Wheatgrass: Favorable or Fad?

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
6/7/2010 6:35 AM   :  68 comments   :  21,888 Views

See More: nutrition, news, review,
With the recent Consumer Reports findings of metal in protein drinks, you may see new options being promoted at your local health food store. One new up and coming drink catching some buzz is wheatgrass juice.

Agropyron plants are closely related to wheat but with an appearance similar to lawn grass. The sprouted grain can be extracted and made into a powder and placed into a pill or the grass itself can be placed in a wheatgrass juicer and blended into a green milky liquid. Some people drink the bitter tasting juice straight but most frequently mix it with juice or add it to a smoothie or shake. Wheatgrass was first introduced as a nutritious option back in the 1930's with a number of unconfirmed claims that still linger today. Although in some ways wheatgrass is no different nutritionally from other vegetables, are they benefits or potential risks?

Wheatgrass provides vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, and minerals like many other plant sources. Some claim possible health benefits include the prevention of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer due to anti-inflammatory anti-oxidants. Others suggest benefits for those suffering with hair loss or symptoms of menopause. With liver cleanses being heavily encouraged, wheatgrass is also touted as a digestion aid that assists with constipation while providing liver cleansing properties. Although anecdotal evidence may be available to support some or all of these claims, there are very few reliable and scientifically based studies available related to the effects of wheatgrass. One small study conducted by researchers in Israel in 2002 did find some benefit from wheatgrass juice for those suffering from ulcerative colitis.

Despite the fact that wheatgrass has been reported as safe, there have been side effects reported as well especially from higher intake levels. For some, the biggest side effects are nausea and headaches while for others allergic reactions such as hives and swelling of the throat have been experienced. Probably one of the biggest risks comes from raw wheatgrass and the bacteria or other soil based organisms that can unknowingly contaminate the product and be consumed.

The Bottom Line

Because the FDA or other governing bodies do not regulate wheatgrass, consumers should use caution related to specific claims as well as when using raw products other than your own produce. If you have food intolerances or allergies, caution is also warranted. It is important to follow safety guides for any herbal supplement to be sure the potential benefit is worth the potential risk. If you are otherwise healthy and not taking any medications, there may be little risk in trying a small amount of wheatgrass from a reputable company source after talking with your medical provider. Remember that nothing makes up for an unbalanced and nutrient-poor diet and many times claims of potential cures and disease prevention are just that, claims. Children, woman who are pregnant or nursing or people that have medical conditions that compromise immunity would be best to use caution with this new marketing focus product because of the potential infection risk from bacteria and other organisms.

Have you seen wheatgrass promoted as a beneficial supplement? If you have tried it, what did you think and what made you try it. If you have not tried it, do you think it is a marketing fad or something that could be fabulous?


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Comments

  • BUGGINU
    68
    Only fatasses, with the exception of maybe 2/3, didn't believe in wheatgrass or haven't even given it a chance, keep believing in the FDA to look after your best interest retards. - 9/5/2012   11:50:08 AM
  • 67
    I bought some to add to smoothies; didn't care too much for the taste. But my two cats absolutely loved it and snacked on it frequently! They're indoor cats, so they don't get outside to munch on grass very often. I'll probably buy it occasionally just for a cat treat!

    As far as using it for detox, what do you think your liver is for?? A healthy functioning liver detoxifies your system quite nicely, and healthy functioning kidneys and bowels step in to remove the toxins from your body through urine and stool. You shouldn't need to "cleanse" your system, because your body is uniquely and cleverly designed to do this all by itself! - 7/7/2010   5:35:37 PM
  • BITNYBRODER
    66
    I take wheatgrass everyday and it helps with my allergies and digestion.... it also supplies some natural energy - 6/17/2010   11:25:47 AM
  • CYNNANE
    65
    I think this is like most things, the placebo effect. If you believe or expect you will get more energy or feel better when you take something you probably will. Drinking it probably isn't going to hurt you (as long as it is cleaned properly and so on), but it is probably not giving a whole lot of benefit aside from a few vitamins/mineral which you can get from other foods. If you like great, if you don't, don't worry about there are plenty of other healthy options.
    As for cleansing, this cleansing toxins is a fad to get people to buy products. Your body naturally cleanses itself, and if it isn't you need medical help not a grass clipping smoothie. - 6/13/2010   4:22:18 PM
  • 64
    My best friend and I use to do a shot of wheat grass in the 90's, every day after the gym. She liked it. I had to plug my nose and I still gagged. I never noticed anything different. She swore by it. I looked at pictures of us back then, and I have to say, boy we sure looked good!

