As you know, antioxidants are a much discussed topic and there is a formidable amount of information about them on the internet as a quick search on Google Scholar will quickly demonstrate.
Basically, as oxygen is used up by the body’s normal metabolic processes, potentially damaging chemicals called ‘free radicals’ are produced. Environmental chemicals can also increase free radical levels. In turn, the free radicals attack other cells in the body, oxidizing them and causing damage. This oxidizing process is somewhat similar to when the cut surface of an apple turns brown when exposed to the air.
Damage can affect cell membranes, DNA and other cellular structures. This can lead to such untoward developments as:
cataracts in the eye
and some nervous disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
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Antioxidants help to neutralize the adverse effects of free radicals, so our diet needs to contain high enough levels to help prevent or slow these developments.
Because wheatgrass is antioxidant-rich, taking it daily is one way of helping your body stay healthy.
Recent Antioxidant Research
In 2006 a group of Indian scientists (Kulkarni et. al.) performed an important study prompted by the knowledge that “the search is on for plant products with high antioxidant activities”.
Anitoxidant levels (phenolic and flavonoid compounds) of water-based (i.e. wheatgrass juice) and alcohol-based extractions of wheatgrass were measured from plants grown under different growing conditions over periods from 6 to 15 days. These conditions included tap water, tap water with nutrients, soil and tap water and soil with nutrients.
These extracts were compared with a commercially available wheatgrass tablet.
The scientists found antioxidant levels were:
Highest at the end of the growing period (15 days).
Up to 25% higher in alcohol-extracted solutions compared with freshly juiced wheatgrass.
Highest in soil with nutrients.
Higher than many natural extracts and vegetables.
Significantly lower in the wheatgrass tablet compared with both fresh juice and alcohol-extracted solutions.
During the processing of my own wheatgrass extract, one of the steps involves alcohol extraction. From what I have observed in patient recovery clinically since 1995, I have no doubt wheatgrass has a very positive effect on the human body and on the skin. The benefits from daily ingestion of wheatgrass can really make a difference to one’s health while many have enjoyed healthier skin after topical application.