Wheatgrass (genus Agropyron), as the name suggests, is the young grass of a wheat plant. This grass is typically thick and somewhat resembles straw or hay – only, it’s bright green in color. Some doctors also describe it as the green seed leaves of wheat.
Unlike other forms of wheat, wheatgrass doesn’t have gluten. This means that it’s suitable for those who are gluten intolerant.
What is Wheatgrass used for?
Why is wheatgrass good for health? Various nutritional analysis of wheatgrass show that it contains a lot of nutrients that make it good for digestion and immune system.
Its potential benefits include the following.
It has a lot of nutrients
Nutritional analysis of 30 grams of wheatgrass shows that it contains sodium, potassium, magnesium, dietary fiber, vitamins A, C, and E, as well as calcium and iron.
It also contains 17 amino acids (building block of protein); interestingly, 8 of them are considered essential.
Essential amino acids are those that our body cannot make. And so, we can only obtain them through our diet.
It could help fight cancer
Why is wheatgrass good for your health? Some researchers say it can help fight cancer.
One study revealed that wheatgrass extract can reduce the proliferation of mouth cancer or Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma (OSCC). According reports, OSCC is one of the most common types of cancer worldwide.
When the researchers checked the inhibitory effect of wheatgrass extract, they noticed that it reduced the spread of mouth cancer by 41.4%.
It has antimicrobial properties
Another reason why wheatgrass is good for the health is because it can potentially help fight infection.
A study found that wheatgrass extract has antimicrobial properties, that can fight Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus spp., two pathogens associated with dental caries.
It could lessen your risk of various diseases
The proteins in wheatgrass can potentially prevent various diseases and oxidative stress.
Moreover, since the grass also contains a lot of antioxidants, it can help ease inflammation. Chronic inflammation is related to various illnesses such as arthritis and psoriasis.
It could help soothe digestive problems
People who have ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease, showed improvement after consuming wheatgrass juice.
In a study involving patients with active ulcerative colitis, researchers divided the participants into two groups. One group took 100 ml of wheatgrass juice while the other group had the same amount of placebo. They received their respective remedies daily for a month.
At the end of the study, the researchers noted that those who took the wheatgrass juice remedy showed “significant reductions in disease activity” compared to those who received a placebo.
Precautions and Warnings
After knowing why wheatgrass is good for your health, please be take note of the following reminders.
What should I know before using wheatgrass?
Most studies indicate no significant adverse reactions when using wheatgrass. However, don’t forget to take into consideration the kind of product you are consuming.
For instance, wheatgrass tablets and powders may contain other ingredients that could result in adverse or allergic reactions.
Like mentioned earlier, people with gluten sensitivity or Celiac disease usually can enjoy wheatgrass because it doesn’t contain gluten.
Still, it’s possible for some to develop reactions especially if the wheatgrass they are consuming have undergone other processes. Sometimes, the way it’s harvested also affects its gluten content.
To be safe, if you have gluten sensitivity or Celiac disease, be cautious with wheatgrass.
How safe is wheatgrass?
It’s likely safe when taken in small, food amounts. However, as of now, there’s no information about the safety of wheatgrass when you use it long-term as a medicine.
Special precautions and warnings
If you plan on using wheatgrass as a medicine, you need to consult your doctor.
Since not much is known about its effects to breastfeeding and pregnant women, stay on the safe side and refrain from using it if you’re expecting or nursing.
If you have a medical condition and feel that wheatgrass may help you improve it, talk to your doctor before self-medicating. Don’t discontinue your medication or change your diet without an official advice from your physician.
Side-effects and Interactions
Even though wheatgrass could be good for health, it can cause constipation, nausea, and appetite loss.
It can also trigger some sensitivity and allergic reactions such as hives and swelling of the throat. If you develop allergic reactions, immediately discontinue use and go to the doctor right away.
As of now, there’s no information about wheatgrass and its interaction with foods and other drugs. If you are in a special diet or are taking medications, consult your doctor first before using any form of wheatgrass
Dosage and Forms
Even though wheatgrass is natural, you still need to be careful because there’s no study about what constitutes safe dosage.
To answer the question, how to eat wheatgrass, consider the following:
Currently, wheatgrass comes in tablet and powder forms. Often, the powder form is blended in water. Some people also add a spoonful of the powder in smoothies or fruit juices.
Others choose to juice wheatgrass by cutting its base and inserting the tips into the juicer. Please note that you will only be able to obtain small amounts of juice at a time. To have 1 ounce serving, you need half a cup of raw, fresh wheatgrass juice. Most people find the taste too strong, so they mix it with smoothies and fruit juices.
Finally, to eat wheatgrass fresh, cut its stalks and serve with other strong-tasting fruits.
While wheatgrass could be good for the health, there are very few studies to prove its effectiveness. As of now, there’s no information about how wheatgrass can improve a certain health condition. Thus, always use with caution and don’t proceed unless you are properly guided by a doctor.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.