Incorporating Wheatgrass in Your Green Smoothies
Wheatgrass is grown from the wheat seed (sometimes called wheat berries). Take the whole kernel of the wheat grain, soak it, sprout it, grow it in soil, and in just a few days, you’ve got fresh, emerald-green wheatgrass growing. Cut the grass at the base of the soil and put it in a juicer, and you’re looking at one of the healthiest drinks on the planet.
Fresh wheatgrass is always the best choice when it’s available, but if you can’t get fresh, choose powdered or frozen instead. following are the advantages of putting wheatgrass in your green smoothie and break down how to do so regardless of which form you use.
Wheatgrass’s health benefits
Although it may look like regular backyard grass, wheatgrass is a different species of grass entirely; unlike your lawn grass, wheatgrass packs a real health punch. Wheatgrass juice nourishes your blood, cells, bones, hair, skin, teeth, kidneys, liver, and colon. It protects your lungs and blood from outside pollution, cigarette smoke, toxins, and heavy metals. Wheatgrass not only helps prevent disease but also helps reverse it.
More health benefits of wheatgrass juice include the following:
It’s a complete protein, meaning it contains all eight essential amino acids.
It’s packed with chlorophyll, a power anti-inflammatory agent and purifying element.
It’s mineral-rich; it contains more than 90 minerals your body needs.
It’s high in disease-fighting antioxidants that strengthen your immune system.
It’s full of beneficial enzymes that assist in different body functions, from healing after injuries to improving digestion and promoting weight loss.
It helps rejuvenate aging cells and slow the aging process.
It sweetens your breath and cleans your gums with natural antibacterial properties.
It’s naturally energizing without any caffeine.
It promotes healthy intestinal flora (good bacteria in the gut).
It’s a powerful detoxifier for your liver and blood.
It restores alkalinity to your blood and increases your red blood cell count.
It strengthens the digestive tract and helps repair damage from ulcers and ulcerative colitis.
If you’re gluten intolerant or suffer from celiac disease, avoid consuming any type of wheatgrass — fresh, dried, or frozen — or powder blends that contain wheatgrass powder. Technically speaking, wheatgrass doesn’t contain any gluten. Gluten is found only in the wheat seed kernel (endosperm) and not in the stem or grass leaves.
But there’s no way to guarantee that no part of a seed is accidentally included in a wheatgrass product; the chance of cross-contamination is simply not worth the risk.
Getting the most out of adding wheatgrass to a smoothie
The best way to consume wheatgrass is to cut it fresh and juice it immediately. That ensures you get the highest mineral, enzyme, antioxidant and vitamin concentration you can. Because the grass itself is so fibrous and, well, grasslike, you can’t blend it up like you would other leafy greens.
In fact, you can’t even juice wheatgrass in a normal household (centrifugal) juicer; you’ll likely end up ruining the motor if you try. Instead, you need either a specifically designed wheatgrass juicer or a masticating juicer that slow-presses to separate the liquid juice from the grassy fiber.
If you’re really keen to add fresh wheatgrass juice to your green smoothie, you can easily grow it yourself at home. If you don’t have the time or resources to grow your own wheatgrass, you can buy freshly cut wheatgrass, take it home, and juice an ounce per day to add to your smoothie.
Fresh-cut wheatgrass is sold near the fresh herbs and sprouts in the produce section of most health food stores and specialty supermarkets. (One pack of cut wheatgrass will typically make 4 to 6 ounces of fresh juice.)
If you don’t have a masticating juicer, you have two other options. You can either buy frozen wheatgrass juice or use organic wheatgrass powder.
Frozen wheatgrass: Look for frozen wheatgrass juice shots at your local health food store. In some cases, you may have to sign up to order a weekly tray. That means someone else grows it, cuts it, juices it, and freezes it, and all you need to do is add one frozen shot per smoothie.
Wheatgrass powder: The easiest way to get wheatgrass in your smoothie is to use a 100 percent certified organic powder. Superfood companies such as Navitas Naturals, Amazing Grass, and HealthForce Nutritionals all sell top-quality wheatgrass powder.
Add a teaspoon of wheatgrass powder to your smoothie per day. If the powder is a blend with other organic greens, add up to a tablespoon. Store wheatgrass powder in a cool place or refrigerate after opening.
Measuring out the right amount
Ben Franklin may not have been talking about wheatgrass when he said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” but he might as well have been. You only need to drink one ounce of fresh wheatgrass juice or one teaspoon of wheatgrass powder per day to reap its health rewards.
How much is one ounce? A typical shot glass varies between 1 and 1.5 ounces, so think of a shot of wheatgrass juice as a one-ounce serving.
Especially if you’re new to wheatgrass, drinking an ounce of fresh juice per day is more than enough to start. If you try to drink too much wheatgrass at once, you can temporarily feel sick from the powerful and immediate detox effect, or cleansing reaction, that wheatgrass has on the liver.
When it comes to drinking wheatgrass juice, less is definitely more. Over time, if you’re feeling good, you can slowly increase to up to 2 to 3 ounces of fresh wheatgrass juice or 3 teaspoons of wheatgrass powder per day.