The Wheat Grass Is Greener
Posted by Kate W on Monday, June 11th, 2012
Wheat grass has, for better or worse, gotten a reputation as the go-to supplement for people who live a crunchy, alternative lifestyle. When a television or movie writer needs a quick way to telegraph that someone is health-conscious in a dippy, ditzy kind of way, having them tout the benefits of wheat grass juice is the easiest shorthand to help establish that character. And because art so frequently imitates life, wheat grass is often used in the kind of detox diets favored by celebrities who want to lead an organic lifestyle (or who at least want to appear as though they do, as in the case of a recent mom-to-be on Pregnant in Heels).
But while wheat grass has gotten a reputation as being unserious, it actually does have some health benefits. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center acknowledges a small study which indicates regular wheat grass juice therapy significantly reduced rectal bleeding and overall disease activity associated with ulcerative colitis. They indicate that another study showed wheat grass may also reduce the need for transfusions in patients with thalassemia major, a hereditary form of anemia. Further, they acknowledge a third study which indicated that wheat grass may decrease myelotoxicity in breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, meaning patients would need fewer medications to build levels of blood and bone marrow back up following treatment.
Even if you don’t deal with any of these serious health issues, wheat grass may overall positively affect your mood and energy level; like many other green vegetables, it is a great source of B-vitamins.
Wheat grass isn’t easy to find at the grocery store, but you may be able to find it at a juice bar or smoothie shop. If you’re especially ambitious (or just budget-conscious), you can even grow it yourself in your backyard or right inside your home and make your own juice or smoothies. I, however, will stick to keeping an eye out for it at my local farmer’s market. If my decided lack of a green thumb wouldn’t kill my attempt at a home garden, one of my cats certainly would.
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