Wednesday, March 28, 2012

amazing weed

I’m usually not a fan of health fads. But I have kept up with one particular trend…

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And not just the green smoothie concept [although those are pretty great]. I usually add a scoop of wheat grass to my smoothie, which most people would say is a waste of money.

What is wheatgrass?

Wheatgrass is derived from the wheat plant and contains iron, calcium, magnesium, amino acids, chlorophyll, and vitamins A, C and E (although depending on the type of grass purchased, these may not be present in large quantities).

What are its proposed benefits?

Assists in red blood cell formation, boosts the immune system, kills pathogenic bacteria, treats various diseases, and detoxifies the body.

What does the research say?

There have not been any credible or large scale studies conducted to  substantiate the health claims of wheat grass.

Is it safe?

Generally safe to consume; however, pregnant women or anyone who is immune compromised should avoid use as it is considered a raw product and may be contaminated with bacteria/mold.

And the bottom line?

  • If you’re looking for scientific evidence that wheatgrass = magic juice of life, you’ll be disappointed. However, some aspects of holistic nutrition are beneficial despite lacking substantial evidence.
  • Wheatgrass contains a variety of nutrients that are beneficial for the body, but I take use it for the micronutrient properties because the kind I buy doesn’t contain them in significant quantities. I also appreciate the phytonutrients (no DRI/RDAs for these).
  • A diet high in fruits and vegetables can provide adequate phytonutrients and antioxidants. Wheatgrass is not a substitute for good nutrition.
  • Wheatgrass may be beneficial as a dietary supplement, meaning it may be a beneficial way to help meet nutrient needs. The absorption of specific nutrients from wheatgrass is unknown.

Am I wasting my money? Maybe according to the research, but I honestly note a difference in how I feel when taking wheatgrass, and that’s something I feel is worth the extra cash. While I eat a ton of vegetables, I’ve also found that drinking wheatgrass helps my immune system (exposed to 60 billion germs working at a children’s hospital).

[sources: 1, 2]

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend (yes, I know it’s Wednesday. I’m just looking ahead…). Hopefully, I’ll be eating local food, running, and enjoying the spring weather as much as possible.

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Speaking of local food, I’ve was just at Marie Catrib’s, a restaurant in Grand Rapids that uses local produce and is delicious (although a bit pricey); at any rate, it’s a nice treat.

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This salad was fantastic. I forgot how amazing goat cheese tastes. Especially when combined with pesto. This dish might be recreated in the near future.

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What are your thoughts on wheatgrass?

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13 comments:

  1. mmm i like drinking the fresh wheatgrass shots, but the powder form - i have to hold my breath to drink it! sometimes i wonder if it has gluten in it since it is wheatgrass... b/c the packages say that it is gluten free, but i have no idea how that would work???

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  2. I haven't tried wheatgrass but it sounds interesting! I do love Marie Catrib's though!

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  3. Thanks for posting this, Emily. I am always concered when there is little research to back claims, but like you said, I did feel really good when I was using Amazing Grass. Placebo effect, or not, I liked it. I may try buying it again....

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  4. I can't believe I haven't gotten on the wheatgrass train yet-- sounds like I should! Have you ever tried growing your own?

    That salad looks tasty! :)

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  5. I haven't tried wheatgrass yet because I don't believe in magical food. I prefer to have a balanced diet which involves a lot of fresh produce, I think I can get the nutrients better there, in a variety of food.

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  6. I am a big fan of trusting your instincts. No one wants to be conned, but it makes sense to me that something might work for an individual, even if it doesn't have a large-scale effect that would show up in research.

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  7. i am all about goat cheese + pesto--love the sound of that salad!

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  8. I tried fresh wheatgrass juice at Jamba Juice. I really wanted to like it but couldn't stomach it. It looks and sounds very healthy.

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  9. i definitely want to try wheatgrass because i have heard it's great for your immune system. might just have to give this a try ;)
    xo TJ

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  10. I have yet to try wheatgrass-- now I'm intrigued!

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  11. I personally love wheatgrass shots...but I need to experiment with the variety of wheatgrass powders. One of the ones i got at harvest health is awful unless you put it in a smoothie. I think the wheatgrass benefits are totally worth it! :)

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  12. Great post Emily. Mixing it in a smoothie vs. taking it ‘straight up’ seems more palatable for some people. : )

    These help make it worth a try:

    “I honestly note a difference in how I feel when taking wheatgrass, and that’s something I feel is worth the extra cash. While I eat a ton of vegetables, I’ve also found that drinking wheatgrass helps my immune system…”

    On the shopping list!

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