Spend any amount of time on an Internet forum dedicated to healthy eating and you’ll see one ingredient brought up time and again: wheatgrass. Not commonly found in your average food or drink recipe, wheatgrass is something that many in the health community swear by due to its many healthy properties. While wheatgrass is available in tablet, capsule and powder forms, the most common place you’ll find it is in juices. However, before you end up throwing some wheatgrass into every juice you make, take the time to learn about the benefits and disadvantages of this plant and how to properly use it in a juicer.
What is Wheatgrass?
In scientific terms, wheatgrass is harvested from a common wheat plant with the scientific name of Triticum aestivum; in laymen’s terms, this plant is more commonly referred to as “bread wheat.” This all-natural plant has been used for centuries, with the first usage dating as far back as ancient Egypt. Commonly used as both a natural remedy and a nutritional supplement, you can find Wheatgrass in organic creams, massage lotions, pills and sprays. However, to get the full benefit of wheatgrass, many health advocates believe it’s best to ingest it fresh as part of a juice mixture.
Benefits of Wheatgrass
You only need to take one look at what wheatgrass contains to realize just how many nutritional benefits it confers. In every fresh batch of wheatgrass you’ll find the following:
- Amino acids
One of the most frequent uses of wheatgrass is as an energy boost; many health experts claim that a shot of wheatgrass is akin to eating at least a pound of fruits and vegetables! Advocates of wheatgrass also love the plant for its detoxifying properties, the extra luster and shine it gives to hair, its anti-inflammatory properties and its heart and brain benefits. As an added bonus, the juice from wheatgrass is a gluten-free product since it comes from wheatgrass sprouts.
While many wheatgrass fans and even some health experts will claim that wheatgrass can help combat cancer, diabetes, various side effects from chemotherapy and joint pain, these claims are largely untested. While wheatgrass does have some positive side effects when used as a supplement, don’t substitute it for regular medical care without first consulting with your doctor.
Wheatgrass Isn’t For Everyone
You won’t commonly find wheatgrass in the average food or drinks that most United States citizens ingest. Because of this, it’s highly recommended that you consult with your doctor and test for wheatgrass allergies before consuming it. While wheatgrass allergies are exceedingly rare, it’s best not to take a chance and drink handfuls of it without first testing to see if you’re allergic to it. Also, it’s recommended that you do not ingest wheatgrass if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Where Can I Purchase Fresh Wheatgrass?
Unfortunately, your average big box grocery store likely won’t carry fresh wheatgrass; however, some grocery store chains that have a dedicated section for organic foods, such as Safeway, will sell wheatgrass. Your best bet for obtaining fresh wheatgrass will come from an organic food store that specializes in healthy living, such as Whole Foods. Amazon also have a decent range of Wheatgrass products.
Difficulties of Juicing with Wheatgrass
When ingested on its own, wheatgrass has a very bitter taste that even the most faithful lover of it likely despises. To help mask the awful taste of wheatgrass, health nuts commonly use it as part of a glass of juice along with other fruits and vegetables. Unlike other supplements and plants, wheatgrass loses none of its effectiveness when mixed in with other dietary items: the only thing that gets diluted is the taste. However, juicing wheatgrass isn’t as easy as just throwing it in your juicer and blending it; due to how thick it is, even a small stalk of wheatgrass can clog your average juicer’s blades.
How to Juice Wheatgrass
Before you even turn your juicer on, make sure to inspect your wheatgrass for any signs of mold. If you see any mold at all on your wheatgrass, throw the entire batch away and assume the whole thing is contaminated: Ingesting even the slighest bit of moldy wheatgrass can make you incredibly sick. After properly inspecting your wheatgrass, thoroughly wash it to ensure that it’s completely free of bacteria.
Next, you’ll want to place your wheatgrass on a cutting board and cut it into tiny fragments: the tinier, the better. Cutting your wheatgrass is a significant step because even the most powerful juicer is likely not going to juice whole stalks of wheatgrass without any issues. After the preparation is complete, you’re finally ready to start creating juice out of wheatgrass.
