Last month while out of town I was in a Jamba Juice getting a smoothie and the guy behind the counter asked if I wanted some wheatgrass. I hesitated, but he went on to say that another customer had ordered it and then left, so rather than see it go to waste he would just give it to me, free of charge.
He also said that this little 2-oz. shot glass full of wheatgrass had the equivalent of 3 pounds of vegetables, and that it's very healthy for you, apparently. So I tried it, with an OJ chaser. It wasn't great, and it wasn't bad either. Just kind of grassy tasting.
But I walked away scratching my head about his comment of there being so many nutrients in just a small shot glass full of juice. Does a shot of essentially a relative of lawn grass really offer the amazing health benefits that many health food stores claim?
Living-foods.com, a Web site that has information on all-natural and organic food products, advocates wheatgrass as an antibiotic, appetite suppressant and energizer. According to the site, the chlorophyll reacts with toxins in the body’s cells and tissues and brings them into the bloodstream to be excreted at a later time. The website also makes the claim that wheatgrass acts as a deodorizer with the ability to subdue the stench that comes with consumption of certain food and beverages or use of tobacco.
Vivian Crisman, nutritionist at Vaden Health Center, says the health craze surrounding wheatgrass is more marketing than truth. "Wheatgrass is grass.....it isn’t loaded with proteins or vitamins or calcium or fiber,” Crisman said. “Marketers of wheat grass make these bold claims, but they don’t show up as facts on the nutrition label.”
Crisman said that she thought the energizing effects of drinking wheatgrass shots are likely to be psychological. “Any effect someone feels would probably be the result of the placebo effect, but it’s hard to quantify,” she said. “Asking someone, ‘do you feel a boost of energy after drinking this?’ isn’t measurable. If you tell someone that something is going to happen, you can’t tell whether the effects are real or perceived.”
I am not an advocate for or against wheatgrass, and if you drink it regularly and believe in the positive effects, more power to you. I am just skeptical about the claim that a shot of wheatgrass is as nutritionally valuable as 3 pounds of veggies. I think many Americans are looking for a shortcut to energy, or quicker, faster way to improved health. As for me, I'll stick with my veggies. But, if you offer a shot of wheatgrass to me for free, I won't turn you down either.....