Diabetes is a metabolic disorder. When we eat food, it is broken down to form glucose – the main fuel source for the body.
Glucose enters the blood stream after digestion. It is then used by body cells for energy and growth. Insulin is the hormone that helps glucose enter these cells.
When too little or too much insulin is produced by the pancreas, we suffer from diabetes. Diabetic patients also have cells that do not respond adequately to insulin.
This causes a build up of glucose in the blood. This passes out via urine out of the body. Hence the body loses large quantities of glucose – the main fuel source.
Diabetes is a very common illness today, affecting a large percentage of population all over the world. There are three types of diabetes – Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes. The first is an autoimmune disease.
The second is the most commonly occurring type of diabetes and is caused due to age, obesity, ethnicity, physical inactivity or family history.
Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and affects women with a family history and particular ethnic groups. Women who suffer from gestational diabetes can develop Type 2 diabetes (20 – 50% chance) within 5-10 years.
What is Wheatgrass
Wheatgrass got from the young wheatgrass contains chlorophyll, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamins A, C, K, E and B-complex, selenium and amino acids.
In fact the high levels of chlorophyll found in wheatgrass is said to be equal to hemoglobin found in the blood. Hence, consuming wheatgrass is said to improve oxygenation in the body.
Small quantities of wheatgrass consumed daily is said to provide many health benefits.
Wheatgrass for Diabetes
Wheatgrass has been part of ancient medicine systems such as ayurveda and Chinese medicine system. Many researchers suggest that it can improve lipid and blood glucose levels.
Glycemic Index is the measure of how various foods can increase or decrease blood sugar levels. A study was conducted on group of diabetic patients who were given wheatgrass as part of their diet – in one meal.
The GI index of some foods reduced quite significantly after wheatgrass was included in the diet. This meant that blood sugar levels in these diabetic patients improved.
After certain tests, it was found that even triglyceride levels improved in diabetic patients who included wheatgrass in their diet. Although more extensive studies are needed, this is a promising result for diabetics.
Another study has found that raw vegan food that included wheatgrass helped to relieve the pancreas of the task of digesting cooked food.
This could improve insulin production. Liver toxicity is also linked to diabetes and eating wheatgrass as part of a vegan diet can help detoxify the liver and colon and clear them of harmful toxins, therefore indirectly helping with diabetes.
Patients with type 1 diabetes often suffer from foot ulcers, which can cause disability. Healing can take a long time and very often these ulcers keep recurring. Some doctors have recommended the use of wheatgrass spray on these ulcers and then wrapping them with a soft gauze dressing.
According to some studies, wheatgrass may contain growth factors that could repair nerves, keep blood vessels open and allow nutrients and oxygen to reach the damaged tissue. This can promote healing of ulcers. Wheatgrass treatment can be a supplemental therapy along with conventional treatment for diabetic foot ulcers.
There are many other possible benefits of wheatgrass for diabetics – the fiber contained in wheatgrass can regulate absorption of cholesterol and sugar.
This can prevent sudden rise in blood sugar levels that many diabetic patients experience. Wheatgrass contains magnesium that is important in improving insulin sensitivity. This could delay the start of type 2 diabetes and other complications that result from this like nephropathy, retinopathy and cardiovascular diseases.
According to those who use Chinese medicine, it is said that improper functioning of the kidneys and deficiency of blood statis can cause diabetic neuropathy.
Wheatgrass is said to restore this imbalance, although there is no scientific study to prove this claim.
The high chlorophyll content in wheatgrass means that eating it can increase levels of phytanic acid and therefore reduce the risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
This study was done or rats and human research is required. Women who suffered from type-1 diabetes and are pregnant can develop preeclampsia and this could cause premature delivery, maternal death and strokes.
Drinking wheatgrass can reduce the incidences of type-1 diabetes in pregnant women since it contains beta-carotene.
Precautions while using wheatgrass
Adverse reactions that we can suffer are nausea and headaches. Some who are susceptible to grass allergies or celiac disease could have allergic reactions and must avoid it.
You must consult your doctor if you are having diabetes and wish to include wheatgrass in your diet. Wheatgrass cannot replace any current medication you are taking.