Drinking Wheatgrass

Humans having been drinking wheatgrass for over 5,000 years, but it only took off (if you can even say that) in the 1930s. Its proponents have credited it with everything from cleansing the body of toxins to treating cancer. Its fans have claimed that it boosts immunity, and kills harmful bacteria in the digestive system. Unfortunately, scientific studies and analyses have not been that charitable.

But just because it's not a super food doesn't mean wheatgrass isn't worthy of your love. It has twice the amount of vitamin A as carrots and is higher in vitamin C than oranges. It is mineral-rich, containing phosphorus, magnesium, sodium and potassium in a balanced ratio. Wheatgrass isn't a great source of protein, but a shot of the green elixir supplies about 10 percent of the iron and about 6 percent of the vitamin C you need on a daily basis. An 8-gram scoop of wheatgrass powder contains half of the vitamin A you need for the day.

In addition to being fresh-pressed from live, growing sprouts in front of your eyes at many of the finer juice bars, wheatgrass is sold as a dietary supplement in tablet, capsule, powder and liquid forms. Note that wheatgrass supplements are not monitored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

But it's in its most elemental form, grown in soil or water and consumed raw, where wheatgrass is most usually appreciated by aficionados and derives a lot of its peculiar appeal. But that can also be a source of bacterial contamination. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, you should avoid wheatgrass.

Although it is generally considered safe, wheatgrass may cause nausea, anorexia and constipation. Notably, if you are allergic to wheat or grass, or have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, check with your doctor before using wheatgrass.