Nutrition and Care
When caring for wheatgrass, keep it out of direct sunlight, and always water from the bottom. Wheatgrass pet packs need about ½ cup of water every 2-3 days. A large tray of wheat grass will use about 4 cups of water in 2-3 days, depending on conditions. Trim wheatgrass before it grows tall enough that it starts to fall over. Wheatgrass for juicing can be harvested more than once but it provides 50% less nutrition after the first cut.
Wheatgrass contains 70% chlorophyll which structurally resembles hemoglobin (a major component of blood). The most significant chemical difference is that the central element in chlorophyll is magnesium and in hemoglobin it is iron. These mineral elements appear to play a similar role because in mammals hemoglobin acts as an oxygen carrier, while in plants chlorophyll assimilates carbon from the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Wheatgrass is harvested when the shoots are 7 to 10 days old, it is at this time the nutrients are at the highest levels, and then it is juiced and frozen in 1 ounce portions. After this first stage of growth the plant starts to retain the nutrients and store them in the seed. Wheatgrass may be harvested from oats, barley or wheat, at Sunrise Gardens we use Hard Red Spring Wheat. Wheatgrass needs to be juiced in order for humans to access the nutrients because of the fibrous structures in the grass.
What is wheatgrass good for?
The nutrients in wheatgrass juice are very available to the body, believed to be due to the high levels of chlorophyll. Wheatgrass juice is rich in vitamins, bioflavonoids, minerals and amino acids.
Wheatgrass juice contains significant amounts of minerals, such as: iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, copper and zinc. Wheat grass juice is high in antioxidants including beta carotene (precursor to vitamin A), vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B complex, and it contains 17 amino acids (8 of which are essential amino acids). These elements play an important role in human metabolic processes and are vital for general well-being. For example, vitamin A is important for vision, vitamin B complex for the nervous system and vitamin C for the immune system.
What about for pets?
Wheatgrass is also good for pets, and many animals (from cats and dogs to birds and turtles) enjoy chewing on the fresh grass shoots. The benefits for animals are believed to be similar to those for humans, but animal digestive systems can tolerate the fiber in the grass and don’t need it to be juiced. In addition, most commercial pet foods do not contain greens and providing wheat grass can replace the grass that many animals naturally select when it’s available outside.
|Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)||Vitamin A (beta-Carotene)||Vitamin E (Tocopherol)||Potassium||Calcium||Phosphorus||Magnesium|
|Wheat Grass juice *||32.8 mg/ 100 ml||2.43 mg/ 100 ml||8.5 mg/ 100 ml||57 mg/ 100 ml||2.4 mg/ 100 ml||8.2 mg/100 ml||1.7 mg/100 ml|
Ben-Arye E., Golden E., Wengrower D., Stamper A., Kohn R., Berry E. 2002. Wheat grass juice in the treatment of active distal ulcerative colitis: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology 37, 444-449.
*Ben-Sela G., Tsalic M., Fried G., Goldberg H. 2007. Wheat grass juice may improve hematological toxicity related to chemotherapy in breast cancer patients: a pilot study. Nutrition and Cancer 58(1), 43-48.
Chauhan, M. 2014. A pilot study on wheatgrass juice for its phytochemical, nutritional and therapeutic potential on chronic diseases. International Journal of Chemical Studies 2(4), 27-34.
Singh N., Verma P., Pandey B.R. 2012. Therapeutic potential of organic Triticum aestivum Linn. (Wheat Grass) in prevention and treatment of chronic diseases: An overview. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research 4(1), 10-14.
Yang F., Basu T.K., Ooraikul B. 2002. Studies on germination conditions and antioxidant content of wheat grain. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition 52(4), 319-330.