That was my first reaction the first time I heard about wheatgrass. When my brother started using it, he was obsessed and had it growing all over the kitchen (which started to look like a mini forest). I watched him juice it and drink it with so much dedication and I remember thinking how does he stomach it, as it is an acquired taste. But then his face began to clear and he looked healthier than he had in years and that is when I got curious (you know women and their skin!). The next time he juiced a batch I asked to have a sip, but the taste and greenness was a little overpowering at first. I only found out years later that he had not initiated me very well into drinking wheatgrass juice, by offering me not a 30 ml shooter glass but a 200ml cup and now that I know better, I can advise others as to how to add this superfood to your lifestyle and be even more healthy, one step at a time.
What is wheatgrass?
Wheatgrass is literally the grass that grows from wheat kernels. Best known as the “green miracle” as it is rich in chlorophyll and has a truckload of nutrients. To get the best nutrition out of wheatgrass it is essential to harvest it when it is known as a “young grass”. This is when it is between 8 and 15 days old, depending on the time of year. Wheatgrass has been around since ancient days, the Egyptians considered it sacred and used it for health and as a beauty aid. In the West it was brought to the forefront by the Hippocrates Institute founder Ann Wigmore who suffered from colon cancer and healed herself with wheatgrass juice.
How to get started
Different people respond differently to wheatgrass. Some find it quite green but sweet and not unpalatable whereas others find it too green and for those who do, it is a great idea to dilute the wheatgrass juice and finally for those who just hate green but see the value in wheatgrass juice, add some freshly squeezed apple juice to mask the flavour. Wheatgrass juice is very potent and can easily be absorbed into your system on an empty stomach. Start your day off with about one tablespoon of wheatgrass juice. In the beginning you might experience a little nausea. This is not a bad sign, it just means that you are detoxing. Gradually increase the quantity to two tablespoons for general well-being. If you’re dealing with health issues you might like to increase this to the same quantity but twice a day. As you become more accustomed to the taste you might move to pure undiluted wheatgrass juice. Remember to swill the juice around in your mouth, this will not only aid in better digestion of the juice but will do your gums a world of good.
There are a number of methods of growing wheatgrass, from the basic method of planting wheat in the soil outside, next is planting it in soil into a shallow containers, and finally, to the easy and sophisticated methods where equipment such as the Easygreen sprouter, Miracle sprouter or using a Wheatgrass or Sprouting kit can be used. (These methods are all soilless and can be found on the Healthmakers website.
The next consideration is how to convert the grass to juice. For this you require a juice extractor that has the capability of juicing leaves and grass. The electric Oscar juicer or the manually operated Farre juicer are all masticating type juicers that are excellent for getting the last drop of juice out of grass and leaves.
What is so special about wheatgrass?
So far I have only given you the tip of the iceberg on why you should make a glass of wheatgrass juice part of your daily routine. I consider wheatgrass an ‘all-in-one’ as it performs so many functions that are good for you.
- Wheatgrass is rich in vitamin A, B C, E and K, its rich in chlorophyll, minerals and protein.
- Wheatgrass kills harmful bacteria in the digestive system.
- Wheatgrass is alkaline which helps fight the negative effects of an acid based diet.
- Increases the red cell blood count, this can happen simply from soaking in wheatgrass juice.
- Wheatgrass has a similar molecular structure to human blood. The chlorophyll molecule resembles hemin (an enzyme inhibitor made from red blood cells), hemin combines with protein to form haemoglobin molecule found in human blood. Wheatgrass is one atom away from the human blood structure, the only difference is that chlorophyll contains magnesium as its central atom while blood uses iron as its central atom. For people suffering from anaemia this is a great superfood to add to your diet.
- Its strengthens the immune system helping the body fight off diseases.
- It gives you energy, cutting down cravings for greasy sweet food resulting in weight loss.
- Improves reproductivity in women and men.
- Controls blood sugar levels and reduces your cholesterol. The fibre content prevents constipation. Wheatgrass is also known to stimulate the thyroid.
- Research has shown that the chlorophyll in the wheatgrass reduces the harmful effects of radiation and remove the toxins that accumulate during various treatments used for cancers. Wheatgrass assists in the production of new cells by providing oxygen rich blood throughout the body. It also contains selenium and laetrile (Vitamin B17) which help fight cancer.
- Wheatgrass is rich in fibre which helps balance blood sugar levels, this is effective especially for diabetes patients.
- The fibre in wheatgrass brings relief to constipation, resulting in relief from piles.
- Detoxifies the liver from impurities.
- Provides fresh breath, gurgling your mouth with wheatgrass combats bad breath and strengthens the gums.
Ann Wigmore discovered on of the biggest secrets to health, she could have kept it to herself but instead chose to share it with the western world. It is now up to you to decide whether wheatgrass should be part of your journey towards better health. I would highly recommend it, just give it a try and see the benefits for yourself.