To properly make juice using wheatgrass, you’ll need a juicer that is up to the task. While most manual juicers are more than sufficient for handling the juicing of wheatgrass, those who prefer not to get a workout when they make juice will want to get a masticating juicer. The powerful auger found in a masticating juicer will not only quickly grind up your wheatgrass but will also ensure you’re getting the maximum yield of nutrients from it.
If your current juicer isn’t up to the task of juicing wheatgrass or you’re just looking to upgrade, below are two juicers that are some of the best when it comes to handling this difficult plant.
Best Juicers For Juicing Wheatgrass
Here we’re going to break down what we think are the best juicers suitable for juicing wheatgrass. I hope you find this guide useful.
Mueller Masticating Slow Juicer for Celery
Don’t let the word celery in this juicer’s name fool you because it can still handle all types of vegetables and fruits. Celery has long and thin stalks that some juicers can’t handle, but this one has a special chute that allows you to insert one or more stalks at a time. It quickly breaks down the natural fiber in those stalks to release as much of the juice as possible. When it comes time to clean it, you’ll find that the juicer breaks down into smaller parts that you can run through the dishwasher. Those parts are also small enough to store the disassembled juicer anywhere in your kitchen. As it has a hand crank rather than a power cord, it’s nice for using away from your home. This juicer can chop and slice veggies on your next camping trip.
The Original Healthy Juicer
While The Original Healthy Juicer by Lexen has no problem juicing your average fruits and vegetables, the company designed this manual juicer with one purpose in mind: to grind leafy plants, especially wheatgrass, with ease. In fact, this juicer does such a great job at juicing wheatgrass that it has an official endorsement by Michael Bergonzi, a famous advocate for the benefits of using wheatgrass. With its stainless steel table clamp, you can affix this juicer onto any surface, such as your kitchen counter or a makeshift table at a camping site.
Not only can this juicer effortlessly handle wheatgrass juicing but it features a 30-second cleanup process, thanks in part to there only being three internal parts to scrub. You won’t need to worry about external messes as the excess pulp from juicing wheatgrass siphons out into a separate bowl that makes disposal a snap. If you don’t mind a little manual labor involved in making wheatgrass juice, then The Original Healthy Juicer is one of the best options for juicing wheatgrass.
Now that you know what wheatgrass can offer you, how to properly juice it and the best juicers to use, you’re ready to make some delicious wheatgrass juices. Below, you’ll find a few wheatgrass juice recipes for your juicer that are both nutritional and delicious.
Ginger Lemonade Wheatgrass Juice
- A handful of wheatgrass
- 1 lemon
- 4 apples
- 2 carrots
- A 1/2-inch piece of ginger
If you’re just getting started with juicing wheatgrass and are looking for a great recipe to disguise its taste, then you’ll love this take on a classic lemonade. The best part about this recipe is that you can use as much, or as little, wheatgrass as you’d like; if you find that a handful is too overpowering, then reduce it to just a couple of pinches.
- 3 stalks of celery
- 2 medium cucumbers
- 5 fresh spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup of fresh parsley
- 2 ounces of fresh wheatgrass
Called Green Juice both because it uses only green ingredients and because of the color of the finished drink, this delicious juice works great as a pick-me-up beverage for those long days at the office. If the liquid comes out too thick, mix in some water to help dilute it.
- 3 whole oranges
- 1 tablespoon of grated ginger
- 30 millilliters of wheatgrass juice
The Green Oranges recipe is the perfect thing to get you going in the morning. The oranges and ginger overpower the harsh taste of the wheatgrass, leaving you with nothing more than a delicious cup of orange juice that has added nutritional properties. For added flavor, add some mint leaves to your beverage for a pleasant aftertaste.
Purple Wheat Grass Juice
- 1 medium-sized beet
- 1/3 head red cabbage
- 1 large cucumber
- 2 ounces of fresh wheatgrass
Take advantage of the cleansing properties of wheatgrass with this juice that is guaranteed to give you a through internal scrubbing! However, be warned that this juice isn’t for wheatgrass beginners, as it features a very robust taste and odor.