Is Wheatgrass Gluten Free?

Gluten, a combination of proteins, is found commonly in various grains like wheat and barley. Some people are forced to avoid gluten in their diets due to gluten sensitivity, celiac disease and other health hazards which may lead to abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, problematic intestinal tissue damage, etc. People with certain types of gluten intolerance who want to incorporate wheatgrass in their meals wonder whether wheatgrass contains gluten.

So Is Wheatgrass Gluten Free?

According to one research of US Department of Agriculture, seed kernel (the endosperm) of wheatgrass is the only part that contains gluten, and its stem and leaves are gluten free. As long as what you harvest and consume only involves the stem and leaves, you can say that wheatgrass is gluten free.

However, caution must be taken when harvesting the wheatgrass because even a single seed can cause contamination of the product. One way to prevent such contamination is to collect wheatgrass before the seed has been produced.

When you buy wheatgrass or its juice on the mark, you will increase your chances of consuming gluten because you don't know if these products are contaminated with seed kernel or not. So the safes way is to plant your own wheatgrass and consume before seeds come out.

Nutrition Facts of Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass is a great source of numerous vitamins and minerals and the quantity of these nutrients found in wheatgrass is similar to that found in fresh vegetables. Vitamins in wheatgrass are B12, A and E and minerals found in wheatgrass are calcium, magnesium, iron and selenium, some of which are important antioxidants.

Why Do Many Consume Wheatgrass?

Now that we've found the answer to the question, "Is wheatgrass gluten free?" Let's discuss why to use wheatgrass in our daily routines.

It Is Claimed

  • Wheatgrass is used to fight many diseases like AIDS and cancer.
  • What's more, wheatgrass can also soothe minor conditions like cough, cold, constipation and many skin conditions.
  • Many who consume wheatgrass believe that the green pigment Chlorophyll found in wheatgrass, like that found in parsley, arugula and spinach, can function as hemoglobin (an oxygen-transporting protein in red blood cells) and provide the body with increased oxygen levels.

What Science Says

Scientifically, very little evidence is available to support such claims that wheatgrass can prevent, treat or cure diseases. Here are some scientific studies about the funtion of wheatgrass:

  • A 2002 study in Israel showed that wheatgrass juice may soothe the inflammation in the colon caused by ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. Although more researches are still needed, it does indicate that wheatgrass has potential benefits.
  • According to WebMD, though there is no scientific evidence to back up the theory of using wheatgrass to shrink tumor or increase cancer survival rate, it may be used to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy. A preliminary study with 60 breast cancer women showed that wheatgrass can reduce certain side effects of chemotherapy without affecting the effectiveness of this procedure.

Are There Any Risks of Consuming Wheatgrass?

"Is Wheatgrass gluten free?" Yes, it is as long as no seeds get into your wheatgrass juice. However, although eating wheatgrass is generally considered to be safe, taking large quantity has been reported to show some side effects.

  • You may experience headache, nausea and some serious allergic reactions like throat swelling and hives.
  • One should take care when eating wheatgrass raw because it may be contaminated by bacteria found in the field where it was grown.

Then you may ask "Should I use Wheatgrass?" There isn't really any harm in trying a small amount of wheatgrass from a reputable company. However, anyone with compromised immunity should remain cautious of bacterial contamination.

Watch the following Video to know 3 safe and easy ways to consume wheatgrass: 

Besides Wheatgrass, What to Eat and Avoid with Gluten Intolerance

By now your question "Is wheatgrass gluten free?" has been answered and so does the benefits and side effects of it. Here's more good stuff. For those who can't eat gluten, here is a list of foods that you can eat and the ones that should be avoided.

1. What to Eat

Gluten-free non-grain foods

Many foods are naturally gluten free, but make sure do not mix or process them with grains that contain glutens. You can choose from: fresh eggs, fruits and vegetables, most dairy products, beans, seeds and nuts in their natural, unrefined form and fresh meats, fish and poultry that are not breaded, batter-coated or marinated.

Gluten-free grains

Many gluten-free grains can replace the ones containing gluten, such as: teff, tapioca, soy, sorghum, rice, quinoa, millet, hominy (corn), gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, and bean), falx, corn and cornmeal, buckwheat, arrowroot, amaranth. Take note that gluten containing grains, additives and/or preservatives are not added into them.

2. What Foods to Avoid

Foods to avoid at all cost:

You should try you best to avoid barley, rye, wheat and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). It's worthy to mention that malt, malt flavoring and malt vinegar are usually made from barley and should be avoided. Besides, avoiding wheat can be challenging because wheat products go by numerous names, such as durum flour, farina, graham flour, kamut, semolina, and spelt.

Foods to avoid with conditions

Certain foods should be avoided unless they are labeled "gluten free" or are made from gluten-free materials mentioned above. Such foods may include beer, breads, cakes and pies, candies, cereals, communion wafers, cookies and crackers, croutons, French fries, gravies, imitation meat or seafood, matzo, pastas, processed meats, salad dressings, seasoned rice mixes, snack foods (chips), self-basting poultry, soups and soup bases, vegetables in sauce, gluten free oats, food additives, like malt flavoring, modified food starch, products having gluten as a binding agent.

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