Wheatgrass Powder vs. Fresh

Wheatgrass is a nutrient-dense superfood made from the young grass shoots of the common wheat plant.

Wheatgrass Powder vs. Fresh

It contains a wide array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, and other beneficial plant compounds.

What Is Wheatgrass?

Wheatgrass refers to the young grass shoots that sprout from wheat seeds, scientifically known as Triticum aestivum. It is typically harvested before the jointing stage, when the stem has developed its first node. At this stage, the grass is at its peak nutritional potency.

The use of wheatgrass for health and vitality can be traced back thousands of years to ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations. But it wasn't until the 1930s that wheatgrass became popular in the Western world, thanks largely to Charles Schnabel, an agricultural chemist who touted its nutritional benefits.

Wheatgrass is valued as a superfood because it's packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, and amino acids. Some of its top nutrients include:

  • Vitamins A, C, E
  • B vitamins
  • Iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium
  • Chlorophyll
  • Flavonoids
  • Amino acids

Due to its impressive nutritional profile, wheatgrass is linked to many potential health benefits when consumed regularly. These include:

  • Boosting immunity
  • Detoxifying the body
  • Increasing energy
  • Improving digestion
  • Lowering cholesterol
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Aiding in weight loss

Wheatgrass can be difficult to digest when eaten raw due to its tough, fibrous nature. That's why it's usually consumed as a fresh juice or dried powder.

Fresh Wheatgrass Juice

To make fresh wheatgrass juice, the grass is harvested when it reaches about 6-8 inches tall. It is then run through a specialized juicing machine called a masticating juicer.

Fresh wheatgrass juice retains all the living enzymes, vitamins, and minerals found in the grass. It also contains the optimal ratios and natural synergies between all the compounds.

However, fresh wheatgrass juice oxidizes and loses nutritional potency very quickly after juicing. Enzymes start to degrade within 15 minutes.

To preserve freshness, wheatgrass juice should be consumed immediately or frozen until use. Freezing traps enzymes and slows oxidation while maintaining the bright green color.

Pros of fresh wheatgrass juice:

  • Maximum nutrition and enzymes
  • Pleasant sweet, grassy flavor
  • Natural taste and color
  • Easy to make at home

Cons of fresh wheatgrass juice:

  • Very perishable
  • Requires frequent juicing
  • Can harbor mold if grown poorly
  • Strong "grassy" taste for some

Wheatgrass Powder

Wheatgrass powder is made by juicing fresh wheatgrass, then dehydrating it into a powder. This allows the nutrients to be concentrated and preserved.

Dehydration can be done a few different ways:

  • Air-drying: Wheatgrass juice is sprayed into a hot air chamber to rapidly remove moisture. Less expensive but can damage nutrients with heat.
  • Freeze-drying: Wheatgrass juice is frozen solid, then placed in a vacuum chamber. The ice sublimates directly into vapor, leaving dry wheatgrass particles behind. Best retention of nutrients but more expensive.
  • Drum drying: Wheatgrass juice is spread on hot metal rollers that rapidly dry it into flakes. Very high heat damages nutrients.

No matter the exact method, the key is to minimize exposure to oxygen, light, and heat to preserve nutritional quality. High-end wheatgrass powders use freeze-drying or low-temperature air drying techniques.

Pros of wheatgrass powder:

  • Long shelf-life up to 2 years
  • Concentrated nutrition
  • Easy to mix into foods/drinks
  • No juicing required
  • Convenient for travel

Cons of wheatgrass powder:

  • Inferior to fresh juice nutrition-wise
  • Oxidation during processing
  • Higher heat degrades nutrients
  • No enzymes
  • More bitter taste

Key Takeaway: Wheatgrass powder offers concentrated nutrition in a shelf-stable form, but lacks the enzymes and some nutrients compared to fresh juice.

Wheatgrass Tablets/Capsules

For those who don't like the strong flavor of wheatgrass, it can be consumed in tablet or capsule form.

Wheatgrass tablets are made by compressing wheatgrass powder into pill form. Capsules encase the powder in a gelatin shell that dissolves after swallowing.

While tablets and capsules mask the taste, they have similar drawbacks as wheatgrass powder:

  • Nutrients lost during drying
  • No enzymes
  • Not as potent as fresh juice

Tablets and capsules also often contain filler ingredients as binding agents. However, they're more convenient and travel-friendly than powders.

Which Is Better: Fresh or Powder?

When it comes to wheatgrass, fresh juice is nutritionally superior to dried powders or capsules. But the differences aren't black and white.

Fresh wheatgrass juice contains the highest levels of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes if grown and handled properly. It also retains the natural synergies between compounds as they exist in the living plant.

However, fresh juice only stays nutritious for a short time. It requires frequent juicing to enjoy the benefits.

Wheatgrass powder offers concentrated nutrition in a shelf-stable, convenient form. But some antioxidant activity and nutrients are lost during drying. Enzymes are also largely deactivated.

For most people, wheatgrass powder makes it easier to work the superfood into your daily diet. But serious health seekers may want to invest in a juicer and use fresh juice whenever possible.

You can also alternate between fresh juice and powders for the best of both worlds. Use fresh juice at home, and powders/capsules when traveling or on-the-go.

