Let food be thy medicine! Here at The Naturopathic Kitchen we embrace the healing power of nature by focusing on the healing power of our favorite culinary herbs and food. Today we look into wheatgrass and what it can offer our health!
Most people know of wheatgrass as a shot at a juice bar. This practice has actually been popular for much of the last century and, with the organic movement, has experienced a resurgence in popularity. Its high concentration of chlorophyll provides a deep green color which has earned it the nickname “Green Blood.” With chlorophyll’s structural similarity to hemoglobin, it is aptly named!
Where does wheatgrass come from? Where can I find it?
Use of wheatgrass dates back to the ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations over 5000 years ago. However, it only gained popularity in Western civilization in the 1930s when a chemist named Charles F. Schnabel experimented with fresh-cut wheatgrass to nurse dying chickens back to health. The hens not only recovered, but they produced eggs at a faster rate. After this discovery, Schnabel began spreading the word about the health benefits of wheatgrass to the public. Since then, it has remained firmly in the “superfood” category with additional research showing it safe in human populations.
Today, wheatgrass can be found in smoothie and juice bars. Since the benefits come from drinking juiced wheatgrass, it is best to juice or consume the wheatgrass immediately after it is harvested. This leaves only a few options for truly obtaining the benefits of wheatgrass: buying a shot from a juice bar or growing your own and juicing it yourself. Luckily, wheatgrass seeds are easy to come by online or in health food stores. They are even easier to grow. Wheatgrass is also available in the form of powders, capsules, and tablets.
How does wheatgrass help my health?
For a grass, wheatgrass is relatively high in protein and contains 19 amino acids, making it just 2 amino acids short of complete protein. It is also a great source of nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, electrolytes and antioxidants. Due to the high presence of chlorophyll which contains thylakoids, wheatgrass has been shown to help decrease feelings of hunger after a high-carb meal and lead to weight loss.1 Research has also shown that wheatgrass is a good adjunct to chemotherapy, increasing effectiveness and reducing side effects.2
What medical conditions/symptoms is wheatgrass used for?
- High cholesterol
- Decrease oxidative stress from high fat diets
- Rhinosinusitis (common cold)
- Oral and colon cancers
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ulcerative Colitis
When should wheatgrass be avoided?
Wheatgrass can cause nausea, loss of appetite, and constipation but is otherwise very safe and has a long track record of use. Since it can lower blood sugar, it is best to monitor blood sugar levels if taking insulin for diabetes. It should also be avoided in populations allergic to wheat and gluten.
Let’s try out some tasty wheatgrass recipes!
Blueberry Banana Wheatgrass Smoothie
- 2 T Chia seeds (pre-soaked)
- 1 c organic spinach
- 1 c almond milk
- ½ c organic banana
- ½ c organic blueberries
- 1 T wheat grass
Place all ingredients in a blender jar and blend until smooth.
Thank you to Easy Healthy Smoothie for this recipe!
Easy Wheatgrass Shots
• Fresh wheatgrass (enough for a couple large handfuls)
• 1/2 c coconut water
- Put a couple handfuls of fresh wheatgrass and the coconut water into a blender. Blend on high until liquefied.
- Hold a nut milk bag over a large bowl and pour the mixture into the bag.
- Squeeze the bag until the pulp inside looks like a light green floss. Throw out the floss.
- Pour the green liquid evenly into an ice cube tray and freeze.
Enjoy by allowing a frozen cube to melt in a shot glass or add to a smoothie!
Thank you to Wild Remedies for this recipe!
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