What is wheatgrass?
Wheatgrass is young sprouted wheat of 1 to 2 weeks of age. Once wheatgrass reaches a height of 12 to 20cm it can be cut and then juiced. Due to its fibrous nature, wheatgrass is indigestible to humans, which is why it needs to be juiced and why cows need four stomachs to digest grass.
The Nutritional Benefits
Wheatgrass's deep green juice is abundant in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, protein and chlorophyll. It contains every amino acid, vitamin and mineral necessary for human nutrition, making it one of the few actual “whole foods.”
Wheatgrass is so nutrient-rich, in fact, that only 30mls of freshly squeezed wheatgrass juice is equivalent in nutritional value to 1kg of leafy green vegetables.
Kilo for kilo, it has more vitamin C than oranges and twice the vitamin A of carrots.
Note: The Above is only true when wheatgrass is grown on organic soil which has not been depleted of minerals.
Containing 70% chlorophyll, wheatgrass juice increases the body’s production of red blood cells (haemoglobin). This helps to normalise high blood pressure and stimulates healthy tissue-cell growth. Chlorophyll also has the ability to break down poisonous carbon dioxide which allows more absorption of oxygen into the bloodstream.
Wheatgrass juice also contains enzymes which help in the digestion and metabolisation of nutrients, and abscisic acid, which is known for its anti-tumour properties.
Is it a miracle? Perhaps. Most of the foods we eat today lack vitality. They contain preservatives, pesticides and hormones. Foods are often processed or overcooked, which destroys most of their nutritional properties.
Since wheatgrass juice is raw, drinking it gives us the vitamins, minerals and enzymes we need in one of the freshest and most natural forms available. It is quite simply one of the healthiest things you can put in your body. Wheatgrass is so nutrient-rich, in fact, that only 30mls of freshly squeezed wheatgrass juice is equivalent in nutritional value to 1kg of leafy green vegetables.
The Natural Cleanser
Every day our bodies accumulate internal waste and harmful toxins from eating processed and chemically grown food, breathing polluted air and drinking impure water. If we don’t rid the body of toxins they can cause long term damage and disease.
One of the fastest and surest ways to cleanse our bodies of environmental pollutants is wheatgrass juice. Its high levels of enzymes and amino acids work like a natural detergent to detoxify the liver, eliminate toxic heavy metals from the blood stream, rid the body of waste matter and help to strengthen the body’s immune system. This allows valuable nutrients to then be distributed more efficiently throughout the body, along with stimulating healthy tissue cell growth.
Wheatgrass juice also has a dilating effect on the body’s blood vessels which allows blood to flow more easily.
Basically it’s like a daily grease and oil change for your body enabling it to operate at an optimal level in a highly oxygenated environment. Wheatgrass - The natural cleanser!
The Health Benefits
Here are some of the many health benefits wheatgrass has…
• Aids in prevention of infections and improves ability to heal wounds.
• Helps removes heavy metals from the body.
• Absorbs 92 out of the known 102 minerals from the soil.
• Helps with skin problems such as eczema or psoriasis.
• Chlorophyll in wheatgrass helps improve blood sugar disorders.
• Helps eliminate body odours.
• High magnesium in chlorophyll builds enzymes that restore sex hormones.
• Helps prevent tooth decay.
• Chlorophyll in wheatgrass helps purify the liver.
• Arrests the growth of unfriendly bacteria.
• Is an energiser for body and mind.
• Great for constipation and keeping the bowels open.
• Is non-allergenic.
• Aids in the prevention and fight against cancer.
The health benefits of wheatgrass - Taste The Goodness!
When we were kids we rolled around on the grass, scored our first goal on it, and some of us even ate it. Now the idea of drinking juice made from grass may seem distasteful, but try it for the first time and you may be pleasantly surprised by its subtly sweet taste.
When you drink that shot of wheatgrass, you know you’re doing something truly nourishing for yourself.
Have a shot of wheatgrass every day. We think you’ll notice the difference. By giving your body the vital nutrients and antioxidants it needs, you’ll have more energy, stronger immunity and a clearer head to enjoy life!
How much juice should I drink?
We recommend you start with 30mls of wheatgrass juice followed with a glass of water, for the first few days. Once you are comfortable with this you can increase the amount up to 60mls, eg. 30mls twice a day. Wheatgrass has a strong cleansing effect and may make you nauseous if you start with too much.
If you have a hard time swallowing that shot of wheatgrass every day try mixing it with other juices.
