Numerous health benefits of wheatgrass

This humble grass has been on the health-food radar for a while. Wheatgrass is a nutrient-rich, young grass in the wheat family that is sold as a dietary supplement in a variety of forms including tablets, capsules and liquid extracts.

It is often used as a juice or added to smoothies or tea. You can even buy wheatgrass seeds or kits to grow your own wheatgrass at home.

Proponents say that wheatgrass has numerous health benefits. The chief component, chlorophyll, in wheatgrass is claimed to rid the body of toxins, and strengthen the immune system and improve digestive track functions.

According to the American Cancer Society, advocates of wheatgrass claim that it can help cure: bronchitis and other respiratory conditions, fever, infection, skin and digestive disorders.

A 30 ml serving contains (the recom- mended daily dose is 60-90 ml) 7 calories, no fat and virtually no carbohydrates and protein, about 10% DV (daily value) of iron and 7% DV of Vitamin C.

So why all the hoopla over wheat- grass? Chlorophyll—the green pigment that plays a critical role in photosynthesis, is touted by natural health advocates as an all-star health compound that increases the blood’s oxygen content.

An Israeli study of 60 patients with breast cancer concluded that wheatgrass juice may reduce myelotoxicity and chemotherapy dosage. Another small study in the journal Indian Pediatrics concluded that patients with thalassemia required fewer blood transfusions after consuming 100 ml of wheatgrass, daily.

Chlorophyll can be extracted from many plants, but wheatgrass, proponents say is superior because it has been found to have over 100 elements needed by human beings. If grown in organic soil, it absorbs 92 of the known 102 minerals from the soil.

Several natural health articles and websites claim that consuming 60 ml of wheatgrass contains the same nutritional benefits as several servings of vegetables.

But as yet, no clinical trials support this claim or other validations of wheatgrass’ positive efects on tumour shrinkage, prevention of heart disease and diabetes, or its role in the elimination of heavy metals from tissues. —Sakina Yusuf Khan
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