Wheatgrass is the sprouts of grass that grow to become wheat. This wheatgrass is often grown by alternative health practitioners and is also commonly grown in trays at juice bars and alternative health stores, where fresh grass is cut and juiced. This juiced wheatgrass is then put into juice drinks or consumed whole. Proponents promise incredible health benefits.
Wheatgrass proponents claim that the consumption of wheatgrass can provide a variety of benefits. Common promised benefits include constipation relief, blood cleansing, blood sugar regulation and lowered blood pressure. Wheatgrass is also claimed to provide antioxidant protection, lowered cholesterol and an immune-system boost.
Wheatgrass contains a large amount of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll, a chemical found in plants that is essential for photosynthesis, has the ability to increase the amount of blood cells in the body and can also create a sense of being energized when consumed. However, as of 2010, reliable studies still need to be conducted to determine whether wheatgrass has any of the other mentioned benefits.
Opponents claim that as of 2010, wheatgrass has not been proved through research to provide any of the claimed benefits and that wheatgrass likely only provides trace vitamins and minerals. Those who consume large amounts of wheatgrass can potentially suffer from digestive disorders, and those who are allergic to wheat can become ill from wheatgrass.
Some claim that wheatgrass has the equivalent of a serving of vegetables. This claim, as of 2010, is unverified because there has not been credible research for how much of each nutrient is found in wheatgrass.
Wheatgrass is often grown in a tray of topsoil and peat moss, with a depth of 2 inches. These trays are watered when the soil becomes dry, and the wheatgrass is usually grown until it is about 7 inches tall. Then the wheatgrass is clipped in clumps and the clumps are fed to a specialized wheatgrass juicer, which produces 6 to 8 ounces of wheatgrass juice per tray.