Wheatgrass vs. Barley Grass

When you hear about “green” drinks, more than likely wheatgrass, barley grass, or both are included in the green concoction. Nutritionally, they both pack a big punch for only a small portion size.

These grasses are recognized by their bright emerald green color, which is due to their high chlorophyll content. Chlorophyll is the plant equivalent of the oxygen-carrying red pigment hemoglobin in red blood cells.

The ideal time to pick the grass is when it’s about 12-14 inches high since the nutrient profiles of green cereal plants change quickly as they grow.

I’ve been wondering what the difference is between wheatgrass and barley grass, and it turns out there isn’t much, nutritionally speaking, but here are some standout benefits of each.


  • Wheatgrass is rich in P4D1, a “gluco-protein” that acts like an antioxidant, reducing inflammation.
  • Some claim they like the taste of wheatgrass better than barley grass, stating barley grass has a bitterer flavor. 

Barley Grass

  • Barley grass is packed with the antioxidants vitamin E, beta-carotene, and a critical enzyme superoxide dismutase, which helps neutralize the effects of oxygen free radicals produced during energy metabolism.
  • Antioxidants in barley grass acts as free radical scavengers that support a normal, healthy inflammatory response.
  • Barley grass is also said to contain an exceptionally high amount of “organic sodium” and is known for enhancing joint health more effectively than wheat grass juice.
  • Some claim barley grass is easier on the digestive system than wheat grass.
  • You can find young wheat and barley grasses dried and powdered to make dietary supplements, or picked fresh to process in juicing machines.

Looks like you can't go wrong with either grass!

In Health and Happiness,

Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods

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