Popping up everywhere from juice bars to health food stores, wheatgrass is the latest ingredient to enter the limelight in the world of natural health.
Wheatgrass is prepared from the freshly sprouted leaves of the common wheat plant, Triticum aestivum.
It can be grown and prepared at home or purchased in juice, powder or supplement form.
Some claim it can do everything from detoxifying the liver to improving immune function. However, many of its purported benefits have not yet been proven or studied.
This article takes a closer look at 7 of the evidence-based benefits of drinking wheatgrass.
Wheatgrass is an excellent source of many different vitamins and minerals. It is especially high in vitamins A, C and E, as well as iron, magnesium, calcium and amino acids.
Of its 17 amino acids, eight are considered essential, meaning your body cannot produce them and you must obtain them from food sources (1Trusted Source).
Like all green plants, wheatgrass also consists of chlorophyll, a type of green plant pigment associated with many health benefits (2Trusted Source).
It also contains several important antioxidants, including glutathione and vitamins C and E (3Trusted Source).
Antioxidants are compounds that fight free radicals to prevent cell damage and reduce oxidative stress.
Some studies have found that antioxidants may help protect against certain conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, arthritis and neurodegenerative diseases (4Trusted Source).
In one study, wheatgrass decreased oxidative stress and improved cholesterol levels in rabbits fed a high-fat diet.
Additionally, supplementing with wheatgrass increased levels of the antioxidants glutathione and vitamin C (5Trusted Source).
Another test-tube study that evaluated the antioxidant activity of wheatgrass found it reduced oxidative damage to cells (6Trusted Source).
Given that the research on wheatgrass is limited to test-tube and animal studies, more studies are needed to determine how its antioxidants may affect humans.
SUMMARYWheatgrass is high in chlorophyll and many vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Test-tube and animal studies have found that its antioxidant content may prevent oxidative stress and cell damage.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found throughout the body. While you need some cholesterol to make hormones and produce bile, too much cholesterol in your blood can block blood flow and increase your risk of heart disease.
Several animal studies have found that wheatgrass may help lower cholesterol levels.
In one study, rats with high cholesterol were given wheatgrass juice. They experienced decreased levels of total cholesterol, “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
Interestingly, the effects of wheatgrass were similar to those of atorvastatin, a prescription drug commonly used to treat high blood cholesterol (7Trusted Source).
Another study looked at its effects in rabbits fed a high-fat diet. After 10 weeks, supplementing with wheatgrass helped lower total cholesterol and increase “good” HDL cholesterol, compared to a control group (5Trusted Source).
Despite these promising results, further studies are needed to determine how wheatgrass supplements may affect cholesterol levels in humans.
SUMMARYSome animal studies have found that wheatgrass may help lower blood cholesterol levels, but human studies are needed.