Wheatgrass is a tried-and-true ingredient in smoothies and juicing regimens. It's almost automatic to throw it in with those other healthy ingredients you use to boost your strength, energy and your immune system. You'll find plenty of it at your health food store, in tablet, liquid or powder form. But have to stopped to think about why you're putting it in your drink and what it's actually doing for you?
Photo credit: Shutterstock
According to Dr. Brent A. Bauer at the Mayo Clinic, some of the more extravagant health claims are unproven, as extravagant health claims usually are.
"Wheatgrass isn't a miracle cure and shouldn't replace regular medical care or a healthy diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables," he says. "But used sensibly and in moderation, wheatgrass may add interest to your diet. Wheatgrass provides a concentrated amount of nutrients, including iron, calcium, magnesium, amino acids, chlorophyll and vitamins A, C and E. Wheatgrass fans say that its rich nutrient content boosts immunity, kills harmful bacteria in your digestive system and rids your body of waste. Some proponents tout wheatgrass as a treatment for cancer, anemia, diabetes, constipation, infections, skin conditions, ulcerative colitis and joint pain, among other health concerns. However, there are few research studies about wheatgrass, so it's difficult to assess such health claims."
So it's not a magic elixir. But those nutrients it contains are all essential for good health. They are known to be antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, helping to ward off infections, colds, sore throats and other minor infectious diseases. Vitamin A contains beta-carotene, known for its role in maintaining immunity and eye health. Vitamin C —ascorbic acid—is also a dietary essential, one of wheatgrass's key disease-fighting antioxidants. Vitamin E may play a role in slowing chronic conditions related to aging. And amino acids are essential for digestion.
Wheat grass can be as much as 70 percent chlorophyll, which some think helps to build up the blood, adding that the benefits of chlorophyll only come from using the fresh young grass. Luckily, that's easy to do. It grows quickly from seed in any shallow container. You may find ready-to-grow containers at the grocery—or at your pet supplies store. They're often marketed for cats to improve THEIR digestion. But you probably wouldn't want to do what they do: it causes them to throw up, a uniquely feline cleanse. And Mercola.com warns that it's easy to become contaminated with mold and provides some tips for growing to avoid that.
Mercola also says, "If you decide to use wheat grass you need to be very careful, as excessive amounts of wheat grass can cause you to become very nauseous and catalyze a healing crisis that could make you very sick. It is also not a food but a detoxifying herb and should not be consumed every day for long periods of time."
It's also not recommended if you're pregnant or breast-feeding or if you have celiac disease. Otherwise, Mercola suggests very much what Bauer does: make it part of your diet for both its proven and possible benefits but eat a wide range of fruits and vegetables to take full advantage of the complex networks of nutrients they contain.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE
By Anke Rasper
"Today's interim report from the UNFCCC is a red alert for our planet," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
The report, released Friday, looks at the national climate efforts of 75 states that have already submitted their updated "nationally determined contributions," or NDCs. The countries included in the report are responsible for about 30% of the world's global greenhouse gas emissions.
- World Leaders Fall Short of Meeting Paris Agreement Goal - EcoWatch ›
- UN Climate Change Conference COP26 Delayed to November ... ›
- 5 Years After Paris: How Countries' Climate Policies Match up to ... ›
- Biden Win Puts World 'Within Striking Distance' of 1.5 C Paris Goal ... ›
- Biden Reaffirms Commitment to Rejoining Paris Agreement ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
India's New Delhi has been called the "world air pollution capital" for its high concentrations of particulate matter that make it harder for its residents to breathe and see. But one thing has puzzled scientists, according to The Guardian. Why does New Delhi see more blinding smogs than other polluted Asian cities, such as Beijing?
- This Indian Startup Turns Polluted Air Into Climate-Friendly Tiles ... ›
- How to Win the Fight Against Plastic - EcoWatch ›
In a historic move, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted Thursday to ban hydraulic fracking in the region. The ban was supported by all four basin states — New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York — putting a permanent end to hydraulic fracking for natural gas along the 13,539-square-mile basin, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
- Appalachian Fracking Boom Was a Jobs Bust, Finds New Report ... ›
- Long-Awaited EPA Study Says Fracking Pollutes Drinking Water ... ›
- Pennsylvania Fracking Water Contamination Much Higher Than ... ›
Colombia is one of the world's largest producers of coffee, and yet also one of the most economically disadvantaged. According to research by the national statistic center DANE, 35% of the population in Columbia lives in monetary poverty, compared to an estimated 11% in the U.S., according to census data. This has led to a housing insecurity issue throughout the country, one which construction company Woodpecker is working hard to solve.
- Kenyan Engineer Recycles Plastic Into Bricks Stronger Than ... ›
- Could IKEA's New Tiny House Help Fight the Climate Crisis ... ›
To save the planet, we must save the Amazon rainforest. To save the rainforest, we must save its indigenous peoples. And to do that, we must demarcate their land.
A new EarthxTV film special calls for the protection of the Amazon rainforest and the indigenous people that call it home. EarthxTV.org
- Meet the 'Women Warriors' Protecting the Amazon Forest - EcoWatch ›
- Indigenous Tribes Are Using Drones to Protect the Amazon ... ›
- Amazon Rainforest Will Collapse by 2064, New Study Predicts ... ›
- Deforestation in Amazon Skyrockets to 12-Year High Under Bolsonaro ›
- Amazon Rainforest on the Brink of Turning Into a Net Carbon Emitter ... ›