Is Wheatgrass a ‘Superfood?’

For over 60 years, health proponents have claimed amazing nutritional superpowers for wheatgrass, most often consumed as a juice.   Derived from the young green shoots of the wheat plant, wheatgrass does contain vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, amino acids, and fiber, as do many fruits and vegetables — so there are definitely some health benefits.   It is a good source of antioxidants like Vitamins A, E, and C, and does contain several of the B vitamins, as well as minerals like magnesium, zinc, and iron.

The claims made about health benefits of wheatgrass include the ability to fight off colds, fevers, stomach issues, sluggish digestive system, and skin conditions.    While wheatgrass has a history dating back to ancient Ayurvedic and Egyptian medical traditions, current thinking is that wheatgrass is no more powerful than many other fruits and vegetables.   On average, one ounce of wheatgrass juice has about the same vitamin and mineral content of 3 ounces of fresh vegetables.   By consuming a wide variety of plant foods, you can increase your intake of the nutritional resources you need every day.

Another frequent claim made about wheatgrass is that it can heal your digestive system and improve regularity.  Whether taken in juice form or in wheatgrass powder capsules, fiber is a significant component, just as it is in most fruits and vegetables.  Most nutritionists, however, favor using whole foods whenever possible, so that you obtain all the benefits of a food in its most natural source.

Like many plant foods, wheatgrass can contribute to the alkaline balance of your diet.   While meat and dairy, for instance, are highly acidic, vegetable nutrients can help your body maintain a more neutral composition, which is better for overall health.   This is thought to be the desired state for disease prevention, so any nutritional additions that can help with this balance are positive.  Additionally, a highly acidic system is thought to be damaging to strong bones — though the kidneys help to maintain pH balance, nutritional assistance through alkalizing foods can help make that process more consistent.   The combination of healthy alkaline foods, strength training, and weight bearing exercise can be a great way to maintain strong bones, especially as we age.

One of Many Super Nutritional Choices

Wheatgrass has often been recommended for serious disease conditions, for overall nutrition; because it is easy to consume and digest, the likelihood increases that patients will comply.  Improving your alkaline balance, adding whole food nutrition, and significantly increasing antioxidant intake can definitely have an impact on the state of your health.   For most of the reported health claims made, while there may seem to be correlations between taking wheatgrass and creating a positive result, there is not definitive medical confirmation of the connection.   In many of the studies, done on wheatgrass alone, even where positive impacts are found, the studies were not comparative.  In other words, several other green vegetables could have had the same effect — they just weren’t measured or tested against the wheatgrass results.

Popular at juice bars, wheatgrass may be a great addition to your nutritional regimen — because it’s more easily digested in a liquid form, it’s often added as a ‘boost’ to a favorite juice blend or served as a ‘shot’ to supplement daily nutrition.  Since it’s gluten-free, non-dairy, vegan, low carb, and contains no artificial sweeteners or flavors, wheatgrass can be a ‘clean’ nutritional option that works for those who may have food allergies or sensitivities.

As an easy way to add more vegetable nutrition to your diet, it’s certainly a positive supplemental option — but not a replacement — for daily diet requirements in fruit and vegetable servings.  And if it’s a new addition to your diet, a new way to enjoy a fresh nutritious green resource, have at it — that’s a win for you!  You may even create your own story of super results, and expand your nutritional variety at the same time!

Sources:

Healthy Eating Guide: Wheatgrass. retrieved February 4, 2017, from Web MD Web Site: http://www.webmd.boots.com/healthy-eating/guide/wheatgrass

Sir Wheatgrass, ( June 23, 2016). Myths About Wheatgrass. retrieved February 4, 2017, from Healthy Juicer Web Site: https://www.healthyjuicer.com/myths-about-wheatgrass.html

13 Debunked Benefits Of Wheatgrass For Vibrant Health. retrieved February 4, 2017, from Bembu Web Site: http://bembu.com/benefits-of-wheatgrass