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Spotlight on Wheatgrass: Health Benefits, Growing and Buying Tips

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Health Benefits

Wheatgrass is one of the most nutrient-rich foods available, with over 70 vitamins and minerals, hundreds of live enzymes, and a significant concentration of amino acids and protein.

With a 70 percent chlorophyll composition, wheatgrass is also highly alkaline and cleansing, and is thus often used in juice fasts and other cleansing programs.

Although anecdotal claims about the health benefits of wheatgrass abound, scientific evidence is limited to a couple of small studies. In one such study, wheatgrass consumption was shown to lesson symptoms of ulcerative colitis (a form of inflammatory bowel disease), and is thus sometimes purported to help improve digestion. Other studies have shown that wheatgrass may reduce some of the negative side effects of chemotherapy and improve blood circulation and composition.

What About Gluten?

The type of gluten that causes problems for people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance is found in the grain or seeds produced by wheat, barley, and rye plants. Pure wheat grass – just the grass, with no seeds – does not contain gluten. Always be sure to check product labels to determine whether a given wheatgrass powder, juice, or supplement is gluten-free if this is a concern.

Growing and Buying

Wheatgrass is most commonly grown in temperate regions of Europe and the United States, and can be grown indoors (in trays) or harvested outdoors.

Wheatgrass can be bought whole, or in juice or powder forms. It is commonly taken as a shot of liquid, or mixed into juices or smoothies for added nutrition. There are plenty of ways to easily incorporate wheatgrass into your diet! Here are a few widely available and highly recommended options:

  1. Powder: Navitas Naturals sells organic, freeze-dried wheatgrass powder in convenient, resealable 1 oz. pouches. Amazing Grass also sells raw, gluten free wheatgrass powder in several container sizes, including individual packets.
  2. Liquid: If you’d prefer a liquid format, try Dr. Wheatgrass Supershots. They come ready to drink!
  3. Capsule: There are a couple of great options for wheatgrass supplements in capsule form. Check out Sweet Wheat’s gluten free vegicaps or Amazing Grass’ gluten free, raw, vegan capsules.
  4. Fresh: Want to grow your own? This Organic Wheatgrass Growing Kit from Living Whole Foods includes trays, seeds, soil, instructions, and more!

Image Credit: dizid/Flickr

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