Have you heard about the benefits of drinking juice made from the extract of wheatgrass? No? It’s all over the internet, what’s wrong with you? If you have come across some of these ads-and they do seem to be just about everywhere-then you know that they make some pretty impressive health claims. In addition, if you have heard about wheatgrass-and especially if you haven’t and this is your first brush with the term-you may be wondering some basic facts such as what, exactly, is this stuff? Is it wheat? Is it grass? Is there a difference? Is it either?
To bring it down to its most basic level, wheatgrass is a plant. Duh? Yeah, I know that was pretty basic. Okay, to get a little more complex here, wheatgreass springs up from the seed of either the red or white winter wheatberry. Juice is then extracted from the wheatgrass; this juice contains various levels of chlorophyll, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, and amino acids. Yeah, I’m way ahead of you. We’re talking about health benefits here and so the enzymes and the vitamins and the minerals and the amino acids make a lot of sense. But chlorophyll? How the heck did that get in there and how the heck can that be healthy? Isn’t that the stuff that turned the Swamp Thing into a big, green, ugly monster? Actually, chlorophyll can be extracted from just about every single plant, but chlorophyll found in wheatgrass has been found to be very similar to the hemoglobin in human blood. Consuming the juice from the wheatgrass has therefore been claimed by its proponents to contribute to the process of building healthier blood.
Many claims having to do with the health benefit of drinking this stuff are being made. Among the most common are that it can help reduce blood pressure, suppress the appetite, prevent tooth decay, and boost energy. Although a good deal of anecdotal evidence is available to support these claims, none have yet been proven by any qualified clinical studies. Of course, on the other hand, none of these claims have been disproven in clinical studies, either.
Wheatgrass and the juice extracted from it have become hot button issues in the world of organic health. While the proponents of the multiple benefits that wheatgrass juice offers are many, the jury made up of members of the scientific community remains deadlocked. One reason for this is that if wheatgrass really could do all its champions claim it does for everybody who drinks it, it would have to be regarded as a bona fide magical potion. Even so, there are enough people convinced of its benefits to ensure its popularity for some time to come. The arguments will also continue, however, and one of the biggest arguments about wheatgrass revolves around its use by pregnant women.
While testimonials in favor of wheatgrass include a number of women who ingested during pregnancy and during breast-feeding, there is cause for concern. Aside from the known side effects that can affect anyone such as nausea, hives, swelling and headaches, the very nature of wheatgrass raises concern from the American Cancer Society. They point out that wheatgrass contamination is a very real risk because it is grown in soil that may contain bacteria or mold, and because it then consumed in its raw form.
Ultimately, it comes down to one’s acceptable risk level.