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What does wheatgrass do to your body? Wheatgrass provides vital alkalizing benefits for the body, along with increasing absorption of nutrients like electrolytes, vitamin C and vitamin E. If you want to prevent cancer and other chronic diseases from flourishing in your body as you get older, creating an alkaline environment is essential. Acidosis (high levels of acid resulting from low alkalinity) is an all-too-common problem today, due to toxicity from the environment along with many people eating highly processed foods.
What gives wheatgrass the ability to prevent acidosis? Chlorophyll is primarily responsible. Chlorophyll has been shown to help naturally balance the body’s pH level and protect cells. This is one of the reasons that chlorophyll consumption is associated with anti-aging effects ranging from younger-looking skin to better weight management. So is wheatgrass good for your skin? With all that chlorophyll content, don’t be surprised if you notice a skin boost!
Will wheatgrass help me lose weight? Possibly! A study published in the journal Appetite in 2013 found that adding chlorophyll-containing compounds to high-carbohydrate meals suppresses hunger motivation and increases signals of satiety. Overall, adding chlorophyll-rich substances to meals appears to reduce food intake and prevent compensational eating later in the day, which may help to reduce body weight over time.
Wheatgrass benefits including having strong antioxidant capabilities. It can also lower oxidation/free radical damage that causes aging and contribute to disease formation. Studies have found that wheatgrass can significantly inhibit lipid peroxidation in the liver and protect mitochondria within cells. This is tied to reduced inflammation levels and lower risk for diseases like cancer, liver disease and heart disease.
Research regarding the antioxidant levels (ORAC values) of various “superfoods” has found that wheatgrass has an ORAC score “higher than those reported for many other natural extracts or vegetables.” Work done by the Department of Pharmacology at Gajara Raja Medical College in India has shown that some of the antioxidants present in wheatgrass include:
Studies have found that wheatgrass demonstrates anti-cancer potential. It seems to do so through the mechanism of inducing apoptosis (self-destruction of cancerous cells). According to research done by the Integrated Oncology and Palliative Care Unit in Israel, wheatgrass can be effectively used in holistic cancer treatment programs (even those that also use conventional treatments like chemotherapy). I also can be used for cancer prevention. Its benefits for overall immune function include regulating immunological activity and fighting oxidative stress that contributes to cell mutations.
Clinical trials show that wheatgrass may also help attenuate chemotherapy-related side effects, such as fatigue, malabsorption and deficiencies. Other than helping to prevent and treat cancer, clinical trials show that wheatgrass may induce synergistic benefits to those with other immune-related conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, hematological diseases, diabetes and obesity.
A study published in 2017 analyzed the effects of an aqueous wheatgrass extract on an oral squamous cell carcinoma cell line. Over just a 24-hour period, the researchers found that the wheatgrass extract had an inhibitory effect on the oral cancer cell line proliferation. The study points out how the anti-cancer benefits of wheatgrass are likely related to its high content of antioxidant enzymes, including superoxide dismutase and cytochrome oxidase. These have the ability to convert free radicals like reactive oxygen species to hydrogen peroxide and oxygen molecules. More studies are warranted, but this one suggests that wheatgrass may help to slow the growth of oral cancer.
Another in vitro study published in 2016 demonstrates the possibility that wheatgrass benefits cancer of the colon. This study found that wheatgrass slowed the progression of colon cancer and even caused some cancer cells to die. The researchers conclude that “the aqueous extract of wheatgrass represents a potential plant based anti-cancer agent.”
Does wheatgrass lower cholesterol? Studies conducted at Sharma University of Health Sciences in India show that wheatgrass is a medicinal plant for the heart and blood vessels. It can be effective in treating hyperlipidemia. In fact, it helps lower high cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
One study examined the effects of wheatgrass given to rabbits eating a high-fat diet that induced hyperlipidemia. Thirty rabbits were divided into three groups: one receiving a control diet, one receiving a high-fat diet and a group receiving a high-fat diet together with wheatgrass over a period of 10 weeks.
Fasting serum samples from the animals were analyzed for total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), malondialdehyde (MDA), reduced glutathione and vitamin C, and the results were compared. The high-fat diet resulted in hyperlipidemia and an increase in oxidative stress, along with lowered glutathione antioxidant levels and lowered vitamin C. However, wheatgrass supplementation taken along with a high-fat diet resulted in improved lipid levels (decreased total cholesterol and increased HDL-C). Wheatgrass also significantly reduced MDA levels and increased glutathione and vitamin C levels.
Some experts claim that wheatgrass nutrition contains over 100 different elements needed by man. One of the most noticeable (and important) nutrients in wheatgrass is chlorophyll.
Chlorophyll is the substance that gives wheatgrass its signature, bright green color. Like other nutrient-dense greens, it’s used in the human body for a number of important processes. It’s a natural liver cleanser and detoxifier, acts like an antioxidant to reduce free radical damage, is a blood strengthener (it has a similar chemical composition to that of hemoglobin), and can help give you a boost in energy.
But chlorophyll is not all wheatgrass has to offer. Wheatgrass benefits also include being loaded with amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), enzymes thatare needed for digestion, and many vitamins and minerals needed for disease-free living.
Wheatgrass is rich in the following nutrients:
Although research exists showing the benefits of wheatgrass, there have still not been many long-term studies showing possible interactions of wheatgrass or revealing much information about whether or not it might trigger allergies in some people. People who are allergic to other grasses may also be allergic to wheatgrass. As a result of cross-contamination and cross-pollination, it’s possible for wheatgrass to contain the pollen of other plants. If you have plant allergies, talk to your doctor before using wheatgrass products.
Most of the wheatgrass benefits we know about come from people who have used it for years and can attest to its positive effects. However, not every claim can be backed up yet with well-controlled scientific studies. Overall, it’s best to use wheatgrass as part of a balanced, healthy diet and not in place of whole vegetables or fruits.
That being said, wheatgrass is generally considered safe when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts for up to 18 months or when applied to the skin as a cream for up to six weeks. The safety of long-term use of wheatgrass as medicine is still unclear. What are the side effects of wheatgrass? Known wheatgrass side effects can include nausea, appetite loss and/or constipation.
Wheatgrass is a raw food. It’s usually grown in soil or water and consumed without being cooked. That means it could be contaminated with food-borne bacteria or mold in rare cases. If you’re pregnant, it might be best to either grow your own or avoid consuming it. If you have a known allergy to other grasses, wheat or ingredients commonly found in supplements, then always check with your doctor before using wheatgrass.
Wheatgrass is gluten-free when harvested from a growing wheat plant without any seeds. In that case, wheatgrass is considered safe for those with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. If you have celiac disease or a wheat allergy, your doctor may likely want you to avoid wheatgrass entirely due to the chances of cross-contamination. If you have a sensitivity to gluten, you should only use wheatgrass products that are certified gluten-free so you can get the wheatgrass benefits without the gluten
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