Wheatgrass: Miracle Or Myth?

This is a version of an article we published in many directories, ezines and blogs, for example EzineArticles.com.

Sorting wheatgrass facts from fiction can be a difficult process. From the earliest research on the beneficial effects of wheatgrass on ailing chickens in the 1920s, claims for wheatgrass benefits for humans have burgeoned. Skeptics, too, have multiplied as fast as wheatgrass grows. In 2006, Brian Dunning wrote “Speptiod # 06,” which criticized many claims, focusing on the lack of scientific research into the claims. In the ensuing years, that research has begun to be published.

So what are the wheatgrass facts? In a nutshell, there’s a grain of truth in most of the claims–but few are “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

Claim: wheatgrass is very high in vitamins and other nutrients.

Fact: it is just about the same as any other green vegetable. Compare two ounces of wheatgrass juice to a large serving of broccoli or spinach and you find the protein of all three to be virtually identical. Wheatgrass has 4 times the vitamin E of broccoli and 1/3 more than spinach, but broccoli has 25 times as much vitamin C as wheatgrass and spinach has 8 times. Vitamin B12 is often touted as one of wheatgrass’ major components. Two ounces have 0.3 micrograms–admittedly more than spinach and broccoli, neither of which have any, but this is still only 1/2 of 1% of the minimum daily requirement for B12. Wheatgrass does have significant, just not overwhelming, amounts of numerous important vitamins, minerals, and other micro-nutrients. It is good for you.

Claim: The chlorophyll, which is 70% of wheatgrass juice, cures some cancers, some digestive diseases, and clears heavy metals from the body.

Fact: In very small tests, all of those claims have some truth, but wheatgrass is not “the cure” for any cancer, digestive disease, or anemia. Some children with a hereditary anemia were able to lengthen the time between blood transfusions when they drank 100 ml. of wheatgrass juice each day. Women with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy needed fewer of the drugs which help re-build blood components when they had a similar amount of daily wheatgrass. Similar amounts seem to ameliorate the extent of ulcerative colitis. Wheatgrass, moreover, showed no counter-indications in any of these cases (if you don’t count its taste). So, wheatgrass is probably an aid to good health without major side effects for most people.

Claim: wheatgrass is gluten-free.

Fact: It is usually gluten-free, if it is harvested after all of the protein in the seed has been converted for plant growth. Harvested too early, it can still have some of the gluten proteins which will be concentrated in juice. Probably a tiny amount–but if you have sensitivities, you may want to avoid it.

Claim: even mold on wheatgrass can be avoided in the juice. Fact: wheat grown indoors in closely packed trays is prone to having the ungerminated seeds mold in humid conditions. The visible mold can be removed, and, of course, you don’t juice the unsprouted grain. However, mold reproduces by microscopic spores which might be on the grass blades. If your intolerance to mold is high, it might be good to avoid wheatgrass juice.

To preserve the good things in wheatgrass, you need to juice it properly. Either a hand-cranked juicer or an electric single- or double-auger masticating juicer like the Omega 8006 juicer is needed. These slow-speed juicers squeeze the juice out, rather than chopping it up and pushing it out a strainer as do the high-speed juicers. That cutting both bruises the blades and creates much higher oxidation–neither of which preserves the nutrients. In addition, the high-speed juicers create significant heat which further degrades the juice. Another warning: if you can’t drink it immediately, store it in the refrigerator in a container just the size of the juice so it can not further oxidize.

Miracle? No, but not a myth either. Wheatgrass benefits are a fact. Its juice–properly grown, harvested, juiced, and stored–is a healthy choice, and that is a fact.

Learn more about the wheatgrass benefits and Omega 8006 juicer  elsewhere on this site.

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