Wheatgrass and wheatgrass juice are convenient ways to get additional dark greens in the diet.
Since it is considered a vegetable in the grass stage, wheatgrass is safe for people with wheat allergies and gluten intolerance… at least in theory. Given the risk of cross-contamination, however, people with celiac disease should look for products that are certified to be gluten-free.
Many health claims have been made for wheatgrass. For example, Dr. Ann Wigmore, proponent of a “living foods diet,” espoused the benefits of wheatgrass in her teachings and writing. According to Dr. Wigmore, wheatgrass has an exceptional ability to both nourish and detoxify the body. It can also help to heal pain and illness.
Unfortunately, “Dr.” Wigmore was sued by the state of Massachusetts in 1988 — for misrepresenting herself as a doctor, and irresponsibly claiming her wheatgrass regimen could cure AIDS. So while wheatgrass may have some benefits, be careful of anecdotes about miracle cures. As noted skeptic Marcello Truzzi once wrote: “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.”
One of the ingredients with major benefit in wheatgrass is chlorophyll. Considered the “blood of plants,” chlorophyll has structural similarities to hemoglobin. The chlorophyll in wheatgrass also has antibacterial and odor-fighting properties, and is being investigated as a potential cancer preventative.
Wheatgrass juice is used externally as well. Some recommend it as a scalp treatment to restore luster to hair, as a skin cleanser and astringent, and as a sinus treatment. Wheatgrass juice can also be added to bath water and applied topically to help heal cuts and bruises. In addition, gargling with wheatgrass juice may help to ease a sore throat.
Preparations of wheatgrass and wheatgrass juice are available in most health food stores and online supplement retailers. In addition, many people grow their own organic wheatgrass and use juicers to make their own juice. Our recommended online supplement retailer, iHerb.com, has a large selection of wheatgrass juice products available (be sure to use the coupon code FAT259 to get $5.00 off your first order).