The latest health food that has really had an impact on me and my overall well being came as a huge surprise to me. I was visiting a friend in an unfamiliar city and had just arrived to meet her on a busy shopping street. I was an hour or so early and the hustle and bustle was getting a bit overwhelming.
As I looked around I saw a tranquil looking juice bar tucked just down a side street and made a bee-line there. The first thing I noticed as I entered was behind the display counter was what looked like a tray of grass! The sign beside it was advertising drinking wheatgrass daily for overall health.
I ordered a shot alongside my usual green smoothie and was impressed by how vibrant green the liquid was. It was bitter, earthy and I could see why it’s sold as a shot not a full glass of juice!
The results after taking the wheatgrass were amazing. I felt awake, clear headed and my energy levels stayed high all day.
When I returned home from my trip I decided to grow my own wheatgrass and I haven’t looked back since. The biggest question I often get asked about wheatgrass is how much should you drink per day?
How much wheatgrass you should drink per day depends on whether you are new to it or not. Start with 1-2 oz once a day and work up from there. If you get on well with it then you can work up to 4oz twice daily.
Wheatgrass juice has loads of health benefits and is defiantly worth all the hype. This article aims to cover all the basics and will help get you started on your own journey towards better health.
WHAT IS WHEATGRASS
Exactly as the name suggests, wheatgrass (triticum aestivum) is just young wheat. At 7-10 days old the wheat plant is in it’s youthful, grassy stage. The plant is bright green with thick leaves and packed full of goodness.
Wheatgrass juice can be made from the freshly cut grass or it can be bought in powdered form ready to be rehydrated. The powder is quick, convenient and has plenty of goodness but if you want to maximize the health benefits, it’s best to grow your own!
Wheatgrass grow at home kits are readily available online and it is a very quick and easy plant to grow. Read on to find out more about home-growing and juicing your own wheatgrass.
6 HEALTH BENEFITS OF WHEATGRASS
I know this is the most inviting wheatgrass benefit for me!
Weight loss has forever been my nemesis and I feel I could use all the extra help in this area.
To understand how wheatgrass helps you lose weight it is important to know that wheatgrass is very high in chlorophyll. This is the part of the plant that turns sunlight into energy (photosynthesis). Chlorophyll is contained in chloroplasts. These are basically just little packets in the plant cells that work like engines.
Squeezed in alongside chlorophyll are lots of molecules called thylakoids. This study here suggests that thykaloids help regulate absorption of fat and carbohydrates, thus lessening chances of developing obesity. Alongside this, another study has found a link between thykaloids and reduced hunger as well.
Of course it’s important to drink wheatgrass juice alongside eating a healthy, balanced diet in order to see these weight loss benefits.
Inflammation is the result of stress of some kind on the human body. If left unchecked, inflammation goes on to form diseases and even cancer. A huge benefit of wheatgrass is that it can actually help reduce inflammation so lessens your chances of getting sick.This study has shown that chlorophyll works on the signalling pathways to inhibit inflammation. This helps prevent autoimmune diseases and inflammatory bowel disease (and other digestive system conditions). This paper has shown that drinking wheatgrass juice can help alleviate symptoms in people that suffer from ulcerative colitis.
Stabilises Blood Sugar Levels
Extreme fluctuations in blood sugars levels causes a whole host of issues from dizziness, low energy levels to frequent urination and if it gets really bad it can even lead to coma. If your blood sugars stay too high for too long it’s likely you’ll develop diabetes. The good news is that wheatgrass can help. Wheatgrass supplementation has been shown to help control diabetes in animal studies.
Wheatgrass may help lower your cholesterol! High cholesterol (alongside high blood pressure) is one of the biggest indicators of heart disease. This study looked at rats with high cholesterol and found that wheatgrass juice helps lower cholesterol so may have similar effects in people. With heart disease being responsible for 1 in 4 deaths in the USA, this is very good news.
As part of your normal metabolism your body produces things called reactive oxygen species (free radicals). If these don’t get cleared away they cause stress and damage to cells which can lead to illness and even cancer. Wheatgrass is high in antioxidants which are compounds that remove these free radicals. This helps your body to stay fit and healthy and free from illnesses and supports a healthy immune system.
Packed Full Of Nutrients
Similar to broccoli, spinach and other dark leafy greens, wheatgrass is a superfood. It’s packed full of nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, vitamin B12, potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron. It also contains a good amount of plant protein in the form of essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein). Alongside this, the chlorophyll found in wheatgrass may help bad breath, acne and even constipation.
