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Can You Eat Wheatgrass Raw?

The flour used in wheat bread comes from milled wheat berries. In the fall of the year, the farmer plants wheat berries, and in the spring, they grow into tender young shoots. Called wheatgrass, these green leaf-like shoots contain nutrients that are potentially beneficial to your health. Yes, you can eat raw wheatgrass, but juicing is the most common way of extracting and serving this green source of nutrition.

Ann Wigmore, 20th century author and natural health advocate, introduced wheatgrass to the public with the publication of “The Wheatgrass Book” in 1985. As news of the nutritional benefits of wheatgrass spread, other books, including, “Wheatgrass: Nature’s Finest Medicine,” by Steve Meyerowitz, appeared on bookstore shelves.

Wheatgrass juice, extracted from the tender shoots, requires the use of a juicer, but freeze-dried wheatgrass is also available in tablet and capsule forms. For the freshest wheatgrass, Meyerowitz, tells his readers to, “Just grab a handful and munch.”

Harvest wheatgrass when the leaf-like shoots are 8 in. to 10 in. high, recommends Meyerowitz. The “Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine,” says to harvest before the wheat berry heads form. While Midwestern farmers plant thousands of acres of wheat, you may find it beneficial to grown your own wheatgrass indoors in trays. Wheatgrass kits are available in health food stores and online.

Wheatgrass contains many nutrients, according to Verdure.com, including vitamins A, C, E, calcium amino acids, magnesium, iron and chlorophyll. It is also a source of dietary fiber, and it is low in calories.

Clinical studies do not confirm the medicinal benefits of wheatgrass in the treatment of diabetes, cancer, infections, digestive disorders and skin disorders. However, eating wheatgrass can count toward your daily serving of vegetables.

Those with allergies to wheat should not eat wheatgrass, advises the “Gale Encyclopedia.” The FDA does not oversee the production or sale of wheatgrass, fresh or in supplements, so there is no guarantee of quality or safety. In addition, wheatgrass may develop mold around the lower part of the shoots that may not be healthy for consumption, according to Meyerowitz. Eating wheat grass on an empty stomach may cause nausea in some individuals.

References (3)

  • “Wheatgrass: Nature’s Finest Medicine”; Steve Meyerowitz, 2006
  • Verdure: Wheatgrass
  • “Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, Volume 2”; Jacqueline L. Longe; 2005

Photo Credits:

  • Hapa/Stockbyte/Getty Images

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.