) and can help give you a boost in energy.
Wheatgrass and barley grass are two different kinds of young cereal grasses that are both commonly drank as fresh juice or are taken in powdered form. Barley grass is from the young shoots of the barley plant, while wheatgrass is from the young shoots of the wheat plant.
These grasses are often used with similar health goals in mind. For example, both are high in antioxidants, making them great free radical scavengers.
Wheatgrass is gluten-free because it’s cut before the grain forms. Wheatgrass is the freshly sprouted leaves of the wheat plant. When people hear wheat, they automatically think of gluten. However, the actual grass itself does not contain gluten, which is only found in the seed kernels of the wheat plant, not in its grasses.
If the grass is cut at an appropriate time before it’s allowed to grow seeds, it should be gluten-free. Unfortunately, there is a risk of cross-contamination when it comes to wheatgrass and there’s always the unknown of when exactly it was cultivated.