According to surveys conducted by the Center for Disease Control, only about 27 percent of Americans get more than three servings of vegetables per day.
Most of us know by now that we need to be eating fresh fruits and veggies everyday in abundance for optimal health and detoxification. However, for many people this isn’t as easy as it might seem. While it isn’t meant to replace eating fresh vegetables, wheatgrass benefits provide numerous antioxidants and other nutrients, all in one small easy-to-drink glass.
If you’ve ever taken a shot of wheatgrass juice, you know that it’s an intense experience…even for those inclined toward superfoods and natural remedies. But rest assured, a mountain of evidence shows that it’s completely worth it.
After all, wheatgrass was one of the original “superfoods,” and for good reason. In a past article, we wrote about how wheatgrass reverses gray hair and slows the aging process, enhances detoxification of heavy metals and other toxins, and balances your microbiome.
And that’s just a start.
Wheatgrass has plenty of benefits that are backed by science—no exaggeration necessary. So without further ado, let’s take a look at what this time-honored superfood has to offer.
Nutrient density is one of the most important qualifications of an optimal diet. Across the board, processed and packaged foods, sweets, and snacks are all woefully lacking in the nutrients your body needs. Whole foods, on the other hand, are packed with them—and superfoods are those which tend to have even higher levels of nutrients per serving.
While some of the nutrient claims of wheatgrass are overstated, it’s still packed with more than enough to qualify as an outstanding superfood. It contains chlorophyll (more on that in a minute), vitamin A, vitamin E, 19 different amino acids, beneficial enzymes, and nearly every earth element found in healthy soil (98 out of 102). To top things off, it contains all of these nutrients in ratios that are perfect for maximum absorption by the body.
Immune support. Anything as nutrient-dense as wheatgrass is bound to stimulate immune function, just by virtue of providing the body with what it needs to function optimally. But researchers also found another, more interesting way in which wheatgrass can boost immunity.
Wheatgrass is comprised of 70% chlorophyll, which many health experts believe can increase the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. A study in the Journal of Indian Pediatrics found that drinking 3.5 oz of wheatgrass juice everyday decreased the number of blood transfusions required by patients with thalassemia (a condition characterized by low levels of hemoglobin).
What this means is that drinking wheatgrass juice improves red blood cell count, thus increasing the blood’s oxygen-carry capacity and boosting immune function.
Digestive healing. Wheatgrass is exceptionally alkalizing, high in fiber, and anti-inflammatory; all these properties lend themselves perfectly to gastrointestinal support. In fact, research has shown that daily consumption of wheatgrass is an effective treatment for stomach conditions like ulcerative colitis.
A study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology found that a daily wheatgrass juice regimen led to “significant reductions in the overall disease activity index,” as well as an improvement of many symptoms and markers of the condition.
Remember, though: drinking a shot of wheatgrass juice everyday will not magically counteract the negative effects of an unhealthy, inflammatory diet, so be sure that your wheatgrass juice regimen is a part of an overall digestion-healing diet.
Disease treatment and prevention. While the verdict is still out on many of the disease-healing capacities that enthusiasts ascribe to wheatgrass, there are a number of therapeutic applications that have been borne out by research.
A medical review of various studies and clinical trials reported that wheatgrass can be effectively used in the treatment of cancer (to attenuate the negative effects of chemotherapy, and to fight cancer cells directly), arthritis, liver disease, diabetes, and obesity.
There’s so much to love about wheatgrass. To learn even more about it, check out this great article.
How to start enjoying wheatgrass
I know…enjoy is a strong word. But the taste really isn’t so bad, especially once you get used to it. Besides, if the flavor really is too much for you, just add wheatgrass juice to smoothies (some fruits and nut butter will mask the taste).
If you’re not accustomed to a healthy, nutrient-dense diet, start off slow with wheatgrass (begin with one ounce of wheatgrass per day, and work your way up). Detox symptoms can occur if you don’t slowly accustom yourself to wheatgrass juice, so listen to your body.
Most health experts agree that you shouldn’t drink wheatgrass juice after a meal, as doing so causes stomach upset for some people. Instead, drink it on an empty stomach, in a smoothie, or with a light serving of fruits or vegetables.