The Real Story Behind Wheatgrass Benefits and Anti-Aging

Is Wheatgrass Really a Miracle Food?

wheatgrass juice
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Wheatgrass is, essentially, a baby wheat plant that has been promoted for years for its anti-aging and other health benefits. Wheatgrass can be served juiced or made into a powder.

What Is in Wheatgrass?

Wheatgrass has lots of chlorophyll, minerals, vitamins, amino acids and other nutrients. The idea is to harvest the wheatgrass at a time in its lifecycle when it has the highest nutritional density.

Generally people take about a shot-glass size dose of wheatgrass, either “straight-up” or mixed in with a smoothie.

Health Claims of Wheatgrass

Like all superfoods, wheatgrass has a long list of health and anti-aging claims. Here are just a few:

  • Improves digestion
  • Increases energy
  • Prevents illnesses such as cancer and diabetes
  • Detoxifies the body

The biggest claim is that 1 ounce of wheatgrass juice is worth more than 2 pounds of fresh green vegetables. That claim, nutritionally, is just plain false. One ounce of wheatgrass juice has about the same nutritional make-up as 1 ounce of any green vegetable.

History of Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass is one of the original superfoods with a history dating back to the 1930s when health fanatics focused on wheatgrass after a series of experiments showed health benefits to chickens. People just went a little nutty for wheatgrass, it seems.

Growing Wheatgrass

Lots of wheatgrass fans grow it themselves.

It takes about two weeks from planting to harvest time. People who grow wheatgrass usually blend the grass into a juice and add it to smoothies or other drinks. If you don’t want to grow it yourself, you can find wheatgrass juice and dried wheatgrass powder or pills in almost any health food store.

Should I Bother with Wheatgrass?

Wheatgrass probably won’t do you any harm if you take a reasonable amount. Wheatgrass shots at juice bars are often over-priced, but if you like trying them, then you are adding the equivalent of 1 or 2 ounces of juiced vegetables, and eating more vegetables is always a good thing.

Of course, wheatgrass tastes simply awful (to most people) and you’ll need a lot of sugar in your smoothie to overcome that. And a lot of sugar in anything isn't very healthful. It might just be simpler to eat some broccoli.

Be sure to check out Strange Foods with Anti-Aging and Health Claims to learn more about foods like turmeric, spirulina (algae), noni juice, goji berry, acai berry, pomegranates, mushrooms, bee pollen, seaweed and mangosteen.

Source: Wheatgrass. Dietary Supplements Database. National Library of Medicine.

Robert Becker, Peggy Wagoner, Grace D. Hanners, Robin M. Saunders, Compositional, Nutritional, and Functional Evaluation of Intermediate Wheatgrass (Thinopyrum Intermedium). Journal of Food Processing and Preservation. Volume 15 Issue 1, Pages 63 – 77. 5 May 2007.

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