If you think grass is only for cows to graze on, you 've probably never heard of wheatgrass. Wheatgrass is a common wheat plant that grows abundantly in the temperate regions of Europe and North America. In organic health stores and gyms, you see it as a dark green juice or in the form of powder, capsules and gels. The products that are sold are made from the young growing stage of the plant, just after it has sprouted, to ensure its efficacy. Wheatgrass was first discovered as a health supplement in the 1930s when it was used as an experiment on hens. Its popularity rose in the ‘60s when Ann Wigmore began making her studies on the health benefits of wheatgrass available to the public. But what is wheatgrass, what does wheatgrass benefit and how much is ideal for supplementation?
The Characteristics of Wheatgrass
Since the nutrients in wheatgrass are most effective when they are young and fresh, some people take the trouble of planting their own wheatgrass in their homes. However, companies are using advancements in technology to preserve the nutrients in wheatgrass during processing, and they guarantee that their products are just as effective as the raw, natural and homegrown version. As a supplement, it's one of the universal health foods taken by numerous people to maintain healthy body systems. Its key ingredient is chlorophyll, the pigment that gives plants their green color and keeps them alive. When released into the atmosphere, chlorophyll helps maintain cleaner air and a safer environment. It also has 20 kinds of amino acids, about 90 kinds of minerals and vitamins, enzymes and other important nutrients. One teaspoon contains just about one gram of protein, 10-15 calories and zero fat and cholesterol.
The Health Benefits of Wheatgrass
Reading about the health benefits of wheatgrass and hearing other people talk about it from first-hand experience can be overwhelming. There seem to be so many testamonials out there that it’s no wonder this supplement has been called the miracle medicine. Here are the most popular uses:
- To detoxify the body and lose weight – Wheatgrass opens up the body’s portals, the intestines, skin, kidney, lungs and liver. When wheatgrass penetrates the bloodstream, it starts to eliminate the accumulated toxins including heavy metals that were obtained from free radicals and an unhealthy lifestyle. Obese and overweight people may lose weight as a result of detoxification.
- To boost the immune system – The vitamins and minerals in wheatgrass help strengthen the body’s immune system, giving it the weapons to fight bacteria that cause infections and inflammations.
- To maintain clear, healthy skin, hair and teeth – Wheatgrass works at the cellular level, regenerating new skin, making hair luxuriant and preventing tooth decay with its rich contents of Vitamin A, selenium and calcium.
- To treat various acute and chronic diseases – Wheatgrass, known to contain vitamins A, B, C, E and K and the minerals calcium, magnesium, selenium, iron and zinc, among many other nutrients, helps heals the common cold, bronchitis, sinusitis, infections of the urinary tract, constipation, chronic diseases - like gout and rheumatic arthritis - and common skin disorders.
- To prevent Type 2 diabetes mellitus and its grave complications – The magnesium in chlorophyll helps to regulate blood sugar levels and prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes and the ensuing complications, such as cardiovascular problems, skin and eye disorders, and delayed wound healing.
- To decrease the risks for cancer or slow down its progress – Wheatgrass is used in alternative medicine to prevent or slow down the progress of certain cancers, like breast cancer and colon cancer. The chlorophyll component acts like the human hemoglobin and increases the oxygenation of cells that help to retard the growth of cancer cells.
- To halt the progress of thalassemia – Thalassemia is a hereditary blood disorder characterized by abnormally low levels of hemoglobin. The chlorophyll in wheatgrass has the same molecular structure and action as hemoglobin. Giving wheatgrass to thalassemia patients lessens the incidence of blood transfusions and naturally raises their red blood cell levels.
Direct Effects of Wheatgrass on the User
A regular dose of wheatgrass, whether taken as a gel or capsule or in its liquid form, has positive effects on the physical, psychological and mental states of people taking it. Among their claims are:
- An overall sense of well-being, including physical alertness and mood elevation;
- Higher energy levels to participate in activities;
- Better and more restful sleep;
- Improved eyesight;
- Decreased appetite;
- Lessened nervousness; and
- Increased mental ability.
The proper dose for wheatgrass varies from one person to the next. Factors that must be taken into consideration include age, health status, weight, existing disease conditions and other elements that may have a bearing on wheatgrass intake.
The average healthy person may take 3.5 grams in powder or tablet form or a 30 mL dose, once a day. A beginner may have a lesser dose and increase it gradually. For faster healing effects, increase the dosage to double or triple the regular amount and take it one to three times a day. Each product has its own label with directions, so that can serve as a guide for dosage.
Regardless of the form, liquid, capsule or gel, wheatgrass gives its users the same benefits of a better immune system and a healthy body to let them enjoy life to the fullest. Wheatgrass is sold in local drugstores and in online health shops. Compare product quality and prices to get the most out of your purchase, and don't be afraid to try different forms or variations of wheatgrass. Many people report better results when taking powder or liquid forms of the supplement, mainly because they can tailor their dosage specifically to meet their needs. Mixing wheatgrass powder in with a glass of orange juice is a great way to get the full benefits of this powerful plant without having to deal with its earthy taste.
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