Wheatgrass juice proves to be an elixir for those suffering from hypertension, fatty liver because it is a rich source of Magnesium and Potassium. These minerals lower blood pressure and a deficiency can actually raise it. This juice is also beneficial in preventing premature greying of hair. London-based Parna, a certified nutritionist and fitness expert, tell us how to harvest and have its juice, in the concluding part of the two-part feature, in the weekly column, exclusively in Different Truths.
This is in continuation to my previous article on Wheatgrass, The Green Blood: Wheatgrass Juice – I, in case you have missed reading it.
Now you must be thinking, after growing the wheatgrass, what next?
So, here are the next steps on how and when to harvest the wheatgrass and then how it can be consumed.
Harvesting the Wheatgrass
The Wheatgrass usually takes 10-12 days of growth to reach its nutritional peak. At this point, you would notice that the shoots have matured and the second blade of grass will begin growing out of the first shoot. This is called “splitting” and means that the grass is ready for harvesting. The grass would be around 7-8 inches tall at this time. So, you should wait for the wheatgrass to reach its nutritional peak and “split” before harvesting it. If you cut it too early then you won’t allow it to reach its nutritional peak and it tastes extremely sweet. Also, you will not get the optimum nutrition from it. And if you cut it too late, the taste is bitter. So, the best time to harvest is when the grass has split and it is 7-8 inches tall.
You can cut the wheatgrass from about 1/2 inch above the soil surface with clean, sharp scissors and collect it in a bowl. The harvested grass is now ready to be used. Though you can store the harvested wheatgrass in the refrigerator for about a week, it tastes best and provides the most health benefits when it’s harvested right before you plan to juice it.
Keep watering the wheatgrass pots to produce a second crop. Harvest that crop once it’s mature. And repeat the cycle. Sometimes a third crop comes up, but it’s usually not as tender and sweet as the first one. At this point, empty the soil pot and prepare it for another batch of seedlings.
If you plan to make wheatgrass a part of your daily diet, you’ll need more than one tray of seedlings growing at a time. So you should plan the timing of the growing and harvesting cycle so that you have a new batch of seeds soaking while the previous batch is in the process of maturing. If you have 2-3 batches of seeds at various stages in a rotation, you should be able to produce enough wheatgrass to have a shot of juice every day.
Different Ways of Using Wheatgrass
Wheatgrass can be consumed in many forms, juice, powdered form or pills. Most common is the juice form.
A one-ounce serving of fresh wheatgrass juice has five calories, one gram of carbohydrate and one gram of protein. A 1-tablespoon serving of wheatgrass powder has 35 calories, four grams of carbs, two grams of fiber and two grams of protein.
Though I have already covered the health benefits of Wheatgrass in my previous article, the most important thing is that the Wheatgrass juice acts a potential liver cleanser. It helps the body to get rid of toxins and mucus.
The liver is the main organ involved in the metabolism of fats. A well-functioning liver is your passport to better heart health. Wheatgrass juice proves to be an elixir for those suffering from hypertension, fatty liver because it is a rich source of Magnesium and Potassium. These minerals lower blood pressure and a deficiency can actually raise it. This juice is also beneficial in preventing premature graying of hair.
Wheatgrass juice can be easily made at home. It’s a very simple process. After you have harvested the wheatgrass collected in a bowl, it’s time to give it a rinse. Since the Wheatgrass was grown from organic seeds in organic soil or compost, it doesn’t need a heavy washing. Just give it a light rinse to wash away any debris or dust it may have collected from the air. There are special wheatgrass juicers available these days which are designed to extract the maximum nutrition from this fibrous plant. But in case you don’t have one, you can use a blender and still be able to get the most of it. You can blend the chopped wheatgrass with a little water for few seconds. Once the wheatgrass is completely blended, use a strainer to filter the juice. Fresh wheatgrass juice is ready. You should consume it immediately after juicing on an empty stomach to get the maximum health benefits from it. Avoid mixing wheatgrass juice with other citrus juices because they react with each other and much nutrition of the wheatgrass juice is lost in the process.
Wheatgrass juice is dehydrated in special dehydrating machines in a commercial setup to make wheatgrass powder and pills. One can consume dehydrated wheatgrass to help with weight loss. Dehydrated Wheatgrass as capsules, powders or tablets is nutrient dense food and this expands when water combines with it. When a person eats such foods, they feel full faster, while actually consuming lesser quantities of other foods. This means a person’s calorie intake gets reduced. Hence, Wheatgrass can help with the weight loss. While dehydrated Wheatgrass is not as rich in nutrients as wheatgrass juice, it does provide the roughage that is needed for weight loss programs. And if Wheatgrass is grown under the right conditions and is harvested at the right time and then dehydrated scientifically, it can still be rich in all the essential nutrients that raw Wheatgrass has.
Precautions while Consuming Wheatgrass
Although Wheatgrass offers a myriad of health benefits for some conditions it is best to consult a doctor before consuming the Wheatgrass. Such conditions are for people with Gluten Intolerance, Celiac disease, and grass or wheat allergy, although Wheatgrass is gluten free. Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding must not consume wheatgrass without doctor’s advice. Some kidney patients also should not consume Wheatgrass without doctor’s advice because of its high potassium content.
Thus, one must remember that although Wheatgrass cannot replace a healthy diet of fresh vegetables and fruits if included in your daily diet can enhance your health significantly.
Photos by the author
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