by Mark Berriman
Nature's Vitamin Pill
When a Japanese medical doctor and research pharmacist tried to find the richest natural source of nutrients on the planet, he spent ten years studying more than 300 green plants. In the end he found that it was the juice of young green plants (wheat and barley) which provided the densest nutrient content.
Wheatgrass juice is probably the most popular and accessible form of grass juice that can be easily grown and processed at home. It contains over 100 elements, including 20 amino acids (the building blocks of protein), 30 enzymes (for proper digestion of food) and about 90 different minerals which, in turn, make vitamin absorption possible. Wheatgrass juice contains copious amounts of B group vitamins, as well as beta carotene and vitamins C and E and, of course, chlorophyll. One 30 ml of wheatgrass juice provides the same nutritional value as a kilo of fresh green vegetables.
Interestingly, a molecule of chlorophyll (the green pigment in plants) is almost identical to a molecule of haemoglobin (the red pigment in our blood which transports oxygen to our cells), the main difference being that chlorophyll has a magnesium atom at its centre, while haemoglobin has an iron atom.
Wheatgrass juice contains one of the most powerful known antioxidants, Super Oxide Dismutase (SOD), which lessens the effects of radiation and retards cellular ageing. In many ways wheatgrass is nature's own vitamin pill. Everything is easily recognised and absorbed by the body.
When taking wheatgrass juice, start with about 30ml diluted with pure water. This can be increased to up to 60mls or more as your body detoxifies with the cleansing effects of the juice.
While wheatgrass juice is becoming more available at juice bars, growing your own can be rewarding and guarantees quality and freshness.
How to Grow Wheatgrass
1. Start with organic wheat grain (available at your health food shop). If you cannot obtain organic wheat, then commercial wheat will still work well.
2. Soak wheat for about 12 hours in summer or for about 24 hours in winter.
3. Drain and allow to sprout (for 12 hours in summer, 24 hours in winter).
4. Place paper (newspaper will do) at the bottom of the tray which should have holes in the bottom for drainage.
5. Cover paper with a good quality soil, compost (or mixture) to a depth of 30 to 50mm.
7. Scatter sprouted seeds evenly over the soil, making sure that they are not cluttered together.
8. Soak both seeds and soil thoroughly with water.
9. Place in a dark place for 2 to 3 days. Alternatively the tray can be covered with cloth (such as a towel or blanket) or even another tray.
10. Remove the cover and then water thoroughly again. This time leave the tray in the shade (not in complete darkness) until grown. Keep the soil moist.
11. In winter it is best to grow wheatgrass inside as cooler temperatures will delay growth.
12. Harvest the grass on about the seventh day when it reaches 15 to 20cm in height. Cut with either scissors or a sharp knife as close to the soil as possible.
13. Juice the wheatgrass immediately by using a crushing type juicer, rather than a centrifugal type, to preserve maximum nutrition in the juice. Alternatively, the grass can be chewed. Simply swallow the juice and spit out the pulp. When using a juicer, dilute the wheatgrass water before drinking. Best results are obtained by drinking the juice in the morning on an empty stomach.
14. The grass will continue to grow and allow for a second harvesting, although the quality of the juice will be inferior.
15. Recycle the soil, including the mat of grass, and begin the process again.
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