The scientific name for wheatgrass is Triticum aestivum and it is also commonly called couchgrass.
Wheatgrass contains high levels of chlorophyll, amino acids, vitamins and minerals.
It is generally safe to consume unless one suffers from celiac disease, gluten intolerance or grass allergies.
There is a possibility of bacteria and mold contamination since it is consumed raw.
Wheatgrass Juice : Wheatgrass juice is got from ground fresh grass. This grass can be purchased from natural food stores or grown in trays indoors.
The grass has to be harvested at the right time (within 10 days of planting) to make juice. In its raw form, wheatgrass is tough to digest because of the high fiber content and strong taste.
Hence, wheatgrass juice is normally mixed with water, fruit juices, tea or smoothies to make it more palatable. Wheatgrass juice must be consumed fresh for it deteriorates very soon and loses its potency.
There are special wheatgrass juicers available that can be used to extract juice from the fresh plant.
Wheatgrass Powder : The other way of using wheatgrass is to buy wheatgrass powder. Dried and dehydrated grass is made into tablets that can be swallowed or made into powder that can be mixed in drinks or added to food.
Wheatgrass Juice vs. Powder
There are many debates on whether wheatgrass juice or wheatgrass powder is beneficial. Let us see which one is indeed better.
Wheatgrass helps to build blood since the high quantities of chlorophyll (70% of total content) mimics that of blood hemoglobin.
The difference is that hemoglobin contains iron and chlorophyll contains magnesium. The presence of chlorophyll means that wheatgrass can help build RBC, destroy carbon dioxide, dilate blood vessels and improve blood flow and improve enzyme system functioning and promote higher metabolism.
Wheatgrass improves energy and alkalizes blood.
The high amino acid content means that wheatgrass benefits bodybuilders and athletes who incorporate fresh juice or powdered wheatgrass in their daily diet. Wheatgrass is a complete protein.
It is also high in saponin that supports the lymphatic system. The immune system also gets a boost from wheatgrass and it helps fight various common infections.
Incorporating wheatgrass into your daily diet can provide these and other health benefits.
You can buy either fresh grown grass, buy a wheatgrass kit, grow, harvest your own juice or buy organic wheatgrass supplements. Both juices and powders have their own pros and cons.
Some people even state that there is a difference between ‘tray-grown’ and naturally grown wheatgrass. The former is said to contain less nutritional value since it is grown in artificial condition.
The latter if cultivated organically and harvested before the jointing stage is said to contain maximum nutritional value. Naturally grown wheatgrass is then dehydrated at the right temperature that preserves nutrients and enzymes then compressed into pellets and made into powder or tablets.
It is also stated that wheatgrass powder is superior since there is more concentrated nutritional value compared to wheatgrass juice that contains 95% water.
Others claim that wheatgrass juice that is grown on trays can provide the body with more enzymes that powdered wheatgrass. Both juices and powders cleanse the digestive system and the blood, help with weight loss and improve immune system performance.
Chlorophyll : The chlorophyll content in juice made from organic wheatgrass that is freshly harvested is higher (54mg / serving) against ‘tray-grown’ wheatgrass juice that has just 8mg per serving. Wheatgrass powder contains 18mg chlorophyll.
Protein : As far as protein content is concerned, organic grown wheatgrass has 2.5g against tray-grown wheatgrass juice that has 550mg per serving and wheatgrass powder that has 1g. As far as vitamins are concerned, organic freshly harvested wheatgrass has 24mg vitamin C, while tray-grown juice has 1mg and wheatgrass powder has 7-8mg.
From this we see that while both wheatgrass juice and powder provide many benefits, the concentration of enzymes, chlorophyll, proteins and vitamins varies depending on whether you consume wheatgrass juice made from tray-grown grass or naturally harvested grass or if you take a wheatgrass powder.
The choice really depends on what benefits you are looking for, the amount of time you have and the expense.
Those who are busy may find it easier to use wheatgrass powder that can be quickly mixed in fruit juices. It can also be stored for longer time compared to wheatgrass juice.
But if you love fresh stuff, then wheatgrass juice is what you are looking for. It has a refreshing feeling which a dried powder cannot provide.
Wheatgrass proponents claim that since it is rich in nutrients, it provides many health benefits. It is claimed that fresh wheatgrass juice (140g) is equivalent in nutritional value to 3kg or more fresh vegetables.
So, consuming your daily requirement can heal the body of various illnesses, flush out toxins, boost immune system and even protect the body from harmful carcinogens.
However, there are is no solid scientific research to back which one – wheatgrass powder or fresh wheatgrass juice is better in terms of health benefits.
It seems that it is more about choice and convenience (powder for example is easy to store and lasts longer). Each manufacturer will claim that wheatgrass juice or powder contains greater concentrated nutrients and is better for health.
This depends on the products they make and market. There is also no evidence to state the either dried or fresh wheatgrass contains greater nutrients.
Consuming the right quantities of either wheatgrass juice or powder will provide health benefits. It can be mixed added to various juice, dessert or salad recipes to provide additional nutrition to your daily diet.
However, this must not replace a balanced and healthy diet. It should also not be the sole mode of treatment for any illness.