You might have heard of wheatgrass as a supplement, a powder, a juice, or even in pills as a superfood that helps people lose weight and feel better. You might also have heard of the legendary bad taste that wheatgrass has – so bad that many people wince like they are in pain when they take a shot of the green juice.
What you probably don’t know is that there is a lot more to wheatgrass than the rumors let on. The taste isn’t always as bad as people make it out to be, and the health benefits may be exaggerated.
In this article, we’ll take a look at wheatgrass: what it is, what it tastes like, and whether it is worth it for the health benefits it supposedly brings.
What Is Wheatgrass?
Simply put, wheatgrass is the leafy part of the young wheat plant Triticum aestivum. It grows wild in temperate climates like North America and Europe. It is also called couchgrass, quackgrass, dog grass, and witch grass.
It is a hearty plant that is easy to grow indoors and outdoors, and can be planted using wheat seeds. It’s fairly easy to grow your own wheatgrass at home if you live in a temperate climate.
What Is The Distinctive Flavor Of Wheatgrass?
The flavor of wheatgrass is infamous. If you order a wheatgrass shot, you will likely be warned about the taste in advance. It’s an intense experience, with a lingering aftertaste, and most people don’t enjoy it very much.
The flavor of wheatgrass is strong, leafy, vegetal, and bitter.
According to a food blogger who drank a shot of wheatgrass every morning for breakfast for 2 weeks, “It looks like the inside of a lawnmower bag and tastes like how a compost pile smells. I gagged drinking it. “
However, that isn’t everyone. Some people do enjoy the experience of drinking wheatgrass, and tolerate or even enjoy the pungent, leafy chlorophyll taste.
It can be significantly improved by adding sugar or sweetener, or mixing wheatgrass juice into fruit smoothies or other sweet drinks. In this context, the chlorophyll flavor is minimized and adds an additional bit of green flavor.
What Does Wheatgrass Look Like?
The wheatgrass that is used to make wheatgrass juice should be harvested young, from plants that are just beginning to grow and are only a few inches tall.
These are the plants with the most nutrients. Planted indoors or outdoors, wheatgrass looks like many individual blades of grass.
When wheatgrass is harvested and juiced, it makes a vibrant, bright green colored liquid filled with chlorophyll.
Wheatgrass powder is made from wheatgrass that is harvested and dried, and can be blended with water to make a typical wheatgrass shot. It is a clumpy green powder that looks a little bit like wet sand.
What Texture Does Wheatgrass Have?
You can chew on wheatgrass directly from the earth, and get some of the health benefits of wheatgrass juice that way. The texture of wheatgrass is very similar to regular grass, or leaves.
Wheatgrass juice is thin and watery, without much texture, since the plant matter is strained out in the juicing process.
Where Does Wheatgrass Come From?
While wheatgrass has been growing wild in temperate climates for millennia, and wheat is a major staple of diets around the world, wheatgrass itself didn’t become a popular food ingredient until the 1980s, when it became associated with huge health benefits, and found a home in the nascent health food movement.
The publicity surrounding wheatgrass began with Ann Wigmore, a Lithuanian immigrant to Boston who developed the theory that wheatgrass is a superfood capable of curing almost any ailment.
She found evidence for her theories in passages in the bible, and from observing cats and dogs eating wheatgrass when they were ill.
She developed a health program focused around wheatgrass, and started selling it to the general public, making some bold claims in the process.
In the early 19980s, she claimed that wheatgrass could reduce or eliminate the need for insulin in diabetics.
This claim was false, and she was successfully sued by the Massechussets Attorney General, and legally required to stop making that claim.
A similar issue surfaced in 1988, when Wigmore claimed that a wheatgrass “energy enzyme soup” could cure AIDS. She was eventually ordered to stop making these claims.
Ann Wigmore passed away in 1993 with most of her claims about wheatgrass disproved or unproven, but the enthusiasm for wheatgrass as superfood remains.
Is Wheatgrass Healthy?
Although the lofty claims about wheatgrass may be exaggerated, no one seriously doubts that there are health benefits to eating more leafy greens.
Wheatgrass contains many vital nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants. It is an excellent source of vitamin E, C, and A, as well as iron, magnesium, and magnesium.
It also contains antioxidants that remove free radicals from your bloodstream and reduce the risk of serious illnesses, including cancer. Wheatgrass is particularly rich in the antioxidant glutathione.
There are some evidence-based studies that show wheatgrass can reduce inflammation and cholesterol, and help to regulate blood pressure.
Wheatgrass may even be helpful for wait loss, thanks to compounds called thylakoids, which have been shown to increase the sense of satiety, reducing hunger.
There are plenty of health benefits associated with wheatgrass, but because of the hype that surrounds it as “superfood”, it is important to point out that many other leafy greens have similar benefits, and you might even be able to improve your health more by eating a variety of leafy greens and vegetables, rather than forcing yourself to down a single shot of juiced grass.
What Are The Dangers Of Wheatgrass?
In general, wheatgrass doesn’t pose much of a problem for people, and is quite safe. Although it is derived from the wheat plant, wheatgrass is even gluten-free, since the gluten in wheat comes from the kernel rather than the leaf.
Wheatgrass is a hearty plant that survives easily in colder climates, but it is incredibly vulnerable to one thing: mold. This can cause some health dangers that it is good to be aware of.
If wheatgrass is grown indoors in an area with poor ventilation, it can quickly develop an invisible mold that makes the taste of the grass even more bitter, and can lead to headaches, exhaustion, nausea, and vomiting.
In some cases, people experience these symptoms even when drinking wheatgrass that they got from a professional source or in a powder.
