One of my clients that has been in my Health Coaching Program for 8 years voiced a concern over wheat grass juice being gluten free. So, I wanted to take a moment to share some light on the subject with all of my blog followers.
Does Wheatgrass Contain Gluten?
Some people become sick when they consume the elastic protein in wheat, barley and rye called gluten. Celiac disease causes a multitude of symptoms including gastrointestinal upset, rashes and brain fog, and can be linked to other diseases such as cancer, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Celiac sufferers must avoid all gluten for the rest of their lives. Wheatgrass grows from the seed of wheat, so it would seem like something celiacs should avoid. However, because it is a young version of the plant, the grass itself does not contain gluten.
What Is Wheat Grass?
Used primarily as a nutritional supplement, wheat grass is a variety of grass in the same family as wheat, barley and rye. You can find it in juice bars and food stores, growing in trays from sprouted wheat berries. Proponents of its nutritional prowess believe it must be cut fresh and juiced immediately to provide benefit. Capsules and dehydrated powder forms of wheatgrass are also available.
Benefits of Wheat Grass:
Anne Wigmore first introduced the idea of using wheat grass as a nutritional supplement. She observed cats and dogs eating grass and theorized that humans too could also benefit. The supposed benefits of wheatgrass are due to its very high chlorophyll content. Claims exist that wheatgrass positively affects almost all organs and systems of the body—particularly liver, thyroid and cardiovascular health. Wheatgrass drinkers maintain it increases your metabolism and suppress the appetite. Some even believe that wheatgrass can help heal the body. The Food and Drug Administration treats wheatgrass as a supplement and does not support any of these claims. No credible studies that support these claims have been conducted.
No Gluten in the younger grasses:
Because wheatgrass is young, it has not yet formed the proteins that trigger celiac symptoms. The concern with wheatgrass surrounds its possible contamination with sprouted wheat or the seed. If you consume wheatgrass juice at an establishment where you can watch it being cut and processed, you can be pretty sure contamination has not occurred. You must look carefully to make sure the wheatgrass juice contains no sprouts and that the equipment used has not come into contact with any gluten-containing products.