Wheatgrass juice is made from juicing young wheatgrass, which is a member of the wheat family. Bright green in color with a sweet but potent grassy taste, wheatgrass juice is heralded for its numerous health benefits and its supposed detoxification properties. However, wheatgrass juice can also cause certain side effects and reactions in some people. If you are consuming wheatgrass juice for the first time, have an allergy to wheat or are growing your own wheatgrass, there are several precautions you should take.
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Blend It for Taste and Tolerance
Wheatgrass juice is highly concentrated and usually served as a small “shot” or blended with other fruit and vegetable juices to mask the taste. Blending with other juices also means that the potential health benefits of wheatgrass juice -- namely its detoxification properties -- are not experienced as intensely. If you feel nauseous or experience a headache after consuming wheatgrass juice, it may be because the concentration of the juice is too much for your system and that you are not used to it. Dilute the juice with water or with other fruit and vegetable juices, or consume less juice until you are more comfortable drinking wheatgrass juice. However, if your symptoms are severe or persistent, consult a medical professional immediately.
When It's Bitter Tasting
If your wheatgrass juice has a musky or bitter taste, it's possible that your wheatgrass is moldy and that you should not drink the wheatgrass juice. While most wheatgrass will develop a “blue fuzz” mold, which is harmless and you can wash or cut it off, if your wheatgrass has brown or white mold -- it means that the mold has penetrated the plant. White or brown mold on your wheatgrass means that the wheatgrass is inedible and you should not consume it. You can store cut wheatgrass -- sealed in a plastic bag -- for 7 to 10 days in the refrigerator, before it goes bad.
Prevent Bacterial Contamination
Because wheatgrass is grown in trays and then consumed raw, bacterial contamination from the growing environment can be easily transferred to the wheatgrass and then to the juice. To ensure healthy wheatgrass, keep your growing trays mold- and contaminant-free by sterilizing them and then seal all your cut wheatgrass in food-grade plastic bags to ensure little cross-contamination in your kitchen. Consuming bacteria-laden wheatgrass juice can cause a range of foodborne illnesses, including upset stomachs and nausea.
Watch Out for an Allergic Reaction
While some practitioners say that wheatgrass is safe for you to consume if you have a wheat or gluten allergy or intolerance such as celiac disease, it is generally safer to avoid wheatgrass juice to avoid a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include hives and swelling in your throat. If you experience these symptoms immediately after consuming wheatgrass, it is highly possible that your symptoms will only worsen as time passes. Consult a medical professional immediately for treatment.