    - 6/12/2010   10:31:45 AM
  • 63
    I have grown my first batch and added it to my smoothies. I had to add extra stivia to tame down the tartness of the wheatgrass. I was good though. I have heard very good things about wheatgrass. I look forward to making it apart of our family diet. If the world turns upside down at least we can eat the wheatgrass :). - 6/11/2010   10:04:35 PM
  • 62
    It does sound interesting. Next time I am in a health food store I'll try it out but I think I'll put it in a smoothie. I am a sceptic but I DO need to find healthier eating habits. Thanks for the info. - 6/11/2010   1:48:11 PM
  • MOMMY4DMKH
    61
    With all the articles i just read on wheat grass from the blog, I'm gona try it on my next visit to the health food store. sounds interesting. - 6/10/2010   9:36:48 PM
  • 60
    I'm sure wheatgrass juice is healthy from the vitamin standpoint. Not so sure about it cleaning out toxins in the body (isn't that what the liver does?). I personally don't think it sounds very appetizing, so I won't be trying it any time soon. From reading the other comments on this blog, it's obvious that wheatgrass has been around for years, and I'd just be talking semantics if I tried to explain that a fad is something that "comes and goes," whereas a trend "goes around, and comes around again." Sort of like, what we 70s children called jeans with wide cuffs "bell-bottoms," kids nowadays call "flares." Same trend, different era. - 6/9/2010   3:52:09 PM
  • MRSJONESMOM
    59
    On wheatgrass START WITH A SMALL AMOUNT and build up to more. I buy a 16 x 16 inch tray of it from my local health food store for ten dollars. I bot the wheat grass juicer (little more than 200, I think). I love the high energy it gives me. I have it first thing in the morning (between 6 and 7:30 AM), juicing it fresh. I have about 4 to 6 ounces. It gives me enough energy until 11 AM. If I exercise at the gym (60 to 90 minutes) I still have enough energy until about 11 AM when I am genuinely hungry. People who are not used to it may have a bad reaction the first few times if they are drinking more than 5 or 6 ounces, as it does de-tox your system and this can seem terrible at the time.

    To me, ITS WORTH IT. And after a while, it does taste good and have its own sweetness. - 6/9/2010   1:19:51 AM
  • PECHEY3
    58
    I haven't tried the stuff since I was fourteen (over a decade). Like any plant being eaten it has to be treated with care and cleaned properly. - 6/9/2010   12:45:21 AM
  • 57
    I'm still not sure about wheatgrass. They sell it at Jamba juice. I think I will pass on it though. I do many other things to improve my health . - 6/8/2010   11:19:19 PM
  • 56
    I literally just had some delivered today. It's organic though so I'm not going to worry about it. - 6/8/2010   10:09:39 PM
  • ETHELMERZ
    55
    I remember back when Linda McCartney was promoting this stuff. What is it with people thinking they can "clean out toxins" with any of this stuff anyway? If your body isn't cleaning out "toxins" on it's own, you may as well kiss this world goodbye already, eating or drinking or using certain things isn't going to do anything but put your "green" into some companies coffers........... - 6/8/2010   8:49:05 PM
  • 54
    I'm sorry, gang, but after seeing a story about a young woman who ate her wheat grass every day and didn't realize her landlord sprayed the yard where she grew it every week, then when she got sicker started using it more and more to get healthy and finally died from it....I think I'll pass! LOL - 6/8/2010   8:15:42 PM
  • 53
    Last year I started wheat grass at jamba juice and felt like I has an abundance of energy all day. I still drink it when I start training hard. I had even thought about trying to grow my own but it's much easier going to buy it already made. - 6/8/2010   6:27:28 PM
  • 52
    Edited comment: WEIRD...this posted twice. My computer has been doing strange things today. Hmm...wonder what it's trying to tell me.

    Yes, I've seen wheatgrass promoted as a beneficial supplement. No, I haven't tried it, at least not knowingly. I've tried grass drinks in the past but I don't remember what kind of grass.

    I feel the push for wheatgrass is more a fad than anything else. That's not to say wheatgrass doesn't have nutritional benefits. - 6/8/2010   4:50:45 PM
  • 51
    Yes, I've seen wheatgrass promoted as a beneficial supplement. No, I haven't tried it, at least not knowingly. I've tried grass drinks in the past but I don't remember what kind of grass.

    I feel the push for wheatgrass is more a fad than anything else. That's not to say wheatgrass doesn't have nutritional benefits. - 6/8/2010   4:45:00 PM
  • 50
    I drink something called a "Detox shock" from Mother's Market here in California, and it is made with wheatgrass. Despite it's funny foamy green color the way it mixes with the apple, lemon and ginger juices makes it taste great, and I always feel really good after drinking it. It is likely due to the combination, but I understand that many of the components in the wheatgrass are good for me. Granted, it took me a while to get up the nerve to try it, but now, I feel the need to get one at least once a month, if not more often. So, I guess you could say that I'm a fan, at least in my drinks. - 6/8/2010   12:14:27 PM
  • 49
    It's so annoying to hear this is good one day and another day this is not good for you because....

