Wheatgrass is a popular health tonic – one that has been linked to many health benefits.
But, what does wheatgrass taste like?
Is it truly as horrible as many people claim?
Or, is wheatgrass something you can easily add to your diet?
What is Wheatgrass?
Wheatgrass is quite simply a grass. It comes from the species Triticum aestivum and is entirely gluten-free. The grass is harvested when it is young to ensure the highest levels of nutrients.
Wheatgrass is typically juiced or is processed to create a powder. There are also various wheatgrass pills and supplements on the market. But, there has been less research on the supplements.
Even with all the debates about flavor, wheatgrass is extremely popular. It offers a variety of benefits for health and is a good source of nutrients.
What Does Wheatgrass Taste Like?
Many people say that wheatgrass tastes horrible. But, that’s not actually the case. Instead, wheatgrass tends to have a fairly neutral flavor and isn’t bitter at all. It is unusual, sure. But, it also has some similarities to green tea and to the scent of grass.
In fact, the taste is best described as similar to a mild green tea, with a slight sweetness.
The unusualness can take some time to get used to. But it isn’t a major issue.
When people experience awful-tasting juice, the flavor isn’t from the wheatgrass at all. Instead, it comes from mold.
- Mold is especially common in greenhouse-grown wheatgrass and arises from growing conditions.
- The mold creates a bitter flavor.
- It can cause side effects like nausea, dizziness and intense headaches.
Other factors can affect the taste of wheatgrass as well.
- Growing location. Wheatgrass grown outdoors tends to have a milder flavor.
- Soil acidity. Acidic soil produces a sharper flavor than alkaline.
- When it is harvested. If wheatgrass is harvested too late, it begins to taste bitter.
- How long it is stored for. Long storage times can make the grass taste bitter as well.
These patterns mean you should choose wheatgrass carefully.
- Look for organic companies that grow their wheatgrass outdoors.
- The best companies will provide details about their growing conditions and their harvesting decisions.
- Avoid any products grown in China or similar locations. The risk of contamination is too great and the wheatgrass is often low quality.
How to Use Wheatgrass
Wheatgrass is normally used in two forms – juiced or as a powder. Each form offers some advantages.
- Created by drying fresh wheatgrass. Techniques include freeze drying, oven drying or air drying.
- Wheatgrass powder is versatile, stores well and is easy to use.
- Wheatgrass grown for powder is often higher quality, with companies aiming to create a consistent product. The powder is often tested as well.
- It is an inexpensive option and can be easily added to smoothies or other recipes. The powder can also be mixed with water and then consumed as a beverage.
- As Livestrong reports, some research suggests that freeze-dried wheatgrass contains more antioxidants than fresh.
- The juice is thought to offer additional benefits, as it is more natural and the cells have not been disrupted.
- The quality of wheatgrass juice varies dramatically.
- You can typically find fresh or frozen wheatgrass juice.
- Frozen wheatgrass juice is still beneficial. It may even retain more nutrients than the fresh version, as it does not degrade over time.
- Wheatgrass juice is often used in stores that sell smoothies or fresh juice. But, be wary of these sources – as they may not have the knowledge and tools to avoid mold development.
Of the two types, wheatgrass juice may be slightly better for health – as long as the company is reliable. But, there is no conclusive evidence either way and each style does have advantages. You can also grow your own wheatgrass, as the video below shows.
If you’re going to do so, pay close attention to the instructions and to your techniques. You want to be sure that you avoid any mold.
Regardless of the type of wheatgrass or where you source it from – the simplest way to take wheatgrass is as a shot. You can do this directly with wheatgrass juice. Wheatgrass powder can simply be mixed with water and then consumed.
How to Make Wheatgrass Taste Better
Wheatgrass doesn’t taste bad – but the flavor is distinctive. There are various steps you can take if you don’t like how it tastes.
- Add lemon. Lemon has a strong and sharp taste. This helps offset the flavor of wheatgrass. This is the easiest solution if you want to take wheatgrass as a shot. You can simply squeeze some lemon juice into your glass.
- Use coconut water. The freshness of the coconut water is perfect. You can use it instead of regular water to mix wheatgrass powder – or add it to wheatgrass juice.
