Oat grass (Arrhenatherum) is a perennial species of grass that grows to a height of about 1.5 meters and it is common in North Africa and parts of Eurasia including France, Afghanistan, Portugal, Turkey and Spain. It is worth noting that a variant of oat grass called California oat grass grows in the Pacific Coast states of the US. The health benefits of oat grass are plentiful.
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Although wild Arrhenatherum is native to Scotland and parts of North Africa, it is now grown throughout the world. Presently, there are about 25 varieties of Arrhenatherum, including the Arrhenatherum elatius species. The beauty of this type of grass is it can grow and thrive in different soil types including clay, permeable silt, sandy loam and serpentine soil.
Health Benefits of Oat Grass
Improves Cognitive Performance
Arrhenatherum extracts could improve cognitive performance, according to a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Participants in this study were elderly volunteers with below average cognitive performance scores. These participants were given 1600 and 2400 mg of Arrhenatherum extracts.
They were also required to take the Stroop color-word test to determine their cognitive performance. Surprisingly, results from this test showed that oat herb extracts improved the participants’ attention, ability to maintain focus while performing tasks as well as concentration in seniors with differing levels of cognitive capability.
Lessens the Impact of Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms
According to an article published by the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS), Arrhenatherum extracts can lessen the impact of nicotine withdrawal symptoms. In particular, the article states that a controlled clinical study in India found that taking at least 1ml of oat herb alcohol extract four times daily reduces the desire to smoke and the number of cigarettes smoked per day.
The aforementioned UMHS article states that Arrhenatherum extracts are effective in treating anxiety. This is largely because the oat plant falls under the category of nervine “nerve tonic”, herbs widely used by traditional medicine practitioners to treat people with anxiety.
Good for Diabetics
Oatmeal is a nutritionally dense, slow digesting, sugarless whole grain, and low glycemic carbohydrate food that suits the dietary needs of diabetic people. This is according to a scientific paper appearing in the Asian Journal of Plant Science and Research.
The oat plant also contains a soluble fiber called β-glucan that turns into a gel and increases the viscosity of a meal, thereby slowing down the digestion process. This leads to the prolonged absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream and consequently reduces the frequency of spikes in blood sugar. Of course, proper control of blood glucose and insulin levels is vital to prevent the health complications related to diabetes.
Oats contain essential fatty acids linked to overall good health and longevity, according to a publication in the Asian Journal of Plant Science and Research. Oat grass is also a good source of essential amino acids that help the body to function optimally.
In addition, you can get vitamins and essential minerals such as biotin, selenium, folic acid, zinc, thiamin, pantothenic acid, copper, iron and magnesium from oat herb extracts. All of these are essential in maintaining optimum general health and enhancing fast recovery from sickness.
Gluten Free Food
For people diagnosed with celiac disease, eating certain foods especially those with gluten is problematic because their immune systems literally attack and destroy tiny protrusions found in the small intestines called villi. As such, their bodies cannot absorb nutrients including sugars, proteins, and essential vitamins properly, meaning victims eventually become malnourished irrespective of the amount of food they eat.
To avoid this outcome, those with celiac disease must adhere to a strictly gluten-free diet. Fortunately, this grass is gluten-free making it a great source of nutrients for people with celiac disease.
Side Effects of Oat Grass
This species of grass is safe and can be consumed by most people including pregnant and breast-feeding women. Nevertheless, consumers should take note that it can cause digestive tract problems such as bloating. If you experience such problems, a WebMD article recommends reducing your daily dosage and increasing it gradually over time. However, if this strategy fails to work, you should consult a qualified physician or dietitian as soon as possible.
Incorporating Oat Grass into Your Diet
Oat grass products are available in powder form meaning consumers can sprinkle them onto their meals or use them to prepare health drinks. Commercially available green drink powders that contain extracts from the grass include Total Living Drink Greens. You can purchase these products online or from brick-and-mortar outlets that sell health supplements.
Oat grass contains chemical compounds that can help treat anxiety, improve a person’s general health and longevity, improve and help control diabetes, lessen the impact of nicotine withdrawal symptoms and improve cognitive performance. Since this species of grass is gluten-free, people with celiac disease can safely incorporate it into their diets.