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Wheatgrass For Better Health

Wheatgrass For Better Health

By Ashleigh Smith, Managing Editor, True Leaf Market
Photographs courtesy of True Leaf Market

Wheatgrass is the young, microgreen stage of wheat that is harvested after seven or eight days of growth. However, unlike microgreens, wheatgrass foliage should not be eaten by people. Instead, it is juiced for its plethora of disease- and illness-healing health benefits.

Ann Wigmore is credited with identifying many of the benefits wheatgrass offers through her experience and work with various experts. Ann grew up with an understanding that growing and using your harvest of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs could provide you with the nutrients you need. Eventually, she moved from Lithuania to the United States, where the combination of life and work hardships she experienced, plus the change in diet and stress, caused her health to deteriorate. She returned to the diet she was raised on, which relied on a nutrient-dense harvest to meet her nutritional requirements. This change in diet led her to reverse her health problems, including colon cancer. Her work has contributed to the increasing knowledge and popularity of consuming a living and raw food diet.

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So far you might be thinking: This all sounds well and good, but what exactly are the health benefits wheatgrass boasts? First, it is nutrient-dense. This means it is packed full of important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Its most notable nutrients include vitamins A, C, and E, iron, magnesium, calcium, and amino acids. Antioxidants protect against diseases and conditions like heart disease and cancer, among several others. Studies investigating the activity of antioxidants found in wheatgrass showed a reduction in oxidative cell damage. Additional health benefits include aiding blood sugar regulation and reducing inflammation. Regularly including wheatgrass in your diet not only heals previous damage or conditions, but can also prevent issues from arising. Try including it in your diet to boost regular immune system function, skin health and gastrointestinal activity.

To access these incredible benefits, juice your wheatgrass and drink it while it is fresh. While humans don’t have all of the necessary enzymes to break down grass foliage, we can benefit from the juice within it. Wheatgrass is best harvested when it is between five and eight inches tall. Cut above the soil level and process with a juicer. Make sure your juicer is able to work well with wheatgrass, as not all are able to properly extract its contents. Because the foliage needs to be crushed, a masticating juicer should be used. Only harvest and juice enough for immediate use. Storing wheatgrass juice is not recommended. A quarter cup, or approximately one to two ounces, is the recommended serving size. I like adding a shot of freshly pressed juice to my morning smoothies, as wheatgrass alone is an acquired taste.

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Not only is wheatgrass great for people, but it is also a healthy snack for pets. Cats and dogs naturally like to munch on grass as a source of fiber that keeps their digestive systems in check. Regularly snacking on grass helps to prevent issues with hairballs developing. The problem with grazing on any patch of grass is you don’t always know if it has had something sprayed on it. Plus, grass isn’t available during the winter months in many regions. Wheatgrass is a perfect alternative for providing your pets with a safe and healthy snack. Cats especially love to graze on a fresh patch of wheatgrass. To help it stay plump, try using a self-watering pet grass kit. This will prevent the grass from drying too quickly and retain its refreshing quality. Trust us, your pets will keep coming back for more.

In addition to its health qualities for both people and pets, wheatgrass is simply a pretty plant. It can make a great addition to your houseplant family. I love adding it to my desk space as a touch of greenery while I am working. Adding plants to interior spaces is known to have many benefits. These include reducing stress, increasing attention, and increasing productivity. In a world full of stress and demands, plants can be a refuge. It doesn’t matter what your design style is, green plants act as a neutral regardless of your color palette. Wheatgrass is the perfect houseplant for those seeking something easy to grow. It does well in most containers, allowing you to express yourself creatively through your selection. Whether you are looking for a way to improve your or your pet's health, or just want something beautiful for your home, wheatgrass is your answer.

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Ashleigh Smith is the Managing Editor at True Leaf Market with a bachelor's degree in Horticulture from Brigham Young University - Idaho. True Leaf Market is a national certified organic, non-GMO seed and horticultural company based in Salt Lake City, Utah. The True Leaf Market staff specializes in supplying a large selection of conventional, heirloom and organic seeds to home gardeners everywhere. Learn more about our seeds, supplies and other growing ideas:

All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.

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