With so many super greens out there, it’s hard to know the differences and which is the best choice for you! I am here to help you navigate through wheatgrass, chlorella, spirulina, and barley grass. Hopefully this guide helps you to understand the benefits and key differences of each when selecting one of these greens. It may also encourage you to take all of them at the same time!
Wheatgrass is a super food that contains a plethora of compounds that can enhance and improve your overall health! Wheatgrass contains chlorophyll, amino acids, phytonutrients, magnesium, enzymes and other key vitamins and minerals. Wheatgrass is particularly popular for being loaded with antioxidants, which have been shown to deliver numerous benefits. These antioxidants help the body to eliminate toxins, fight inflammation, and protect against chronic diseases. Since wheatgrass is packed with these powerful antioxidants, there are many studies that prove wheatgrass can fight and protect against serious diseases like cancer (1). Moreover, wheatgrass has anti-microbial properties which means it can be helpful when it comes to treating and slowing the progression of certain infections such as strep throat, gastrointestinal infections, and more (2). There have also been studies that indicate wheatgrass can fight against obesity. A study done in 2014, confirmed that supplementation of wheatgrass can decease body weight and total cholesterol, while improving liver health (3). Due to the nutritional profile of this powerful grass, the benefits are endless. Less cravings, alkalized body, better digestion, stronger immunity, clearer skin, and so much more.
How to take wheatgrass:
To take wheatgrass, simply mix 1-2 teaspoons of Organic Traditions powdered wheatgrass in a glass of water. More water will give it a lighter taste, while less water will make it a little stronger. You may also decide to add 1-2 teaspoons to your smoothie, yogurt, salad dressing, or oatmeal. Unlike many other superfood greens, wheatgrass has a pleasant and almost sweeter taste.
Spirulina has become one of the world’s most popular, and anciently used supplements. Although the idea of eating algae may seem unusual to some at first, it is an all-purpose option that provides high level nourishment for the human body. Spirulina contains high levels of chlorophyll, iron, vitamin B12, proteins, and tons of other vitamins and minerals. Like wheatgrass, spirulina is loaded with antioxidants. Therefore, it holds many of the same benefits when it comes to managing inflammation, fighting off chronic illness, improving digestion, optimizing heart health and so much more. Spirulina is popular and gravitated towards for heart health, as it has been shown time and time again to improve cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Spirulina’s ability to fight off anemia also sets this algae apart. A study suggests supplementing with spirulina can fight anemia by increasing the hemoglobin content of red blood cells while improving immunity (4). Studies also show that because this algae is low calorie, and high in nutrients, it can aid in weight management and weight loss (5). This is because it improves heart health, curbs cravings, improves digestion, and regulates appetite.
How to take Spirulina:
Taking spirulina is similar to taking wheatgrass. Mix 1-2 teaspoons of Organic Traditions powdered spirulina in a glass of water. More water will give it a lighter taste, while less water will make it a little stronger. You may also decide to add 1-2 teaspoons to your smoothie, yogurt, salad dressing, or oatmeal. Spirulina does have a little bit of a “fishier” taste.
Chlorella is another green superfood that has grown quite a bit in popularity over the last decade. Chlorella is a highly nutritious algae packed with protein, vitamin B12, iron, vitamin C, Omega 3’s, and antioxidants. Due to this nutritious profile, it can benefit the body in many of the same ways of wheatgrass and spirulina. Chlorella is commonly used to fight against chronic disease, improve digestion, optimize heart health, boost immunity, manage weight and so much more. It would probably be a more appropriate route if we talk about what sets chlorella apart. Chlorella and Spirulina are most compared when it comes to choosing the best algae, as they are quite similar. Let’s start with the nutrient profile. Chlorella is a little more calorically dense when it comes to the two, as it is slightly higher in fat compared to spirulina. Chlorella is also 2-3x higher in vitamin A, Iron, and zinc when compared to spirulina. Spirulina is higher in copper, B1, and B2 compared to chlorella. Spirulina does have around 10% more protein compared to chlorella. A huge benefit when it comes to chlorella versus all other green superfoods is its omega-3 fatty acid content. Omega 3 fatty acids are crucial for cell growth, cognitive function, managing inflammation, and so much more.
