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What is a Wheatgrass Shot?

Wheatgrass shots are green due to high levels of chlorophyll.
Drinking an abundance of wheatgrass shots can cause stomach cramps.
Wheatgrass and wheatgrass juice.
Article Details
  • Originally Written By: Kate Monteith
  • Revised By: C. Mitchell
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 April 2014
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A wheatgrass shot is a small amount of juice, usually anywhere from 2 to 4 ounces (about 59 to 118 mL), made from the tender young shoots of the wheat plant. People tend to drink them in one or two swallows, much the way they would drink shots of liquor; it is also common to add them to other blended juices or smoothies. Wheatgrass typically has a rather bitter flavor, which can make sipping the juice somewhat unpleasant. It has a lot of important vitamins and minerals, though, and people often look past the taste to get the health benefits.

Basic Concept

Many health experts recommend wheatgrass both as a way to improve vitamin intake and as a natural cure for digestive and immune problems. Getting these benefits usually requires a relatively large intake, however, and it’s difficult for many people to stomach eating large amounts of the plant on its own. Rather than pile salads high with the greens, many people choose to blend them into a juice. Wheatgrass shots often contain platefuls of plant in a single, small serving.

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Shots are typically bright green in color thanks to high levels of chlorophyll. Wheatgrass is, as its name might suggest, the tender grass-like tendrils of the common wheat plant. It is typically harvested within about a week of sprouting, and at this point it’s usually bright green. Only later would it take on the pale color and dry texture more often associated with wheat. The sprouts tend to have a rather bitter, earthy flavor, and shots usually have these characteristics, too.

Nutritional Content

Wheatgrass — and by association, the juice that is made from it — contains a wealth of enzymes, amino acids and minerals that are important for optimal health. In addition to protein, iron, and calcium, the plant also contains high levels of beta-carotene and vitamins E, C, and B12. It tends to be a good source of magnesium and potassium, too. Consuming a lot of the grass in a “shot” of juice can be a good way for people to quickly meet many of their vitamin needs for a day. The nutrients tend to enter the bloodstream relatively quickly once ingested, making the juice an effective means of quick energy.

There haven’t been many clinical tests done on wheatgrass and its health benefits, but proponents’ claims include improved digestion, lessening of menopause symptoms, relief of constipation, and bloodstream detoxification. Regular consumption may also help prevent heart disease and diabetes.

Cautions and Side Effects

Most experts recommend that people ingest no more than two shots, or about 8 ounces (237 mL), of wheatgrass juice in a day. More than this can cause stomach cramps, bloating, and a range of intestinal problems. Despite being part of the wheat plant, the grass typically doesn’t contain the wheat protein gluten, though, making the shots an acceptable choice for those with gluten intolerance or sensitivity.

Where to Purchase

Juice bars and health food stores around the world sell wheatgrass shots either made fresh to order or pre-packaged in small containers for easy use. It’s sometimes also possible to find wheatgrass juice sold in bulk, often at specialty grocers or natural wellness suppliers. The most important thing consumers should look for is purity: a true wheatgrass shot will contain wheatgrass juice and nothing else. Manufacturers sometimes add water, sugar, or other additives to improve the taste, but these can detract from the drink’s overall nutritional benefit.

Making Shots at Home

People who drink wheatgrass on a regular basis often find that it is more economical to make shots at home, and this also gives them ultimate control over concentration, additives, and shot size. In most cases, all that is needed is a handful or so of the grass and a blender or juicer.

Fresh wheatgrass can be bought from a number of health food stores, but most people find that it isn’t that difficult to grow. Letting the wheat fully mature typically requires a field or yard of some size, but the grass can often be grown indoors in trays or small pots. Home growers can sometimes improve their yield by investing in specialty growing boxes, lights, and other tools, but all that anyone really needs to get started is wheat berries and a bit of soil. The grasses usually need to be harvested within about ten days of sprouting, but they tend to regenerate relatively quickly, particularly if they aren’t cut all the way down.

Wheatgrass shots, whether purchased or made fresh, generally need to be consumed within a day or so of blending in order to be as potent as possible. The juice should be refrigerated and kept covered; most people will also stir or shake it gently before serving.