Key Takeaway: Fresh wheatgrass juice has superior nutritional quality over powders and capsules. But dried wheatgrass offers convenience as a travel-friendly supplement.

How to Use Wheatgrass

Fresh Wheatgrass Juice

An ounce or two of wheatgrass juice is considered one "shot." Most people start with 1-2 ounces per day. Too much at once can cause nausea until your body adjusts.

Wheatgrass juice is best consumed on an empty stomach, such as first thing in the morning. It can also be added to smoothies or mixed into water or juice.

Tips for easing into wheatgrass juice:

  • Start with 1 ounce or less
  • Follow with water or fruit to cut the bitterness
  • Add lemon, ginger, or mint to improve flavor
  • Mix with sweeter juices like apple, orange

Wheatgrass Powder

For powders, follow the serving instructions on your specific brand. Generally 1-5 grams (1/4 to 1 tsp) is standard.

Powders can be mixed into water, juice, or smoothies. Sprinkle over meals like salads, soups, or grains for an easy nutrition boost.

Some brands offer tablets or capsules with set dosages per pill. Taking wheatgrass powder in capsules avoids the taste but provides the same nutrition.

Growing Wheatgrass at Home

Growing and juicing your own wheatgrass is a rewarding way to enjoy fresh juice regularly. But proper growing techniques are vital to avoid mold contamination.

Tips for growing healthy, mold-free wheatgrass:

  • Use organic wheatgrass seeds meant for juicing
  • Soak seeds for 8-12 hours before sowing
  • Use clean potting mix and trays just for wheatgrass
  • Allow good drainage and air circulation
  • Rinse grass daily to prevent mold growth
  • Harvest just before jointing stage

With the right conditions, homegrown wheatgrass can provide a steady supply of fresh, mold-free juice year-round. Outdoor-grown wheatgrass is also popular in warmer climates.

Are There Any Side Effects?

For most people, moderate wheatgrass consumption is very safe and well-tolerated. However, some temporary side effects can occur:

  • Nausea, headaches, dizziness - Start with small doses and work up slowly over time.
  • Constipation or diarrhea - Due to the fiber content. Usually improves with consistent use.
  • Allergic reactions - Wheatgrass is gluten-free but may cause reactions in those with wheat allergies.

Rarely, more serious effects like hives, rash, or anaphylaxis can occur. Discontinue use if any severe reactions develop.

Those with chronic health conditions should consult their doctor before taking wheatgrass. It may interact with medications or exacerbate some medical problems.


Is wheatgrass gluten-free?

Yes, wheatgrass is gluten-free. Gluten is a protein found only in the grains of wheat and related grains like barley and rye. The grass shoots of wheat do not contain gluten.

However, wheatgrass is often grown alongside wheat crops, so cross-contamination is possible. Look for brands that are tested gluten-free to be safe if you have celiac disease or a wheat allergy.

What does wheatgrass taste like?

Fresh wheatgrass juice has a sweet, grassy taste. Most people describe it as similar to cut lawn grass or vegetable broth. Wheatgrass powder is often more bitter with a strong "green" flavor.

Adding lemon, ginger, mint, or fruit juice can help balance out the earthy taste of wheatgrass for an easier introduction.

Can wheatgrass help you lose weight?

Some research indicates wheatgrass and its compounds like chlorophyll may support weight loss efforts through suppressing appetite and increasing metabolism.

But no studies prove wheatgrass directly causes weight loss. It's more accurate to view wheatgrass as part of an overall healthy diet and active lifestyle for shedding excess pounds.

Does wheatgrass have protein?

Yes, wheatgrass contains a wide array of essential amino acids and is considered a complete protein source. In fact, proponents often boast wheatgrass has more protein than some fish and meat.

However, the protein content is still quite low compared to animal products. Fresh juice has about 8g protein per cup, and powders around 13g per ounce.

So wheatgrass can provide amino acids to complement an already protein-rich diet, but should not be viewed as a key protein source by itself.

Can dogs eat wheatgrass?

In moderation, wheatgrass juice or powder can be a nutritious supplement for dogs. Start with just a teaspoon initially mixed with food to monitor tolerance.

Never give dogs raw, unjuiced wheatgrass, as it can obstruct the digestive tract. Also introduce new foods slowly and consult your vet if any reactions occur.


Wheatgrass is an exceptional source of nutrients and antioxidants that may benefit health and vitality when consumed regularly. Both fresh juice and dried powders offer excellent nutrition.

For the highest quality, fresh wheatgrass juice boasts premium enzymatic activity and nutrient levels. But wheatgrass powders provide a convenient, travel-friendly alternative to still harness its potent nutrition.

At moderate doses, wheatgrass is safe for most people to incorporate into a healthy diet and lifestyle. Whether you choose to juice or use powders, wheatgrass provides a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals to give your body an extra boost.

Sarah Cortez
Sarah Cortez

My name is Sarah and I'm a baker who loves trying out new recipes and flavor combinations. I decided to challenge myself to use a new spice or ingredient powder in my baking each week for a year. Some successes were the cardamom sugar cookies, vivid turmeric cake, and beetroot chocolate cupcakes. Failures included the bitter neem brownies and overwhelmingly hot ghost pepper snickerdoodles. Through this experience I've discovered amazing additions to spice up desserts while learning how to balance strong flavors. Follow my journey as I push the boundaries of baking with unique powders!

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