If you've ever set foot inside a juice bar, you've probably seen people tossing back shots of fluorescent green juice. That electric-hued elixir is extracted from wheatgrass: a healthy superfood purported to work magic on the digestive and circulatory systems.
Rise in Popularity
Wheatgrass is increasingly available thanks to its growing popularity. You can grab a shot at just about any local juice shop, but if you prefer the do-it-yourself approach, you can buy it fresh at mainstream grocery chains and extract it at home with a wheatgrass press. You can also get your wheatgrass fix in the form of frozen juice, tablets and powder that you can use in smoothies or even sprinkle in dishes.
Wheatgrass fans swear by its detoxifying properties and energizing effect. Though the scientific evidence isn't conclusive, experiments support the claim that wheatgrass has measurable health benefits. One study's results indicate that people suffering from ulcerative colitis who drank wheatgrass regularly reported a significantly reduced amount of bleeding and overall easing of symptoms.
Rich in Vitamin B
A two-ounce shot of wheatgrass is a good source of B vitamins (including folic acid), has more vitamin C than an orange, carries twice as much vitamin A as a carrot and contains more than 90 different minerals and nineteen amino acids, as well as chlorophyll. It's also alleged to increase the red blood cell count, so your body is able to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to your body's cells, speed up metabolism and provide and stimulate several active enzymes, which aid weight loss by breaking down fat.
Though the health benefits of wheatgrass are things we can all get behind, the taste is another story. Some people love the eye-opening taste or find it cloyingly sweet. For others, it's too bitter or just too reminiscent of fresh-cut lawns. Aware of these gripes with taste, juice bars will often offer an orange wedge to follow wheatgrass shots. It can also have a peppery kick, which is why you might experience an instant energy boost after consuming it straight.
Most studies suggest that wheatgrass has beneficial effects on the body on par with any other green vegetable such as spinach or kale, without the adverse side effects of many vitamins and supplements. So even if you don't believe in its miracle powers, it's still a great way to get your intake of leafy greens in one convenient shot.