- Mix with other juices. Wheatgrass and carrot juice work well together, as do wheatgrass and orange juice. You can add other ingredients too, like ginger.
- Add plant-based milk. You can mix wheatgrass with plant-based milk instead of water. You can also add a healthy sweetener to create a simple and tasty drink.
You can also create wheatgrass smoothies (or juices). There are many different recipes out there to try. Some use many different components and completely hide the taste of wheatgrass. Others use just a few.
Smoothies are powerful, as they let you combine many beneficial ingredients at the same time. For example, you can add in frozen berries for their anthocyanins and other polyphenols. Other beneficial ingredients include spirulina, turmeric, cinnamon, whey protein, chia seeds, bananas, matcha powder and cacao powder. You can also add in vanilla beans to make the flavor more interesting.
Some examples of recipes include the following:
There are also some more unusual recipes, such as the wheatgrass latte below.
You can also find pre-prepared juices and smoothies that contain wheatgrass powder. But, many of these have added ingredients or an excessive amount of sugar. If you want the benefits of a smoothie or juice, it’s always best to make your own.
Wheatgrass and Health
Wheatgrass has become immensely popular as a health tonic. It acts as a concentrated source of nutrients and an easy way to consume them.
- Key components include various antioxidants (such as vitamins A, C and E), chlorophyll and beneficial enzymes (1)
- Chlorophyll is a component of all plant cells. But, wheatgrass shots act as a concentrated source of chlorophyll.
- Wheatgrass also contains a wider range of amino acids than many other plants.
- The product is also low in calories and is nutrient-dense. This makes it an easy way to add nutrients to your diet.
- The exact nutrient composition varies depending on factors like where the wheatgrass is grown and how it is prepared (2).
- It is also a source of fiber. As a result, it may promote digestive health (3).
There are also many benefits associated with wheatgrass. Some are even supported by scientific research.
- Decreased Inflammation and Oxidation. Wheatgrass has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Both aspects can help to lower disease risk and promote health through a variety of mechanisms.
une System. The impacts on inflammation and oxidation also mean that wheatgrass can help promote the immune system. Wheatgrass also has some antimicrobial activity and could help the body fight off infection (4).
- Improved Cholesterol. Research shows that wheatgrass can improve cholesterol outcomes on a high fat diet (5).
- Weight Loss. Wheatgrass is often used as a weight loss aid. This is partly because of the low calorie content and nutrient composition.
- Cancer Risk. Wheatgrass may reduce the risk of cancer. It may also improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy and help lower chemotherapy side effects (6,7).
- Lowers Anxiety. An animal study on chronic fatigue syndrome showed that wheatgrass could decrease levels of anxiety (8).
- Neuroprotection. Wheatgrass has been linked with neuroprotective benefits as well, including the potential to decrease Alzheimer’s disease risk (9).
Researchers also suggest that wheatgrass may be beneficial for various health problems, such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, kidney malfunctions, atherosclerosis and ulcerative colitis. However, more studies are needed before the impacts are fully understood (10,11,12).
Despite these benefits, wheatgrass won’t dramatically change your health. Instead, it is best used as one component of a healthy diet and lifestyle. As the site The Hearty Soul points out, there are many myths surrounding wheatgrass. These often make it sound more powerful than it actually is.
Wheatgrass is generally considered safe and good for health. Studies have failed to find adverse effects, although they mention that not everyone tolerates wheatgrass well (13).
Some people are allergic and the site Livestrong offers details about the allergy symptoms.
There is also the potential for side effects, even for mold-free wheatgrass. The most common issues are nausea and headaches. However, the risk of side effects can be decreased.
- Side effects mostly occur with large doses of wheatgrass. If you’re experiencing issues, try decreasing your dose or how often you consume wheatgrass.
- Avoid taking wheatgrass at the same time as food. The best strategy is to have wheatgrass first thing in the morning and don’t eat for at least an hour afterward (14).
- Start with a small dose and increase it over time. This is the best strategy for any new addition to your diet and reduces the risk of side effects.
Pregnant women and children should also avoid wheatgrass, simply because of the risk of contamination.
Regardless of how you use it, wheatgrass doesn’t taste amazing. For most people, it is simply a flavor to tolerate, not enjoy.
But, the benefits of wheatgrass make it a powerful addition to your diet.
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