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Wheatgrass Benefits

by Derek Buckner

About Derek Buckner

Derek Buckner has been writing professionally since 2005, specializing in diet, nutrition and general health. He has been published in "Today's Dietitian," "Food Essentials" and "Eating Well Magazine," among others. Buckner is a registered dietitian and holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition and food science from Drexel University.

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Wheatgrass is a member of the wheat family. It most commonly serves as an ingredient in a number of healthy smoothie recipes. While it appears to be nothing more than ordinary grass, wheatgrass offers a variety of benefits. It contains numerous vitamins and minerals such as iron, beta carotene, calcium and amino acids.

Beta Carotene

When you consume beta carotene, your body converts it into vitamin A. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, vitamin A promotes healthy eyes, mucus membranes, immune system and skin. Beta carotene is the safest form of vitamin A that you consume. It is also an antioxidant that helps protect your body from free radicals, molecules that cause damage to your cells and often lead to the onset of chronic illnesses.

Amino Acids

MedlinePlus defines amino acids as the organic compounds that form together to create proteins, the building blocks of life. When you consume and digest proteins, such as those found in wheatgrass, the amino acids are what are left. Your body uses these amino acids to help you grow, repair damaged tissue and properly break down food.

Calcium

Calcium is a mineral that your body requires to develop and maintain bones and teeth that are strong and healthy. It is a naturally occurring mineral that your body does not have the ability to make on its own, so a diet rich in calcium is required. If you don't consume enough calcium on a regular basis, your body will begin to break down your bones to get the nutrition it needs. This could lead to the onset of osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones in your body become thin and brittle. Adding wheatgrass to a smoothie is one way to boost your intake of this essential nutrient.

Iron

Iron is a mineral in your red blood cells and muscle cells, and wheatgrass is a healthy way to increase your intake of this essential mineral. According to MedlinePlus, iron is necessary for the transportation of oxygen and carbon dioxide throughout your body. If you fail to get adequate amounts of iron in your diet, it is possible to develop anemia. The lack of iron makes it impossible for enough oxygen to be carried through your blood and delivered to the rest of your body, leading to a feeling of tiredness and weakness. Iron also helps improve physical performance and serves as a treatment for canker sores, fatigue and depression.

Photo Credits:

  • wheatgrass isolated on a white background image by tan4ikk from Fotolia.com

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.