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Can You Build Muscle With Wheatgrass?

By Jill Corleone, RDN, LD

Wheatgrass, whether in liquid or powdered form, may be a good source of a number of nutrients, including amino acids, but it alone will not help you build muscle. A well-rounded diet that includes a healthy balance of carbs, protein and fat, paired with a well-designed resistance-training program, is the key to building muscle.

About Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass by itself is difficult to digest, according to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and is typically juiced for consumption or taken in powdered form. Its proposed uses vary and include detoxification, carcinogen neutralizer, tooth decay prevention, increased blood oxygenation and treatment and prevention of both cancer and AIDS. However, there's no evidence to support that it actually offers these benefits, according to MSKCC.

Benefits of Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass offers several health-promoting nutrients, including vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as the B vitamins, iron, magnesium and selenium. It's also rich in chlorophyll, which is the component that gives it its green color and may, as an antioxidant, protect your cells from damage by free radicals. Wheatgrass is not, however, high in nutrients you need for muscle building: carbohydrates, protein and fat. A 1-ounce shot of wheatgrass juice has 15 calories, 2 grams of carbs and 1 gram of protein.

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Concerns About Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass may also make you feel sick when you drink it. Due to its grassy taste, some people have a difficult time tolerating the green juice and may feel nauseous after ingestion, says MSKCC. Also, because it's consumed raw, wheatgrass juice may be contaminated with bacteria and increase your risk of foodborne illness.

How to Build Muscle

When you're strength training to build muscle, what you eat can help promote strength, growth and recovery. However, it's not just one food or nutrient that helps you build muscle, but a balanced mix of carbohydrate, protein and fat from nutrient-rich food sources. Protein foods provides the amino acids you need to build muscle, while carbs and fat provide your body with the energy it needs to preserve muscle.

Include wheatgrass to add variety to your balanced diet, but don't count on it as a magic bullet for muscle growth.

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