I'm sure you've heard about the benefits of taking wheatgrass shots by now. After taking the first of four consecutive shots of wheatgrass (one a day), things weren't looking good. Does this food's supposed "superpowers" really make it that much more superior to every other health food on the market today?
Curious but reluctant to try it myself, I set out to discover what's fact and what's fiction when it comes to wheatgrass.
Some Background on Wheatgrass
Wheatgrass is sold in either a juice or powder form and is prepared from the cotyledons of wheat plants. Surprisingly, one of its appealing traits is that it’s gluten-free. It’s also high in chlorophyll, amino acids, vitamins, and enzymes. Wheatgrass has become increasingly trendy in the health world.
While many consumers advocate simply for its health benefits, others claim that it can cure the common cold, bronchitis, fevers, infections, inflammation of the mouth and throat, anxiety, depression, IBS, acne, migraines, and even cancer.
With so much buzz around the product, it’s hard to know whether this is just another super healthy trendy food, or if the green juice could actually have (what seems like) magical properties.
Don't Put Your Faith in Wheatgrass Just Yet
Let me just give a quick disclaimer. Science has found no evidence to support claims that wheatgrass can cure or prevent diseases.
That’s not to say, however, that it is a waste of time. Wheatgrass is a great source of protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, E, and K, and several minerals. With this in mind, I sought to find out if this enormous concentration of good-for-you ingredients had any effect on my friends during and after our challenge.
“Is this Oasis? Yeah, I was wondering if it was normal to feel nauseous after taking a wheatgrass shot?” This was the first thing I heard my friend say on the phone after stepping out of the shower in her dorm room.
My friend Claire, her roommate Jen, and I had just made the trip to Oasis, a local smoothie and juice bar that offered not only your typical strawberry banana smoothie, but also kale, carrot, lemon and ginger detox juice, and wheatgrass shots.
According to Oasis, if you took four wheatgrass shots in four days, you could earn the fifth free. My friends thought this would be easy to beat, so they went for the challenge. Later that day, they would live to regret their choice when the nausea came. Nervous, we called the juice store and were told that this was completely normal.
Online wheatgrass advocates claim that this a result of the process of detoxification caused by wheatgrass. (If this is normal, then why wasn’t there a warning? I would hate to head to an interview feeling nauseous from a wheatgrass shot.)
Undeterred, Claire and Jen both had the shot the next day. And the next. And the next. For four days with no side effects. Jen hypothesized that her empty stomach on the first day was what ultimately caused the nausea.
When I asked them if they felt any healthier after the challenge, their response was underwhelming. It seemed that the only positive part of the rest of their experience was not feeling nauseas.
Wheatgrass: Superpower-Infused or Not?
So, as you might guess, I’m not sold on the powers of wheatgrass. If this superfood can’t make me immune to the common cold or let me teleport, I think I’ll stick to more appetizing fruits and veggies that I don’t have to down in one gulp. Usually I’m up for a test, but the Wheatgrass Shot Challenge just doesn’t seem worth it. Maybe if the prize is a smoothie instead of another shot, I’ll reconsider.
Neither participant claimed to be glowing with wheatgrass-given energy afterwards. Despite the lack of a life-changing experience, both girls felt that they were doing something good for their bodies. The ability to drink down a portion of vegetables in seconds can make you feel powerful and in control of your own health. Regardless, life went on as usual, only now my friends had spent valuable smoothie funds on wheatgrass shots.
At Oasis, wheatgrass shots are not the only drink on the menu that claim to benefit one's health. There are several juices that detox, clear up bad skin, and boost your immune system. I'd love to find out if any of these drinks actually do what they're supposed to. Right now, though, I think I'll stick to my classic peanut butter banana smoothie.