Now we have covered all the awesome health benefits found in wheatgrass it’s important to address any side effects. Wheatgrass is generally considered gluten free (this being mainly found in the harvested seeds) but if you suffer from gluten intolerance or celiac disease then it’s best to consult your physician before trying wheatgrass juice.
When used fresh, wheatgrass can quickly start to decompose and it is very prone to mould growing on it. Spoilage can happen very quickly so if you’re suspicious the wheatgrass isn’t as fresh as it could be, best dispose of the batch and start again.
Finally some people don’t get on well with wheatgrass at all. It can cause nausea, diarrhoea and even headaches. if you’re not use to the detoxification process. If you experience this after consuming wheatgrass best avoid it in the future.
HOW MUCH WHEATGRASS JUICE PER DAY?
So you’ve decided you are keen to go ahead with adding wheatgrass to your diet. How much you take depends on a few factors. Powdered or fresh, whether you’ve tried it before or not and also your own routine has to fit around it.
Fresh wheatgrass juice is usually taken in shots. If you’re brand new to wheatgrass best start with 1-2 ounces. If you’re familiar with it then you can increase this to 4 ounces. If you’re using powdered form then 3-6 grams (about 1 tablespoon) is enough to make up a shot or add to a smoothie. The serving size can vary a bit between brands so make sure you check the label first.
Drinking a glass of water following the wheatgrass shot can help minimise side effects such as stomach cramps and nausea.
Wheatgrass can be taken once or twice daily. If you’re new to it start with a shot in the morning at breakfast and if that suits you well you can add in a shot in the evening as well.
POWDER OR FRESH?
Wheatgrass comes in various forms which can appear a bit overwhelming when you start out. To find out which option is best for you really depends on your lifestyle.
Fresh wheatgrass is messy, time consuming and takes a small amount of know how to cultivate the plant. That being said, if you’re a keen gardener with plenty of space at home then it is a simple plant to grow. The health benefits from using the whole plant is slightly superior to powdered and some people prefer the fresh taste.
Wheatgrass powder is quick, easy to use and store and keeps for a long time. It can be grabbed on the go and added to smoothies and other juices to save time. It still contains plenty of the health benefits in its powdered form so is worthwhile if you can’t manage to grow some yourself.
Wheatgrass extract also comes in capsule form for those who can’t stand the taste. This is super quick and easy to use and perfect for very busy people. The only downside is the capsule production means the wheatgrass does lose some of its health benefits. Powdered or capsule form can help alleviate side effects as well.
HOW TO GROW WHEATGRASS
To grow your own wheatgrass you need very little equipment. You will need your wheatgrass seeds, a container or jar to soak them, a sieve (or mesh), a tray to plant them, some newspaper and some soil (light potting soil is best).
Start by putting your seeds in a jar of water (covered with a mesh) and leave them to soak for 8 hours. Using the sieve or mesh drain the seeds and rinse well. Return them to the empty jar and rinse them with water 2-3 times a day until you notice small sprouts starting to show. This should happen after about 3 days. Now it’s time for planting.
Fill your tray with a layer of soil (about 1 inch should do). Make sure your tray is designed for planting seeds with holes in the bottom for drainage. If there’s no holes then carefully cut some yourself using a craft knife.
Once the soil is added to the tray sprinkle the sprouting seeds over it and gently water it enough to dampen the soil.
Cover the seeds with the newspaper and spray it with water (or sprinkle water on top).
Keep the tray in a bright, warm area of the house but out of direct sunlight. Keep the newspaper damp (but not heavy with water) by spraying once or twice daily.
When the grass is about 1-2 inches tall you can remove the newspaper but continue to water the seedlings daily.
When the grass reaches around 5 inches tall it’s ready for harvesting. Using scissors simply cut the grass near the root, give it a wash and it’s ready to go in the juicer!
Wheatgrass juice will keep in the fridge for about 5 days but it does lose its nutritional value over time so it is best enjoyed fresh.
WHAT CAN I ADD WHEATGRASS TO?
Use of wheatgrass juice (whether fresh juice or powdered) can be surprisingly easy. On its own or combined with other freshly pressed green juices (or any other type of vegetable juice) is quick and simple. It can be added to green smoothies for a healthy boost. Added to breakfast bowls (acai berry or chia pudding) or even cold soup options can help sneak wheatgrass in without the concentrated flavor.
Wheatgrass juice is a superfood. It’s packed full of nutrition and is easy to grow at home ready to be juiced. You can get it in powdered or capsule form for a speedy boost but fresh is best. Start with a small amount and gradually increase your intake if you get on well with it.