The Complete Protein Source
Proteins are a very important nutrient needed by the body and are responsible for a huge array of diverse functions throughout the body including cell renewal, creation of hormones to building of muscles, blood and organs.
Proteins are made up of amino acids, and they are essential to proper digestion and assimilation of foods, strong immunity against disease, rapid healing of cuts and wounds, proper liver function and regulation of our level of mental awareness.
When it comes to supplying protein, wheatgrass juice provides a large array of the essential amino acids.
More on Superfoods from The Natural Products Magazine (click here)
Superfoods and tonics are a rapidly growing phenomenon, embraced by retailers and consumers alike. Julia Brandon finds out what puts the ‘super’ into foods.
News that yet another superfood has risen to the healthy-living surface is more than to be expected in an industry that continually recognises the beneficial properties of fruit, vegetables and living foods. Mintel released six reports on ‘superfruits’ in 2005 alone, varying from beetroot being heralded as the next big thing to Britons going wild about blueberries. Research has shown that shoppers are more likely to buy foods that have health or nutritional claims, but the term superfood is more than a mere marketing gadget.
Whereas ‘tonic’ denotes a food that has health giving or medicinal properties, the term ‘superfood’ is used by the health food industry to describe a complete food-type that naturally supplements the diet.
The umbrella term seems vague at first glance, but does actually encompass a whole host of food types. While supermarkets advertise the news that pomegranate is the new cranberry due to its high level of antioxidants, independents are one step ahead of the multiples with sales for micro algae — such as spirulina and chlorella — also on the up, as are sales for cereal grass, shelled hemp seed, and aloe vera products. So, the burning question now is, how do superfoods compare to supplements?
There is little doubt that what we eat, and what our mothers ate when they were pregnant, shapes our nutritional make-up, but the modern Western diet is still severely lacking in basic nutrients. Superfoods are classed as a food, and in short, are intended to boost and support healthy eating, says Justin Simpson of MicrOrganics: “Spirulina is a blue-green algae that grows on fresh water, and although you could feasibly live on it, it’s not intended to be a substitute for a good diet.”
Spirulina, along with chlorella, oat grass, alfalfa and cereal grasses, such as barley and wheat grasses, are green superfoods — chlorophyll rich foods that contain a wide range of nutrients and B vitamins. Chlorophyll is said to halt the growth of bacteria, including yeast and fungal infections, and ease inflammatory diseases. It also contains antioxidants and phytonutrients that detoxify the body and boost the immune system.
Recommended for vegetarians/vegans on low protein diets, spirulina is easily digested and commercially formatted in tablet or powder form — the body recognises it as a food and takes it up almost completely.
Grown without herbicides or pesticides, Hawaiian Spirulina is said to be the purest and most potent strain with high doses of beta-carotene due to the sunny climate in which it is grown. MicrOrganics package it in brown glass bottles with gasket lids to retard the oxidation process, therefore retaining its nutritional content for longer, says Simpson. Spirulina Pacifica is packaged in recyclable material, thus unsuitable for long-term storage, but perfectly acceptable if consumed on a short-term basis, adds Simpson.
There are three main types of micro algae — spirulina, chlorella (which contains less beta-carotene than spirulina, but almost twice the amount of nucleic acid, chlorophyll, and essential fatty acids (EFAs)), and aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA) — a blue-green algae unique to Klamath Lake in Oregon, USA.
Produced by Klamath Valley Botanicals, Klamath’s Best blue-green algae grows naturally in a volcanic mineral-rich region. It’s said to contain 68 minerals and 70 trace elements that support the daily supply of minerals to the body.
Superfoods as ingredients
Indeed, many superfoods, such as shelled hemp seed, lend themselves to be used as ingredients. Containing 46% fat, of which 75% is EFAs, and containing 34% protein, a high proportion of which is edestin protein (similar to human protein so easily absorbed), shelled hemp seed is a healthy and natural alternative to soya, says Paul Jenkinson, managing director of Yorkshire Hemp.
Frequently promoted by people such as Gillian McKeith, shelled hemp seed has experienced a sudden boom period, with manufacturers launching innovative new products such as Plamil Foods’ vegan chocolate with shelled hemp seed, and Cress Ltd’s new Organic Hemp Protein Powder. In addition, hemp oil, made from cold pressed hemp seed, is rich in a balanced proportion of EFAs, making it ideal for salad dressings. Gluten-free, GM-free and organically certified by the Soil Association, Yorkshire Hemp also makes for an interesting nutty-flavoured replacement for cooking salt, claims Jenkinson.
