Wheatgrass, a thick, dry grass similar to hay or straw, is closely related to wheat. Being abundant in chlorophyll, wheatgrass is also named as “green blood.” Moreover, wheatgrass products possess an unusual green color as well.
Research declares wheatgrass an extremely beneficial herb for living organisms. It was primarily grown to make hay. However, at present, it is extensively used as a natural and holistic medicine for generations. Wheatgrass has become popular over years. People can consume it raw or in the form of juice as well. It is also available in the form of capsules, liquid suspensions, or as a powder to add to smoothies.
Research reveals numerous benefits of wheatgrass. From helping you lose weight to fighting carcinogenic cells, wheatgrass can make wonders!
Wheatgrass is rich in nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins A, C, E, amino acids, calcium, iron, and magnesium. Eight of the amino acids present in wheatgrass are essential amino acids. Our bodies cannot produce essential amino acids, thus wheatgrass can serve as a potential dietary source for them.
In addition to vitamins C and E, wheatgrass is also rich in glutathione which is a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants are compounds that fight free radicals and prevent cell damage caused by oxidative stress. Studies relate antioxidants with protection against certain conditions like heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and neurodegenerative diseases. A test-tube study, evaluating the antioxidant activity of wheatgrass, states that wheatgrass can potentially reduce the oxidative damage to cells.
Wheatgrass lowers the level of cholesterol in menopausal women
In addition, one of the recent researches states that wheatgrass helps to manage levels of cholesterol in menopausal women.
People with high levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides are said to be suffering from “Hyperlipidemia.” A scientific research has found wheatgrass as a natural medicine to reduce high levels of lipids. A study in the Journal of Dietary Supplements suggests that wheatgrass (Triticum aestivum) supplements can potentially improve the levels of cholesterol in hyperlipidemic individuals, particularly in menopausal women.
The researchers at The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda in India evaluated the effect of wheatgrass supplementation on atherogenic lipoproteins, inflammation, and menopausal symptoms in hyper-lipidemic women.
For the study, 59 hyperlipidemic women were divided into two groups;
- 30 participants constituted the control group
- 29 participants formed the treatment group
Researchers provided the treatment group with 3.5 g of encapsulated freeze-dried wheatgrass for 10 weeks daily. On the other side, the control group did not receive any kind of treatment.
The results of the study revealed that the women from the control experienced a 5.4 percent reduction in total cholesterol. Moreover, treatment with wheatgrass led to a 4.4 percent drop in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and 9.5 percent decrease in triglycerides. However, the participants of the control group also experienced a six percent decline in the levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. In comparison with the control group, the levels of total cholesterol, Apolipoprotein-B (Apo-B), and triglycerides in the treatment group were lowered significantly. In addition, researchers also reported that the wheatgrass supplementation somehow improved menopausal symptoms.
The findings of the study concluded that a 3.5 g of wheatgrass supplementation per day for 10 weeks can cause significant reductions in the levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, and Apo-B. Moreover, the supplementation imposes no significant effects on the levels of HDL cholesterol.
In another study, researchers found that wheatgrass decreases oxidative stress and improves cholesterol levels in rabbits fed a high-fat diet.
Additional benefits of Wheatgrass
Apart from treating high levels of cholesterol, wheatgrass can benefit numerous other conditions as well. These may include,
Wheatgrass can fight cancer
Wheatgrass, as mentioned above, is rich in antioxidants. It may help to destroy cancer cells and reduce the development of cancer. It can also mediate the side effects of chemotherapy. Some of the test-tube studies validate this fact and have found that wheatgrass can potentially help kill cancer cells.
A test-tube study reports that wheatgrass extract decreases the spread of mouth cancer cells by 41%. In another test-tube study, the researchers revealed that wheatgrass can induce cell death, reducing the number of leukemia cells by up to 65%.
Some research indicates that wheatgrass juice, combined with traditional cancer treatment, minimizes the adverse effects of the condition. Impaired bone marrow is a common complication of chemotherapy. A study found that wheatgrass juice decreases the risk of impaired bone marrow function in 60 people with breast cancer.
However, there is still no support on the possible anti-cancer effects of wheatgrass in humans.
Wheatgrass regulates blood sugar level
Some animal studies show that wheatgrass helps to reduce blood sugar levels. High blood sugar is associated with a wide array of symptoms which include,
- Frequent urination
Some serious consequences related to high blood sugar level include nerve damage, skin infections, and vision problems. Some animal studies link wheatgrass to help keep blood sugar levels under control. One study indicated that giving wheatgrass to diabetic rats, with modified levels of certain enzymes, helps to lower blood sugar levels. Another study found that treating diabetic rats with wheatgrass extract, for 30 days, can significantly decrease the blood sugar levels.
Wheatgrass reduces inflammation
Inflammation is a normal corporal response that is triggered by the immune system in order to protect the body against injuries and infections. However, chronic inflammation is a potential cause of many diseases including cancer, heart disease, and autoimmune disorders.
Studies link chlorophyll, in wheatgrass, to reduce inflammation. Chlorophyll is a powerful anti-inflammatory pigment. One test-tube study showed that chlorophyll can inhibit the activity of proteins that trigger inflammation. In addition, a test-tube study found that the compounds in chlorophyll reduce inflammation in arteries-extracted cells.
Other studies suggest that wheatgrass may help treat ulcerative colitis i.e. an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) characterized by inflammation in the large intestine. A study finds that 100 ml of wheatgrass juice, for one month, can reduce the severity of disease and rectal bleeding in patients with ulcerative colitis.
Wheatgrass can help you lose weight
Wheatgrass can help you lose weight. Human and animal studies have found that wheatgrass contains thylakoids that increase satiety or a sense of fullness and aid in weight loss. One small study indicates that a high-carbohydrate meal supplemented with thylakoids intensifies feelings of satiety, compared to a placebo.
Moreover, a study in rats showed that thylakoids slow down the emptying of the stomach, increasing the release of hormones that decrease hunger pangs. Another study demonstrates that giving thylakoids to rats, on a high-fat diet, results in a decreased food intake and body weight.