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This chlorophyll-rich plant is often sold as a nutritional supplement or 'superfood'. Learn more, including where to find it and how to store it.
Wheatgrass is the young shoots of wheat, or triticum aestivum, and contains chlorophyll and other vitamins and minerals. But is it better than anything else? Rather like bean shoots, it depends who you ask and, particularly, who is selling it.
The NHS and the British Dietetic Association disagree with the common message that a shot (about 25ml) of wheatgrass juice has the same nutrition as 1kg of vegetables; both say that, weight-for-weight, its dietary contribution is about the same as spinach or broccoli. A 25ml shot of wheatgrass juice doesn’t even count as one of your five-a-day.
Unquestionably, there will be those who get special benefits from regular doses, but that’s more to do with physiology. For the rest of us, the broadly accepted medical view is that wheat grass is no better or worse than other fresh produce, and that like all foods, taking an excess of it can be dangerous for the human body.
Wheatgrass juice should never be cooked.
Wheatgrass deteriorates quickly once harvested and the juice will continue to do so; refrigeration is a short-term solution. If long-term storage is needed, choose frozen or freeze-dried versions, or, ideally, grow it yourself.
Wheatgrass that's been converted into a juice is widely available in fresh, frozen and freeze-dried forms, especially in health food shops and juice bars.
The health benefits of wheatgrass are based on its nutritional content as a fresh product, so any version in its living state is best – this is why it’s commonly liquidised directly after cutting and sold as a juice, in shots.