    If it's organic and in it's natural state how bad can it be other than marijuana.

    I'd rather take Wheat grass then pop pills, vitamins or any FDA item stated to be good for you. Just my 2cp. - 6/8/2010   11:00:03 AM
  • 48
    Gee, I've seen it promoted since I was a kid (I'll be 44 next month). Can this really be considered a fad? As someone else said, I would consider it like other vegetable. Can it be any more miraculous than carrots, broccoli or spinach? If I were to try it, I would by seeds and sprout them myself in a jar, bag or basket to avoid the outrageous expense (and spoilage that can occur). - 6/8/2010   10:58:48 AM
  • 47
    Dr. Weil also states that there really is very little behind the wheatgrass claims. He also makes the same comment about being careful with it because of the possibility of organisms in the soil, etc. I'll stick to my leafy greens - spinach, lettuces, etc. - 6/8/2010   7:27:46 AM
  • MEOKIJ
    46
    As others have stated, it's not a fad. I've been drinking whea grass or smoothies with wheatgrass for years. Just like anything else, some people will have allergic reactions. That doesn't necessarily mean it's bad for you. I can't eat shellfish, that doesn't mean my husband can't. It's just not for me. A fad, to me, is something new that suddenly comes and goes. This has been around for years. It may be experiencing a resurgence because some people are just now starting to eatmore fruits and vegetables. - 6/8/2010   7:20:38 AM
  • 45
    I have been drinking wheatgrass juice on and off for about 20 years now. I love the stuff. For the past 13 years my indoor cat has had a tray of wheatgrass for grazing. To me it's just another vegetable nothing magic. - 6/8/2010   6:06:23 AM
  • 44
    One of my biggest concerns is what the FDA says IS OK. Natural, raw foods are not my cause for concern... The FDA is "sleeping" with BIG PHARMA, the food industry and the government. Seems kind of like something out of a George Orwell novel. There is NO MONEY in people being healthy from natural, healthy food; not getting sick. The BIG MONEY comes from selling drugs and expensive treatments, ie chemotherapy. - 6/8/2010   3:14:08 AM
  • 43
    Will love to try this! - 6/8/2010   2:03:02 AM
  • 42
    I don't regularly drink wheatgrass, but I've had it on occasion. I had a couple ounces of it every day for a few days when I was recovering from a bad, lingering cold, and it seemed to help... but then, I'm sure I would've gotten better regardless!

    I think it has good nutrients, especially because it's usually juiced fresh after being picked, but I wouldn't regard it as a miracle drug or anything. And yes, it makes sense to be wary of contamination since it's a raw food. - 6/8/2010   1:03:30 AM
  • 41
    I am not big into herbal supplements or anything that has not been approved by the FDA. Also, it doesn't sound that tasty to me. I think I will stick with the vitamins I am taking now. It was hard enough to start taking fish oil at one time and then my fiancee kept saying it made my breath horrible. I agreed with him! I stopped taking it and now I don't have that problem. :-) - 6/8/2010   12:44:37 AM
  • 40
    I tried a month of wheatgrass everyday and I did see changes. My skin got clearer and I had more energy. Still drink it when I can! - 6/8/2010   12:12:08 AM
  • TOMNAPPER
    39
    Interesting. Don't think I would make it part of my regular routine but worth trying I suppouse. But wait. There is metal in protein drinks!? - 6/7/2010   10:43:04 PM
  • 38
    I don't think I want to eat something that causes so many people to become sick, without any indication that it is significantly healthier than other vegetables! I'm not seeing the upside for my own lifestyle. It isn't that I don't like to add new things. Chia seeds, now, those I like and have added, because I like the taste and texture, and they appear to be nutritious also. Steel oats are now a staple. We are growing all kinds of squash, fancy lettuce, herbs, and other good green things. There are plenty of safe and healthy things to try :) - 6/7/2010   10:19:56 PM
  • MARY1175
    37
    I've been drinking wheatgrass for a long time, it's great for my hangovers (help recovery of headaches for me anyways and dehydration. It's suppose to help push out the bad toxins in your body (don't quote me, I think I'll have to ask the smoothie hot spot next time in south tampa) But anyways It taste good to me. I go to this smoothie place near the gym in South Tampa ever once in a while. But it's not like a whole glass of wheatgrass or nothing. It's like in a shot glass, and then they give you a slice of orange after it. It's great. - 6/7/2010   9:20:39 PM
  • ARMONIA11
    36
    I'd be more concerned about what the FDA regulates than wheatgrass or similar products. Millions of people die from the -natural- side affects of FDA approved drugs. That doesn't include those that accidently mix wrong kinds of drugs or overdose.

