(* Excerpt Dr Axe Food is Medicine)
21 Wheatgrass Benefits
Wheatgrass is a potent source of a number of vital nutrients your body can’t do without. Dozens of studies on wheatgrass — and also its individual antioxidants and nutrients — show that its health benefits include:
- Supplying a high dose of chlorophyll
- Encouraging a highly oxygenated environment in your body
- Promoting a healthy metabolism
- Establishing an alkaline environment in the body
- Acting as an antibacterial by halting growth of unfriendly bacteria
- Rebuilding and strengthening blood
- Restoring fertility and balancing hormones
- Rebuilding damaged tissue
- Detoxifying the body of heavy metals
- Purifying liver
- Helping with blood sugar regulation
- Acting as an antiseptic to treat odors, strep infections, wounds, skin grafts, sinusitis, ear infections, varicose veins and scars
- Helping to prevent tooth decay
- Aiding in sore throat pain reduction
- Fighting skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis
- Improving digestion
- Reducing inflammation
- Improving eyesight, particularly night vision
- Helping with sleep
- Boosting the immune system
- Improving nerve signaling and mental well-being
Here are the four most prominent wheatgrass benefits:
1. Alkalizing the Body & Boosting Nutrient Absorption
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. Cancers and other diseases flourish in acidic environments, but cease to exist in alkaline ones.
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.
2. Lowering Free Radical Damage
Wheatgrass benefits including having strong antioxidant capabilities and 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”. (5) 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: (6)
- phenolic compounds
- sulfonic acid
- DPPH (1,1′-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl)
3. Raising Immunity & Cancer Protection
Studies have found that wheatgrass demonstrates anti-cancer potential, and that 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), and also for cancer prevention. (7) Its benefits for overall immune function include regulating immunological activity and fighting oxidative stress that contributes to cell mutations.
Research shows that wheatgrass can 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.
4. Lowering High Cholesterol & Triglycerides
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 (it helps lower high cholesterol and triglyceride levels along with increases in inflammation and oxidative stress).
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 (TC), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), malondialdehyde (MDA), reduced glutathione (GSH) 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. (8)