Variations and Blends

Not everyone finds the taste or experience of drinking a wheatgrass shot appealing, and this is a big reason why the juice is so often sold in such small quantities. It’s often a lot easier to “shoot” the juice — which is to say, to drink it quickly in one swallow — than it is to sip it slowly. This is also the reason why wheatgrass is sometimes listed as an ingredient in fruit smoothies or in other blended drinks. The juice can give a nutritional boost while other ingredients can mask the taste. Some manufacturers also sell wheatgrass powder or supplement pellets for those who want the benefits without any of the taste.

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Discuss this Article

anon321521
Post 12

I had an herby friend recommend wheatgrass pills when I was sick once (a cold I think). The dosage was disgusting -- I think it was like twenty tablets a day or something like that. The tablets still packed the flavor of grass, and I could barely get half the tablets down and finally gave up on them. Weird thing though: I still saw improvement quickly. I have since taken shots when I can't beat a bug-- not to be macho, but because a shot is over quickly. I say it's more affordable in supplement forms, but if you have the budget for it, go for the shots and have an orange juice near by to wash it down.

anon313306
Post 11

Where can I purchase a wheatgrass juicer?

vigilant
Post 10

Is there an easy way for me to make wheatgrass juice at home?

ZsaZsa56
Post 9

@Ivan83 - Actually, I don't think wheatgrass shots went away, I think they just stated to get combined with other things to make them a little more palatable. I know there are several juice bars and coffee shops close to me that serve them in smoothies now.

Ivan83
Post 8

I remember back in the early and mid 90s when wheatgrass shots were all the rage. I was living in San Fransisco and they started showing up everywhere, even places that had no business selling them. For instance, who wants to get a burger and fires and a wheatgrass shot? I think eventually people realized that they tasted gross and didn't turn you into superman and that was the end of them.

Fa5t3r
Post 7

I actually like having wheatgrass around just because I think it's a beautiful thing to have in the kitchen. It's useful, of course and it's great to get all the health benefits of wheatgrass juice, but it's also just nice to have something green and fresh looking in the kitchen.

And it grows quite quickly, so if you're clever with the timing, you should be able to get away with only two or three trays working in rotation. Just remember that you need to change the water regularly, particularly if they are in direct sun.

Ana1234
Post 6

@anon139047 - I've never heard it described as sweet before. I've always found it to be quite bitter and pungent. I much prefer to mix it into a smoothie than try to drink a shot. The idea of drinking a shot seems like kind of a macho, exercise junkie kind of thing to do.

You still get the wheatgrass juice benefits if it's mixed up with something sweet and tasty.

anon139047
Post 5

I was in line behind a person who ordered a wheat grass shot. I had no idea what it would taste like, so asked for a sample. I was amazed at the sweetness. Everyone seems to have a different reaction. I am hooked.

ether
Post 4

In addition to shot form, wheat grass can be found in juices, powders, and tablets. It is often suggested that wheat grass be mixed with carrot juice and various types of fruit juice to disguise its "earthy" flavor.

Because wheat grass shots can be particularly expensive at juice bars, you can cut costs and still enjoy all the benefits of the substance simply by growing your own at home.

pistachios
Post 3

The excessive intake of wheat grass can result in nausea, headache, and diarrhea. As with all supplements, only take the recommended dose and always consult a health care professional before implementing any new substance into your diet.

skinnylove
Post 2

The chlorophyll found in wheat grass is believed to improve digestion, relieve constipation, and help detoxify the body. In addition to these health benefits, chlorophyll is similar to hemoglobin and can improve blood circulation. Wheat grass can assist in regulating blood pressure and blood sugar. Some people also use wheat grass in juice form to suppress appetite in an effort to shed pounds.

cmsmith10
Post 1

A wheat grass shot is made from wheat that has just started to grow. The bigger it gets, the tougher it is. It is cut off when it is about 5 inches tall. It is then put in the blender and mixed up. It’s kind of thick and not too easy on the eye but very good for you. It is full of vitamins and antioxidants. The taste is not great. I would compare it to eating grass! You can mix it with a smoothie to “hide” the taste.

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