Scientific studies in the early 20th century had revealed the chlorophyll molecule shared a lot of similarities with the heme molecule found in the red blood cells. In the early 1930s, agricultural chemist Charles F. Schnabel reasoned that green vegetables would stimulate chickens to produce more blood and eggs.
During this time, many poultry farmers were experiencing low egg production in their farms. Charles tried out many green vegetables including the leafy parts of alfalfa, turnips, and mustard without success.
One day, Charles Schnabel added dried wheatgrass powder into the poultry feeds as he tried to save his dying hens. Fortunately, his hens survived and even began laying more eggs. As an agricultural chemist, Charles started experimenting wheatgrass on other animals, including humans.
Following Charles’ findings, scientists began researching into the benefits of consuming wheatgrass, and soon, wheatgrass juices, supplements, and powders became widely available.
5 Health Benefits of Wheatgrass
Proponents of wheatgrass believe it is packed with numerous nutrients that can offer supplemental nutrition and improve health. Get to know the major ways in which wheatgrass benefits health now.
1. Reduction in Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a waxy matter found in all the cells in our bodies. The cholesterol in our bodies is manufactured in the liver, while we obtain the rest from our diet. Our bodies need cholesterol for making hormones, and vitamin D.
Although a small amount of cholesterol is healthy for our bodies, excess cholesterol in the blood can form plaque. Large deposits of cholesterol in the arteries can cause the affected area to break open, leading to the formation of a blood clot, which restricts blood flow.
If the plaque blocks blood vessels carrying blood to the brain and limbs, it can result in health problems such as stroke, carotid artery disease, and peripheral arterial disease.
Numerous animal studies have shown wheatgrass contains compounds that may help reduce cholesterol. Wheatgrass contains antioxidants that help detoxify the liver, numerous minerals, and vitamins A, C, and E.
The components of wheatgrass have the same effect as atorvastatin, a prescription drug for individuals with high blood cholesterol.
2. Regulates Blood Sugar
The body’s blood sugar levels are controlled by a hormone known as insulin. Increased blood sugar can lead to a wide range of symptoms, including thirst, headaches, fatigue, and frequent urination.
If blood sugar remains uncontrolled for a long time, it can have serious consequences, such as skin infections, nerve damage, and vision problems.
Animal studies have shown wheatgrass may help in regulating blood sugar and lipid levels in the body. Wheatgrass contains a compound similar to insulin. Besides, wheatgrass also contains compounds that fight inflammation.
These compounds have been shown to help manage the side effects of diabetes. In one animal study, rats with diabetes were fed with wheatgrass for thirty days. Researchers discovered feeding these rats with wheatgrass modified certain enzymes in their body that help regulate blood sugar.
3. Excellent Source of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are substances, including vitamins A, C, and E, that offset the damaging effects of oxidizing agents. Scientists believe wheatgrass is an excellent source of antioxidants, which help in neutralizing free radicals in the body.
Free radicals are volatile compounds in the body that are associated with many health issues such as chronic inflammation, cancer, and aging.
Inflammation refers to an immune response that enables the body to fight injury or infection. Although inflammation can help to protect the body against injury and infections, too much inflammation can lead to autoimmunity where an individual’s immune system fights their body.
Autoimmunity can result in other health problems such as arthritis, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. Components of the wheatgrass can help the body fight excessive inflammation.
It can, therefore, solve various health problems that include pain, stiffness, and body swelling. Besides, wheatgrass can help in slowing the aging process by eliminating free radicals from the body.
4. Treats Gastrointestinal Distress
Gastrointestinal distress is a feeling of bowel discomfort, especially after meals. Key symptoms of gastrointestinal distress include a burning sensation in the upper abdomen and pain.
Gastrointestinal distress also known as indigestion can be caused by eating too quickly, overeating, and over-consumption of spicy and greasy foods. Stress and anxiety can also trigger gastrointestinal distress.
Gastrointestinal distress may be common among individuals with peptic ulcers, gastritis, pancreatitis, abnormality of the pancreas, gallstones, and stomach cancer. Individuals taking antibiotics may also be prone to indigestion.
Fortunately, wheatgrass contains compounds that treat gastrointestinal distress, including its high fiber content. Traditionally, wheatgrass has been used to help in relieving stomach pain and diarrhea.
Wheatgrass also contains enzymes that can aid indigestion. The detoxifying benefits of wheatgrass can help to detoxify the intestines and colon walls.
While abdominal distress after a meal is the hallmark of indigestion, bloating, nausea, and belching can also signal its occurrence, and sometimes, indigestion can be an indicator of an underlying health problem. Seeking medical attention can help in diagnosing the underlying problems.
5. Acts as an Anti-Inflammatory
Inflammation is a mechanism by the body to protect the individual from injuries or infection or to remove harmful stimuli. Sometimes, the symptoms of inflammation can be painful, but it at least shows the body has begun the healing process.
Without this vital biological response, wounds would take forever to heal. However, if the inflammation persists or if it occurs in a place where it isn’t required, it can be problematic.
Chronic inflammation has been associated with specific diseases such as stroke, cardiovascular diseases, and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Nowadays, doctors are recommending anti-inflammatory diets to help with chronic and acute inflammation. Patients with acute or chronic inflammation may consider eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, moderate amounts of nuts, healthy fats, only a little red wine, and very little red meat.
Researchers are still studying the anti-inflammatory effects of wheatgrass, and there is overwhelming evidence showing it’s a strong anti-inflammatory agent.