Wheatgrass extract is produced from young shoots of wheat (Triticum aestivum) and is rich in essential nutrients.
Wheatgrass is easy to grow and packed with nutrients like chlorophyll, making it highly popular in health foods and dietary supplements.
Furthermore, studies show that taking wheatgrass juice or supplements has many potential health benefits, so this common crop could have hidden potential…
Wheatgrass extract is derived from the young shoots of the common wheat plant and is widely regarded as a superfood thanks to its impressive nutrient content. While wheatgrass boasts an impressive nutrition profile and many potential benefits, it seems highly unlikely that such a potent supplement could come from a food crop that’s about as common as Wonder Bread.
Unlike sprouted wheat – the grain we’re all familiar with – wheatgrass is gluten-free, high in beneficial nutrients, and NOT something you’d use to bake a cake. In this article, we’ll be looking at the various uses and potential health benefits of wheatgrass to help you sort the wheat from the chaff when it comes to dietary supplements.
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wheat is ubiquitous in the West, used in everything from breakfast cereals to your daily bread, wheatgrass is mainly confined to health supplements and the occasional smoothie bar. However, wheatgrass extract is almost as old as sliced bread, and it was promoted as a food supplement in the 1930s, with cans of powdered grass being widely available by 1940.
Long before the craze for wheatgrass juice and smoothies, Charles F. Schnabel researched the nutritional contents of young grass shoots from wheat, barley, and rye for use in dietary supplements. He found that young shoots of wheat were rich in essential nutrients and improved the health and yield of farm animals, as well as supporting general health in humans.
While wheatgrass may have started as a feed supplement designed to increase the yield from livestock, don’t let that overshadow the many proven wheatgrass benefits for humans. Wheatgrass is brimming with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, and antioxidants linked to many potential health benefits, including:
Wheatgrass benefits from antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a highly beneficial dietary supplement. Wheatgrass extract contains a wide range of essential nutrients, including:
According to medical research, wheatgrass can help your body remove impurities and stored toxins, thanks to its high nutrient content. For example, the chlorophyll in wheatgrass benefits healthy liver function and aids in removing toxins, which may help improve energy levels and overall health.
Among the many benefits of wheatgrass, it also helps support gut health and digestion, as it contains high levels of enzymes that help your body break down food and absorb nutrients. Additionally, the detoxing effect helps clean your intestines, resulting in less bloating and abdominal discomfort, so taking wheatgrass juice or a supplement after a big dinner could help support your gut health.
Wheatgrass is a nutrient-dense food that’s low in calories and fat-free, helping promote satiety (the feeling of fullness) and lower cholesterol levels. According to studies, the antioxidant benefits of wheatgrass can help lower cholesterol and oxidative stress, reducing your chances of developing heart disease.
Wheatgrass benefits from antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that support your immune system and help ward off infection and disease. This is partly due to wheatgrass’ high vitamin C content, as it is well-known for its antioxidant effects and immune support, making it less likely to take a multivitamin if you use wheatgrass extract.
One of the more impressive benefits of wheatgrass is its potential ability to improve overall mental function and relieve anxiety, thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. These properties give wheatgrass neuroprotective effects, which may support cognitive function and help ward off neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s.
While there are many wheatgrass benefits to recommend, it isn’t the tastiest superfood and lacks the culinary excitement of ginger and turmeric, for example. Furthermore, heat degrades the nutritional content of wheatgrass, so it must be used quickly in fresh or dried form, leaving you with a decidedly, well, grassy taste.
Once upon a time, wheatgrass juice made from freshly harvested and blended grass was the most popular form, but pills, capsules, and powders are now the most common way people consume wheatgrass. These wheatgrass extract supplements are made from dried and powdered grass, making them convenient, consistent and much more cost-effective than keeping your own patch of grass.
As a whole food product, the quality of wheatgrass extract can vary greatly depending on how it’s grown and processed, with the nutrient quality declining sharply after harvesting. Extensive studies show that wheatgrass has the highest nutrition levels when grown slowly in cold weather, harvested just before or during the jointing stage and dried quickly.
As such, you should try to buy supplements made from whole wheatgrass grown naturally and processed quickly after harvesting for the best possible results. However, many producers of wheatgrass extract supplements grow it indoors or use less efficient drying methods, resulting in lower nutritional content and limiting the benefits of wheatgrass supplements.
Wheatgrass extract is widely considered safe, and it was studied extensively on animals before being approved for use in humans by medical journals like the Kansas City Medical Journal and Lancet. However, taking wheatgrass in a dietary supplement may cause mild side effects, such as:
These symptoms typically go away within 2 weeks or after you adjust to the wheatgrass, and drinking water after you take a wheatgrass supplement can help reduce the side effects. Allergic reactions are possible – especially those who are allergic to wheat or grass – but these supplements are generally safe and offer many wheatgrass benefits in a convenient package.
Wheatgrass extract is a powerful source of nutrients and has many potential health benefits when taken as part of a balanced lifestyle, though the benefits of wheatgrass have not been approved to treat or prevent serious illnesses. While wheatgrass juice is a popular way to enjoy this health food, many beneficial nutrients are lost in the juicing process, so we highly recommend taking whole wheatgrass or supplements made with dried and powdered grass.
And as with any dietary supplement, you should start with a smaller dose before working your way up to an amount that has noticeable benefits, which lowers the chances of side effects and helps you make the most of your supplements.