Wheatgrass that is grown from wheat seeds is promoted widely by nutritionists and natural health proponents to treat various health problems from simple coughs and colds to more serious illnesses like colon cancer or ulcerative colitis.
Some preliminary studies do back these claims although definitive results are still not available. Even when purchasing wheatgrass, we need to follow some precautions.
Precautions when buying wheatgrass and products
Precautions while buying Wheatgrass juice
The best benefits of wheatgrass are got by consuming it raw as a juice and hence this is the most popular. Fresh grass will contain bacteria and mold from the soil.
This could affect your digestive system. Hence, you need to make sure your wheatgrass is free of mold before consuming it.
Mold is formed because wheatgrass grows in moist conditions. This is true even of wheatgrass that we grow at home. There are different types of mold. Blue fuzz is harmless and good rinsing of the wheatgrass before consumption will rid it of blue fuzz mold. Dangerous, pathogenic molds are white or brown molds.
These are impossible to remove and can cause serious side effects. To prevent ingesting this pathogenic mold, make sure you consume wheatgrass juice that is free of spoilage and from plants that are rinsed. Anyone who suffers from mold allergy may need to avoid consuming any wheatgrass juice since there is no way of avoiding some amount of hidden mold contamination.
Another problem with fresh wheatgrass is contamination from bacteria that thrive in damp, humid soil. These bacteria cause food borne illnesses.
Since wheatgrass juice is made from un-pasteurized product, there is a great likelihood that it can contain bacteria like E.coli, salmonella or shigella.
Consuming wheatgrass juice that is not free of such bacteria can cause nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and fever.
You can prevent such problems by observing certain precautions when buying wheatgrass. Get only pasteurized wheatgrass to make juice or juice that has a pasteurized label on it.
It is believed that consuming wheatgrass juice made from dried organic powder provides the same benefits as fresh juice. Pregnant and nursing women must not consume wheatgrass due to various side effects.
Precautions for other wheatgrass products
Wheatgrass juice is the most widely used product. However, we can consume other wheatgrass supplements, like powders or capsules.
Gluten intolerance affects those with celiac disease. Gluten is present in barley, rye and wheat plants. When buying wheatgrass, make sure it is pure and free from seeds. The product label must contain information if the wheatgrass supplement, powder or juice you buy is free from gluten.
There is organic wheatgrass powder that is freeze-dried and available in re-sealable pouches. Gluten-free wheatgrass powder is available in small containers or individual packets. There are gluten-free wheatgrass vegicaps – capsule form of wheatgrass available in health food stores.
Wheatgrass supplements are preferred because they are cheaper and quicker to consume than trying to grow wheatgrass and make your own juice.
The origin of wheatgrass plants made into juices and smoothies available in juice bars made not be known. Buying a wheatgrass supplement may be safer as long as you buy a top brand and ensure you read the label carefully.
There are many different wheatgrass pills, capsules and powders available. You need to distinguish between them to make sure you buy the right one.
Not all supplements are the same. Avoid those that contain artificial sweeteners or fillers. Products made from freeze-dried wheatgrass protect the sensitive living enzymes and vitamins that heat-dried wheatgrass products will destroy.
Homegrown or outdoor wheatgrass?
A major debate that is consuming people is whether to purchase wheatgrass grown indoors or outdoors. This is with respect to the grass being affected by mold.
It is observed that indoor wheatgrass is grown in compact, clustered trays with no room for fresh air to come between the blades.
There is not much light and the soil is usually heavily saturated with water. This allows mold to grow rampantly. If you prefer to grow wheatgrass at home, buy an organic wheatgrass kit available from many top brands.
Outdoor wheatgrass on the other hand has a lot of airflow and excess water rarely stagnates if it is well irrigated. Hence it maybe preferable to purchase wheatgrass grown outdoors, using organic farming methods, rather than wheatgrass grown indoors.
When buying wheatgrass powder or other wheatgrass supplements, take the precaution to make sure you buy from a reputed organization that has been in business for many years. They must be transparent about their growing and manufacturing operations.
The organic certification label must be checked for validity and period of validation.
If you are buying fresh wheatgrass, do not buy from sellers who purchase from bulk producers. There is no control over such farming methods and bulk producers often use harmful pesticides and fertilizers to increase yields, as their only motivation is profit.
Even when purchasing supplements or capsules, make sure they are made from organic wheatgrass. Organic wheatgrass is grown using organic soil and seeds.
The farmland where it is grown must be certified as not to have used non-organic pesticides or fertilizers for three years. Hence, consuming organic wheatgrass will be relatively free from harmful chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides.
Consuming such wheatgrass raw will result in the pesticides finding their way into our body and harming us. So, always buy certified, organic wheatgrass products from reputed companies.