Have you ever walked into a smoothie shop and wondered what is that green grass-looking plant sitting on top of the counter with the fruits and protein powders? Well, turns out, it is wheatgrass, and if you are like me, before writing this blog, I had no idea if it had any health benefits. Turns out, it does! Let’s take a look:
Wheatgrass is considered a food, and it grows from the seed of the wheat plant Triticum Aestivum. It is available in the form of juice, powder, and tablets, and it can be added to soups, yogurts, juices, or taken as a regular dietary supplement.
Even though wheatgrass may be popping up more and more, there is only a small body of research on its benefits. In vitro studies showed anti-cancer properties when wheatgrass is used in its fermented wheat germ extract form, and small clinical trials have also shown that wheat grass consumption may benefit rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and diabetes, among other health conditions. While these results are encouraging, these studies were small with many limitations. There is still more research needed before making conclusions about the benefits of consuming wheatgrass.
Even if there isn’t enough research on wheatgrass as a whole, there are proven benefits to some of the vitamins and nutrients that are inherent to this plant, including chlorophyll, flavonoids, and vitamins C and E.
Why are these components important?
Scientific research studies on vitamin C show health benefits associated with daily intake of vitamin C. The findings reveal that regular intake of this vitamin shorten the duration of colds and the symptoms associated with it by 59%.
Flavonoids are compounds found in foods or in dietary supplements that offer neurological and cardiovascular health benefits.
Now that we explored some of the basic health benefits wheatgrass has to offer as a food or dietary supplement, it is ultimately up to each of us to decide whether it is worth it or not to incorporate it in our diets. We never know what new plant or trendy new food will be popular next week, but I would say that in this case, because of the health benefits of Vitamin C, E, and flavonoids, wheatgrass definitely looks greener on this side.
This blog was written by Angela Sbodio, Dietetic Intern.