It was the morning after our old Irish school chum’s wedding stag and my friend Kelsey and I were recovering from a night of celebrations. Liver recovery takes on new meaning when the evening before is filled with green beer and overexposure to bar smoke.
As Kelsey lay sleeping–his half-clad body sprawled across the bed and his white-coated tongue hanging out of his mouth–I placed a tall glass of frothy, dark green liquid beside him.
Kelsey barely awoke to the thud of the beer mug on the bedside table. Opening one eye, he was only coherent enough to say, “Are you kidding, man? There is NO way I’m going to cure my hangover with the hair of the dog that bit me. I’m not drinking another green beer for the rest of my life!”
“Don’t worry,” I laughed, “it’s not green beer. Close enough, though. You might say that wheat grass juice is beer before it’s beer. Technically, it is young wheat, but definitely nonalcoholic.” With his swollen head, Kelsey could barely compute this basic information. Nonetheless, I continued on to explain the amazing properties of wheat grass juice.
“Did you know that besides being an incredible hangover cure, the chlorophyll in wheat grass juice neutralizes infection, heals wounds, overcomes inflammation, and gets rid of parasitic infections?”
“I feel like a parasite this morning,” Kelsey muttered.
“Drink this,” I preached, “and in 10 minutes, you’ll already be feeling better.”
We all know about the anticancer sulphoraphanes in broccoli, the antiviral allicin in garlic, and the cardioprotective anthocyanins in berries. Wheat grass (Triticum vulgare or T. aestivum) is a powerhouse of nutrients and vitamins for the human body, as well. In the form of fresh juice, it has high concentrations of chlorophyll, active enzymes, carotene vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. According to Dr. Ann Wigmore, author of The Wheatgrass Book (Avery, 1985), a 1-oz (28-mL) shot glass of wheat grass juice is equivalent in food-vitamin value to two and a half pounds (more than one kilo) of leafy green vegetables. Drink that every morning and you’ll hear each one of your cells say “ahh.”
Remember your biology lessons about photosynthesis and the action of sunlight on the production of chlorophyll, a plant’s energy source? At the risk of sounding like a Florida orange juice commercial, a shot glass of chlorophyll-laden wheat grass juice is like drinking one day’s worth of sunshine.
Besides providing a whop of energy, a shot glass of potent wheat grass juice is chock full of vitamins A, C, and E; calcium; and magnesium, excellent nutrients to stimulate DNA renewal and slow cellular deterioration and mutation. As determined in the 1980s by Dr. Yasuo Hotta, a biologist at the University of California, San Diego, and others, wheat grass as a living food is useful in the treatment of degenerative disease. On a more technical note, the mucopolysaccharides, chlorophyll, and P4D1 enzymes in wheat grass juice also have the ability to strengthen heart and arterial tissue, lower blood fat, and reduce inflammation.
A few things to keep in mind before going out to buy your wheat grass juice (fresh or powdered): Know the source. There is valid concern about contamination when wheat grass is not grown organically. Because wheat grass is mass produced in soils or water that is not necessarily purified (therefore likely contaminated with heavy metals) and because it is consumed raw, contamination with bacteria, molds, or other substances like heavy metals may be a concern. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are better off not to use wheatgrass.
What we need to look for are brands that are grown certified organic and pesticide free, grown with reverse osmosis in smaller batches or purified water, (not swamp) or wild field-derived, and considered free of molds. All of this information will not be on the label and should be requested from the manufacturer.
Let’s recap. Do you want to stay healthy and live longer? Drink a shot of antioxidant-saturated wheat grass juice every morning without fail. It’s also great for wedding stag hangovers–just ask my friend Kelsey.