How to take Chlorella
Taking chlorella is like taking all the green superfoods. Mix 1-2 teaspoons of Organic Traditions powdered chlorella in a glass of water. More water will give it a lighter taste, while less water will make it a little stronger. You may also decide to add 1-2 teaspoons to your smoothie, yogurt, salad dressing, or oatmeal. Chlorella does have a little bit of a “fishier” taste like spirulina.
The last green superfood we need to discuss is barley grass. Like the other greens, barley grass has been extensively studied for its beneficial health effects. Similar to wheatgrass, chlorella, and spirulina, barley grass is loaded with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants. Specifically, barley grass is high in vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin K. This makes it great for optimizing vision, immune health, wound healing, blood clotting, bone formation, heart health and more! Barley grass is crazy high in fiber, providing 3 grams of dietary fiber per tablespoon. Due to the fiber content and antioxidants in barley grass, it has been shown to promote weight loss. Those suffering from obesity or weight resistance can notice better ability to manage weight when consuming more fiber. A specific study done found that drinking barley juice consistently led to more weight loss when compared to a placebo group that did not consume any barley grass (6). Many also find that barley grass does wonders for the skin! This is most likely due to its vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant content. With these powerful nutrients, the body can do a better job at detoxifying and hydrating the skin. Barley grass and wheatgrass tend to be most similar amongst the superfoods discussed. Barley grass is slightly higher in protein and has a milder taste compared to wheatgrass.
How to take Barley Grass
Taking barley grass is like taking all the green superfoods... shocker! Mix 1-2 teaspoons of Organic Traditions powdered barley grass in a glass of water. More water will give it a lighter taste, while less water will make it a little stronger. You may also decide to add 1-2 teaspoons to your smoothie, yogurt, salad dressing, or oatmeal. Barley grass does not have an overpowering taste. It is probably the mildest amongst all grass juices discussed!
Written by Allison Sherkin, RHN, CHNC
Allison is the in-house nutritionist at House of Wellness. She is a registered holistic nutritionist with experience in weight loss, mental health, hormonal balance, and digestion. She is passionate about helping others elevate their health and truly discover their highest potential! Allison believes in products made with integrity and focuses on effective solutions to help her customers and clients.
1.Gore, R. D., Palaskar, S. J., & Bartake, A. R. (2017, June).Wheatgrass: Green blood can help to fight cancer. Journal of clinical and diagnostic research : JCDR. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5534514/.
2.Ladusingh, R., Mehta, N., Ankola, A., & Gadiyar, A. (2015).Evaluation of the anti-microbial activity of various concentration of wheat grass (Triticum aestivum) extract against Gram-positive bacteria: An in vitro study. Journal of Dental Research and Review. https://www.jdrr.org/article.asp?issn=2348-2915;year=2015;volume=2;issue=2;spage=70;epage=72;aulast=Rajpurohit.
3.& Im, J.-Y. (n.d.).Anti-obesity effect of Triticum aestivum SPROUT extract In high-fat-diet-induced obese mice. Taylor & Francis. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09168451.2015.1006567.
4.Selmi, C., Leung, P. S. C., Fischer, L., German, B., Yang, C.-Y., Kenny, T. P., Cysewski, G. R., & Gershwin, M. E. (2011, May).The effects of spirulina on anemia and immune function in senior citizens. Cellular & molecular immunology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4012879/.
5.Miczke A;Szulińska M;Hansdorfer-Korzon R;Kręgielska-Narożna M;Suliburska J;Walkowiak J;Bogdański P; (n.d.).Effects of spirulina consumption on body weight, blood pressure, and Endothelial function in Overweight hypertensive Caucasians: A double-blind, PLACEBO-CONTROLLED, randomized trial. European review for medical and pharmacological sciences. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26813468/.
6.P;, T. J. D. S. K. B. K. (n.d.). Barley grass Juice (hordeum vulgare L.) Inhibits obesity and IMPROVES lipid profile in high Fat Diet-induced rat model. Journal of ethnopharmacology. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30951844/.