Search
Close this search box.

Wheatgrass refers to the young shoot or freshly sprouted leaves of the common wheat plant, whose scientific name is Tritium aestivum. Wheat is the most widely grown of all the world crops, and about 95% of the wheat produced worldwide is common wheat.

Although there are many reports of the beneficial effects of consuming wheatgrass, the research around this food supplement is not that abundant, and that is the reason why we have decided to outline its nutritional value and health benefits.

The Healing Powers of Wheatgrass

Composition of Wheatgrass3,4,5

  • High chlorophyll content.
  • Significant protein content.
  • All nine essential amino acids, with moderate essential amino acid index (EAAI; 86%). These amino acids include aspartic acid, glutamic acid, arginine, alanine and serine.
  • Various important enzymes: protease, amylase, lipase, cytochrome oxidase, transhydrogenase, and superoxide dismutase (SOD).
  • Considerable soluble phenolic content.
  • Elevated levels of potassium (RDA; 11.6%).
  • Good antioxidant activity.
  • Rich source of Vitamins A, C, E and B complex.
  • Presence of diverse minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and alkaline earth metals, potassium, zinc, boron, and molybdenum.

Interesting and superbly relevant information was revealed in a 2022 study comparing wheatgrass juices from colored wheat (white, black, blue, and purple) for health-promoting phytochemicals4. This study found that colored wheatgrass juices have better nutraceutical profiles, with increasing nutraceutical value from white to blue to purple to black wheat grains4. Black wheatgrass juice exhibits the highest anthocyanin, chlorophyll, phenolics, protein, percentage of EAAI (essential amino acid index), potassium and antioxidant activity4.

Benefits of Wheatgrass

Black wheatgrass juice powder, when compared to the white variety, was shown to contain4:

  • 2% higher anthocyanins
  • 5% higher chlorophyll
  • 5% higher soluble phenolic content
  • 2% higher proteins
  • 5% higher EAAI
  • 5% higher antioxidant activity

As highlighted by the authors, this astonishing variability in the nutraceutical profile indicates that selecting the appropriate cultivar can improve tremendously the nutritional value, and hence the associated health benefits of wheatgrass juice4.

Micronutrient Composition of Wheatgrass3,4,5

Benefits of Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass is rich in several vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin A
  • B complex vitamins
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Boron
  • Molybdenum

Bioactive Compounds of Wheatgrass and their Benefits

Wheatgrass is characterized by1,2,3,4,5:

  • High content of bioflavonoids
  • A wide number of proteins and enzymes
  • Very high content of chlorophyll

Bioflavonoids

The antioxidant action of wheatgrass juice is derived from its high content of bioflavonoids like apigenin, quercetin and luteolin, and the indole compounds, choline and laetrile (amygdalin) 4,5.

Proteins and Enzymes

A study meant to evaluate the “Nutritional Quality and Antioxidant Activity of Wheatgrass” identified a total of 297 proteins, many known to be involved in preventing many diseases, oxidative stress, primary metabolism, storage, and energy-related mechanisms1. Abundantly present in wheatgrass were peroxidases, superoxide dismutases, and cytochromes1.

The antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase and cytochrome oxidase have the potential to convert reactive oxygen species to hydrogen peroxide and oxygen, and to inhibit oxidative DNA damage.

Chlorophyll

Wheatgrass is also known as “green blood” because of its high chlorophyll content, which accounts for 70% of its chemical constituents and can be used for detoxifying the body and lowering blood pressure2,3,5.

Furthermore, the chlorophyll molecule has a very similar structure to the hemoglobin molecule, the only difference being the central atom. In chlorophyll, the central atom is magnesium, while in hemoglobin, it is iron. This might be the reason why wheatgrass juice is considered to help “build blood” and why chlorophyll has been shown to significantly affect the treatment of patients with chronic anemia, tissue hypoxia, thalassemia, and other hemolytic disorders3,5. This also seems to be the contributing factor to increased oxygenation of all the body tissues2,5.

Conclusion

Wheatgrass is safe, nutritious, and has many health benefits. It can be consumed as fresh juice, powder, or tablets, and studies show that wheatgrass juice added to other fruit or vegetable juices helps improve their nutritional value. It also seems worth exploring wheatgrass juice from colored wheat grains since they exhibit a higher nutritional profile.

Have You Had Your Wheatgrass Shot Today?