“The shell is carbohydrate and doesn’t taste very good, so removing it makes it easier to digest, and just leaves behind the nutrients” says Jenkinson. “Hemp has been simmering under the surface for years, but is really coming of age now — so many ‘hempsters’ are promoting and pushing all aspects of hemp, it has a real solid undercurrent of popularity.”
A lifestyle package
Dimensions Health Store, in Bangor, Wales, has a 3.5 ft shelving section devoted to superfoods, says retailer Julie Hotchkiss: “We stock natural and organic products, supplements and bodycare, but we specialise in superfoods. If people aren’t eating enough of the right nutrients, superfoods are a great way of supplementing the diet.”
The range includes green superfoods, as well as honey, probiotics, teas, kelp, pollen and EFAs — “we regard superfoods to be natural foods with added benefits,” says Hotchkiss. “Elderberry is a powerful antioxidant but it’s difficult to get hold of without sugar unless in a tincture.”
The superfood range has proved so popular that Dimensions Health Store now produces its own range of Druhealth Organic Green Barley Grass Powder, says Hotchkiss: “We sell it in the shop, online and to a number of wholesalers. We promote it with leaflets, in-store tastings and at trade fairs — it does need to be marketed, it won’t just sell off the shelf, you need to give it energy and focus and get people to try it, but the improvements in health that are usually experienced lead to most resells.”
With consumers increasingly feeling they need to enhance their diet, and with far more people into healthy organic living, people are looking for new ingredients to include in their daily diet, says Hotchkiss: “I promote superfoods due to the few contraindications. One herb won’t necessarily make a difference on its own, you need an overall balance. Superfoods contain many digestive enzymes which aids nutrient absorption and helps with the bigger picture.”
Manufacturers are now tapping into the idea of a lifestyle package, marketing certain superfood ingredients in a number of varying formats. Higher Nature has a whole range of products catering for the superfoods market: Aloe Gold is an organic whole leaf liquid extract intended to be added to a juice drink; Get Up & Go! is a nutrient-rich breakfast powder made from fruit, vegetable and seed extracts; and Cat’s Claw Tea Bags are caffeine free, high in antioxidants, with anti-inflammatory properties that aid digestion.
Everyday tonics and snacks
The current push on superfoods seems to partially overlap with the theme of functional foods, and both complement the philosophy behind ayurveda, says Adelle Lewis of Pukka Herbs — that is, preserving good health and preventing disease.
The Pukka Herbs range of everyday tonics is derived from ayurveda medicine aimed at keeping the system in optimum condition, says Lewis. Organic Aloe Vera Juice contains high doses of aloeverose and allantoin, essential nutrients for the skin, female reproductive organs and digestive health, as well as detoxifying the liver.
Cywanaprash — described either as an immune tonic that strengthens muscles or an elixir of life — is a paste that can be eaten off the spoon or dissolved in a drink (typically hot milk), and is made from a blend of fruits, honey, herbs, spices and jaggery (a natural source of sugar). More importantly, it contains amla fruit (an Indian gooseberry) that is noted for its powerful antioxidant strength, says Lewis: “Chywanaprash has been traditionally used in India for its reproductive strength and longevity, thought to come from the amla fruit — one of the most potent forms of vitamin C in the plant world.” Amla fruit is also the main ingredient in Nature’s Answer new range of liquid nutraceuticals.
Superfruits make up a large proportion of newly launched products, such as G3 juice and snack bars from Pharmanex, which contain at least four Asian superfruits, including the gac fruit, Siberian pineapple, cili fruit and Chinese lycium. Virtually unknown in the western world, the gac fruit contains a high percentage of bio-available carotenoids, as well as amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Bounce Balls from Bounce Snacks Ltd, and Living Food Energy Bars from McKeith Research also provide a quick healthy burst of energy while on the go.
The pomegranate contains vast amounts of folic acid as well as antioxidants, and Pomegreat is the only juice drink endorsed by the charity Heart-UK, says Ashleigh Flemming, PR for Pomegreat: “Sales have gone through the roof, we’ve just experienced our first million litre month.” The pomegranate is rich in polyphenols, which reduce the oxidation of LDL — the type of cholesterol that causes plaque build up in arteries. Optima Health has also launched a concentrated pomegranate juice.