This might indicate that some people are more sensitive to the mold on wheatgrass than others, or it could be that some people have a latent allergy or intolerance.
If you experience an upset stomach or nausea after drinking wheatgrass, stop immediately.
How Do You Eat Wheatgrass?
You can eat wheatgrass directly out of the ground by chewing on it, if you like. The most popular option is to juice wheatgrass, and serve it in a single shot.
A piece of advice: to minimize the taste while taking your wheatgrass shot, plug your nose like you are about to dive underwater. The reduced airflow will minimize the taste.
Of course, if you want a better taste experience, you can always add wheatgrass (whole, as a juice, or a powder) into a smoothie or a sweet drink, to reduce the taste so you can enjoy it.
How To Tell If Wheatgrass Is bad?
If wheatgrass is yellow or discolored, it has already gone bad.
Wheatgrass should be eaten or juiced when it is young and bright green. If it has grown significantly, or has been cut for a while without being juiced, it will be much more bitter.
Can You Grow Wheatgrass?
You don’t necessarily need to rely on your local health food store for your supply of wheatgrass, if you have a green thumb and live in a temperate climate.
You can grow your own wheatgrass, and have complete control over the supply and quality.
It’s best to grow wheatgrass outdoors. Although it is possible to grow it indoors under lights, ventilation is extremely important since wheatgrass can easily get moldy.
You should also avoid exposure to direct sunlight, since wheatgrass prefers indirect light.
It only takes about a week to sprout wheat seeds, plant them, and grow them to the size where they can be harvested for wheatgrass juice.
If you keep a couple of different planters in rotation and plant new seeds every week, you can have an endless supply of wheatgrass for your morning shot or smoothie.
Wheatgrass Nutrition Information
|per 1 tbsp (8g) organic wheatgrass powder, according to medicalnewstoday.com|
Quick Table: Wheatgrass Recipes
|Recipes||Preparation Time||Calories Per Servings|
|Ginger Lemonade Wheatgrass Juice||5 Minutes||35|
|Wheatgrass Kiwi Smoothie||10 Minutes||42|
|Pineapple And Wheatgrass Sorbet||10 Minutes||38|
Combining the superfood properties of lemon, ginger, and wheatgrass, this tonic is an absolute must if you are feeling a cold or flu coming on.
While wheatgrass may not be the one-size-fits-all disease killer it is made out to be in the media sometimes, it does pack a punch when it comes to nutrients and antioxidants.
The same is true of ginger and lemon – classic cold fighters that bring your body the vitamins it needs to restore itself to health.
The taste of lemon and ginger (with a healthy portion of sugar added) really works to offset the raw green flavor of the wheatgrass, and create a balanced and delicious drink.
Even if you’re already feeling great, this is a tasty way to strengthen your immune system with wheatgrass.
Preparation Time: 5 Minutes
Calories Per Servings: 35
A smoothie is one of the best ways to drink wheatgrass – not just because it offsets the flavor, but because smoothies are packed with more fruits and vegetables.
This smoothie uses wheatgrass, kale, and spirulina for greens, offsetting those with bananas, apple, and kiwi.
It has just the right mix of nutrition, sweetness, and fruity flavor to balance out the bitterness and chlorophyll in the greens.
If you want to sip your wheatgrass rather than pounding it down as a shot, this smoothie recipe gives you the perfect roadmap.
Customize your green smoothie by adding your favorite fruits or vegetables, and adjust the greens to match your preference.
Preparation Time: 10 Minutes
Calories Per Servings: 42
A wheatgrass dessert? Those who turn up their noses at the flavor of wheatgrass will never believe it, but the raw, pungent, fresh green flavor of wheatgrass makes a perfect complement to the sweet, tangy, and acidic flavor of pineapple.
Put together in a creamy sorbet, this just works.
This recipe is easy to make using just a blender, and is quite low in calories too, calling for agave rather than sugar.
It’s a delicious dessert that might change how you feel about wheatgrass, but that doesn’t mean you have to throw your health goals away to enjoy it.
Preparation Time: 10 Minutes
Calories Per Servings: 38
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Wheatgrass Juice Taste Good?
No, not really, according to most people. It has an overpoweringly strong, raw, green flavor that evokes grass and leaves, and lingers in your mouth.
Although some people get used to wheatgrass and enjoy the flavor, especially when it is added to other flavors or sweetened in a smoothie, the pure flavor of wheatgrass isn’t one that most people are looking for.
That is why they choose to take it as a shot, rather than sipping it from a glass.
Does Wheatgrass Powder Have A Taste?
Yes, wheatgrass powder tastes very similar to wheatgrass juice when it is added to water. The same strong chlorophyll flavor in wheatgrass is present in wheatgrass powder.
Although in powder form, wheatgrass is easier to add to smoothies, soups, desserts, and more, it has just as strong a flavor in powder form as it does when it is juiced directly from the plant.
Who Should Not Take Wheatgrass?
You should avoid wheatgrass if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or chestfeeding.
If you have an allergic reaction to wheatgrass, or an intolerance to gluten that acts up when you are taking wheatgrass, you should stop taking it immediately.
Is It OK To Drink Wheatgrass Every Day?
For most people, drinking wheatgrass every day is a healthy habit that should be encouraged.
Wheatgrass contains important vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants that strengthen and protect your body.
Although it may not live up to some of the claims that have been made about it over the years – it will not cure diabetes, cancer, or AIDS, for example – it can improve your health and longevity.
As long as you don’t overconsume wheatgrass, there are no dangers associated with drinking it every day, and plenty of advantages.
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