References

  1. Parit SB, Dawkar VV, Tanpure RS, Pai SR, Chougale AD. Nutritional Quality and Antioxidant Activity of Wheatgrass (Triticum aestivum) Unwrap by Proteome Profiling and DPPH and FRAP assays. J Food Sci. 2018 Aug;83(8):2127-2139. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.14224. Epub 2018 Jul 30. PMID: 30059150.
  2. Gore RD, Palaskar SJ, Bartake AR. Wheatgrass: Green Blood can Help to Fight Cancer. J Clin Diagn Res. 2017 Jun;11(6):ZC40-ZC42. doi: 10.7860/JCDR/2017/26316.10057. Epub 2017 Jun 1. PMID: 28764290; PMCID: PMC5534514.
  3. Grubišić S, Kristić M, Lisjak M, Mišković Špoljarić K, Petrović S, Vila S, Rebekić A. Effect of Wheatgrass Juice on Nutritional Quality of Apple, Carrot, Beet, Orange and Lemon Juice. Foods. 2022 Feb 2;11(3):445. doi: 10.3390/foods11030445. PMID: 35159595; PMCID: PMC8833947.
  4. Sharma A, Yadav M, Sharma N, Kumari A, Kaur S, Meenu M, Garg M. Comparison of wheatgrass juices from colored wheat (white, black, blue, and purple) for health promoting phytochemicals. Food Res Int. 2022 Nov;161:111833. doi: 10.1016/j.foodres.2022.111833. Epub 2022 Sep 5. PMID: 36192965.
  5. Padalia, Swati, et al. “Multitude potential of wheatgrass juice (Green Blood): An overview.” Chronicles of Young Scientists, vol. 1, no. 2, Apr.-June 2010, p. 23. Gale Academic OneFile, link.gale.com/apps/doc/A239657567/AONE?u=googlescholar&sid=bookmark-AONE&xid=cc9dd2ef.
  6. Chauhan, Manish. “A pilot study on wheat grass juice for its phytochemical, nutritional and therapeutic potential on chronic diseases.” International Journal of Chemical Studies 2 (2014): 27-34.
  7. Matés JM, Sánchez-Jiménez FM. Role of reactive oxygen species in apoptosis: implications for cancer therapy. Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2000 Feb;32(2):157-70. doi: 10.1016/s1357-2725(99)00088-6. PMID: 10687951.
  8. Fahey JW, Stephenson KK, Dinkova-Kostova AT, Egner PA, Kensler TW, Talalay P. Chlorophyll, chlorophyllin and related tetrapyrroles are significant inducers of mammalian phase 2 cytoprotective genes. Carcinogenesis. 2005 Jul;26(7):1247-55. doi: 10.1093/carcin/bgi068. Epub 2005 Mar 17. PMID: 15774490.
  9. Banerjee S, Katiyar P, Kumar V, Waghmode B, Nathani S, Krishnan V, Sircar D, Roy P. Wheatgrass inhibits the lipopolysaccharide-stimulated inflammatory effect in RAW 264.7 macrophages. Curr Res Toxicol. 2021 Feb 23;2:116-127. doi: 10.1016/j.crtox.2021.02.005. PMID: 34345856; PMCID: PMC8320646.
  10. Avisar A, Cohen M, Brenner B, Bronshtein T, Machluf M, Bar-Sela G, Aharon A. Extracellular Vesicles Reflect the Efficacy of Wheatgrass Juice Supplement in Colon Cancer Patients During Adjuvant Chemotherapy. Front Oncol. 2020 Aug 26;10:1659. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2020.01659. PMID: 32984039; PMCID: PMC7479215.
  11. Hattarki S.A., Bogar C., Bhat K. Triticum aestivum (wheat grass) Exhibited Anticancer Activity on Oral Cancer (KB) Cell Line. Int. J. Pharma Res. Health Sci. 2020;8:3220–3224. doi: 10.21276/ijprhs.2020.05.01.
  12. Bar-Sela G, Tsalic M, Fried G, Goldberg H. Wheat grass juice may improve hematological toxicity related to chemotherapy in breast cancer patients: a pilot study. Nutr Cancer. 2007;58(1):43-8. doi: 10.1080/01635580701308083. PMID: 17571966.
  13. Singh K, Pannu MS, Singh P, Singh J. Effect of wheat grass tablets on the frequency of blood transfusions in Thalassemia Major. Indian J Pediatr. 2010 Jan;77(1):90-1. doi: 10.1007/s12098-010-0002-8. Epub 2010 Feb 5. PMID: 20135271.
  14. Marawaha RK, Bansal D, Kaur S, Trehan A. Wheat grass juice reduces transfusion requirement in patients with thalassemia major: a pilot study. Indian Pediatr. 2004 Jul;41(7):716-20. PMID: 15297687.
  15. Mathur S., Mathur R., Kohli G.K. Therapeutic use of wheat grass juice for the treatment of anemia in young women of Ajmer city (Rajasthan, India) Int. J. Nutr. Sci. 2017;2:1014.
  16. Fernandes CJ, O’Donovan DJ, Natural antioxidant therapy for patients with haemolytic anemia, Indian Pediatrics, 2005; 42: 618-619.
  17. Ben-Arye E, Goldin E, Wengrower D, Stamper A, Kohn R, Berry E. Wheat grass juice in the treatment of active distal ulcerative colitis: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2002 Apr;37(4):444-9. doi: 10.1080/003655202317316088. PMID: 11989836.