    When was the last time you ever heard anybody having problems from wheatgrass or vitamins? - 6/7/2010   6:40:44 PM
  • 35
    something else to confuse me and make me wonder if it's really good for me or not? LOL I've tried it...tooo grassy for me, but if it was REALLY beneficial, would put in my juice... - 6/7/2010   6:22:58 PM
  • 34
    When I was in Peru, I saw many people buying it in great bunches at the local markets. I was told that it was mostly for the guinea pigs that many people raised in their homes. Whole roast guinea pigs were considered a great meal to serve to their guests........................... - 6/7/2010   6:04:04 PM
  • BREE133
    33
    I've been juicing wheatgrass for some time now. I use it for the alkalizing effect and enzyme content.
    When people first try it, they can feel a little nauseous but start slowly with 10-20 mls. I mix it with a
    whole juiced lemon and what ever I have in my vege/fruit basket. Try using a sweeter fruit or vege to
    make the taste nicer such as carrot, apple, pineapple. You must not use this as a vege or fruit replacement however - you still need whole veges for fibre.
    - 6/7/2010   5:33:16 PM
  • 32
    In the 60s, 70s, and 80s people who ate wheat grass or drank wheat grass shakes grew there own in a tray in the house. - 6/7/2010   5:19:29 PM
  • 31
    I'm particular about the texture of my food and have a sensitive gag reflex... probably not going to be trying it anytime soon!!! - 6/7/2010   5:00:36 PM
  • 30
    You have to start with small amounts and build up from there. If you're not used to it wheatgrass can hit pretty hard. - 6/7/2010   4:43:38 PM
  • LMCBUDDY
    29
    Wheatgrass is great for an afternoon kick, but it has to be juiced, not powdered for the bet affect. I always feel like a cow because the smell is so "grass-like", but it is so full of B vitamins it's worth it. Mix it with pinapple juice, pear juice, and a hint of mint extract. It's so good! For anyone buying those 5-hour energy products, throw them away and go wheatgrass for a much better energy boost that lasts without the crash. - 6/7/2010   4:28:34 PM
  • SEEKONKDIGHTON
    28
    I grow my own wheatgrass and drink it every day. I love it. - 6/7/2010   4:14:26 PM
  • 27
    I like the taste, but it makes me feel like I have hayfever... I get an itchy throat, sneezy/runny/tickly nose, etc. - 6/7/2010   4:01:18 PM
  • 26
    I get a horrible, instant, SEVERE headache from being around it while it's being juiced. If I walk into a Jamba Juice or other smoothie place and they are juicing it or have recently juiced it... I immediately know. Makes me think that drinking it, in my case, wouldn't be wise. - 6/7/2010   3:52:03 PM
  • VELVETEENRBT
    25
    Can't see this lasting. Sort of like the wheat germ, oat bran, bean sprout fads that I've seen come and go. Marketing must continually find a new gimmick to get people to buy. Selling to the health conscious in no different than to the junk food junky. - 6/7/2010   3:49:26 PM
  • 24
    I love to add it to smoothies and I like to have a shot of it just strait. I think it tastes great! - 6/7/2010   3:46:49 PM
  • JANELLE20MORE
    23
    I've always wanted to try it maybe I'll give it a go. Thanks for the info spark! - 6/7/2010   2:53:35 PM
  • 22
    I love wheatgrass! I often stop at Robek's and get a shot of it as I leave my gym. Every time I drink it, I get a burst of energy. It's like drinking a redbull, but no caffeine. I don't know about long term benefits because I don't drink it on a regular basis, but I can say that I will always be a fan.

    PS There's some urban myth that it tastes good when you are healthy (i.e. sweet after taste) and bad when you are getting sick (i.e. bitter after taste). I don't know if that's true, or if I just taste the difference because someone told me about the myth before I started drinking it. But I have noticed a taste difference. - 6/7/2010   2:34:23 PM
  • 21
    I don't like the taste - just not for me, even with multiple attempts. - 6/7/2010   2:24:37 PM
  • 20
    I am 58 years old. I weigh 155lbs. I run 6 miles a day. I always take wheatgrass before I run. Not only have I lost 30lbs by taking wheatgrass. I have also dropped my cholesterol by 400 points. - 6/7/2010   2:20:16 PM
  • 19
    My cat likes it, but I think I'll stick to spinach. - 6/7/2010   1:50:18 PM

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