In today’s world, many people struggle with being overweight and obesity. Losing weight can be challenging, but incorporating natural and healthy strategies into your lifestyle can help. One potential tool for weight loss is wheatgrass. Wheatgrass is the young grass shoots of the wheat plant, Triticum aestivum. It contains a wide range of vitamins, minerals and plant compounds that may provide health benefits. Here is an in-depth look at how wheatgrass may help with weight loss.
What is Wheatgrass?
Wheatgrass refers to the young grass shoots that come up before stalks form a head of wheat. It’s typically harvested before reaching full maturity, when the grass is still soft and green.
Wheatgrass can be grown and harvested year-round. It’s often used as a dietary supplement, with the roots, stems, leaves and juice all being consumed raw, dried or in powdered form.
Wheatgrass contains a variety of important nutrients, including:
- Vitamins A, C and E
- Amino acids
Some proponents claim that wheatgrass has even more health benefits, helping treat conditions like cancer and thyroid disorders, though more research is needed.
How Wheatgrass May Aid Weight Loss
Incorporating wheatgrass into your diet could potentially help boost weight loss in several ways:
1. Low in Calories
One of the biggest benefits wheatgrass offers for weight loss is that it’s low in calories. One ounce (28 grams) of fresh wheatgrass contains just 20 calories (1).
Compared to other greens like kale, spinach and lettuce, wheatgrass has a very low calorie density. This makes it an ideal add-on to foods and smoothies when you’re watching your calorie intake.
2. Rich in Nutrients
Wheatgrass contains an impressive array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, packing a concentrated nutritional punch in a low-calorie form.
Some specific nutrients in wheatgrass that could boost weight loss include:
- Iron: Important for energy levels and metabolism (2).
- Magnesium: Involved in carbohydrate metabolism and may reduce cravings and hunger (3).
- Amino acids: Help promote fat burning and conserve muscle mass during weight loss (4).
- Antioxidants: Help protect against oxidative stress caused by weight loss (5).
3. May Support Cleansing
Some also claim that wheatgrass supports detoxification and cleansing processes in the body. This could help eliminate toxins that can contribute to weight gain.
However, more research is needed on wheatgrass’s effects on toxin elimination.
4. Contains Chlorophyll
Chlorophyll is a green pigment found in plants like wheatgrass. It helps plants absorb energy from sunlight.
Some small studies have found that chlorophyll supplements could reduce hunger levels and promote weight loss. More research is needed to determine if wheatgrass itself has similar effects (6, 7).
5. Easy to Add to Diet
Wheatgrass can be consumed as a juice, powder or tablet, making it very easy to add to your daily routine.
Drinking just 1–2 ounces (30–60 ml) of wheatgrass juice or blending it into a smoothie with fruit can help bump up your vegetable intake and nutrient consumption without adding many calories.
How to Grow and Use Wheatgrass
Growing your own wheatgrass at home is a simple way to incorporate it into your diet. Here is a step-by-step guide:
- Wheatgrass seeds
- Shallow growing tray or pot
- Fill a shallow tray or pot with a layer of soil. Moisten it well.
- Sprinkle wheatgrass seeds evenly over the soil.
- Cover seeds with a thin layer of soil.
- Water soil until moist but not soaked.
- Place tray in a warm spot with indirect sunlight.
- Water soil daily to keep it moist.
- Once sprouts are 1–2 inches tall, they are ready to harvest.
- Use scissors to cut the wheatgrass right above the soil.
Once harvested, wheatgrass can be juiced, added to smoothies or even used to make pesto. Start with just 1 ounce (28 grams) at a time to see how your body responds.
You can also find wheatgrass supplements in tablet, powder, frozen juice or concentrated shot form at many grocery stores, health stores or online.
Healthy Wheatgrass Recipes
Here are a few healthy recipes using wheatgrass:
Simply juice 1–2 ounces (30–60 ml) of fresh wheatgrass and drink it down.
Blend wheatgrass juice or powder with frozen fruit, milk or water, and sweetener if desired.
Mix wheatgrass, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese then spread on cooked fish, chicken or veggies.
Whisk together wheatgrass juice, oil, apple cider vinegar and herbs for a zesty dressing.
Juice wheatgrass, cucumber, celery, lemon, ginger and apples for a delicious green juice.
Possible Side Effects and Precautions
When consumed in moderation, wheatgrass is generally considered safe, but some side effects may occur:
- Allergic reactions
Wheatgrass may also interact with certain medications and reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs. Speak with your healthcare provider before supplementing.
Additionally, introduce wheatgrass slowly and start with a low dose to assess tolerance.
Should You Try Wheatgrass for Weight Loss?
Adding wheatgrass to your diet may aid weight loss in several ways.
It’s low in calories, dense in nutrients and easy to incorporate into smoothies, juices or other dishes.
However, most research has been focused on chlorophyll, so more studies directly evaluating wheatgrass are needed.
Wheatgrass is unlikely to lead to significant weight loss on its own but may be a useful addition to a healthy, well-rounded weight loss diet.
The Bottom Line
Wheatgrass is low in calories but high in nutrients like iron, magnesium and amino acids. Some small studies show wheatgrass and its components could potentially help reduce appetite and encourage weight loss.
Drinking just 1–2 ounces (30–60 ml) of wheatgrass juice or powder per day may help supplement your diet as part of an overall weight loss strategy.
Start slowly and mix wheatgrass into smoothies, juices or other dishes to take advantage of its unique nutritional profile.
However, keep in mind that wheatgrass alone is unlikely to lead to significant weight loss.