Can Humans Eat Grass? Everything You Need to Know

Grass is a plentiful resource. There’s so much grass that it would be great if humans could eat it! But can humans eat grass? Unfortunately, we humans can’t digest grass the way cows can.

Eating grass can make you sick and damage your teeth. Even in an emergency, don’t try to eat grass! There are plenty of other edible plants out there that are safe for humans to consume.

Is Grass Edible? Can Humans Eat Grass?

Technically grass is edible and non-toxic. People who have eaten grass say that it tastes like dirt and has a textural similarity to leafy greens.

However, “edible” and “non-toxic” aren’t the only boxes you need to check to confirm if you can eat something or not. Read on to find out why.

Digestion Problems From Humans Eating Grass

Human Digestive System

Human beings do not have the right kind of stomach to break down the cellulose in grass, unlike cows and similar species. The human digestive system simply cannot.

Cows and other grazing animals have a specialized stomach that breaks down cellulose via a process called rumination. It all comes down to the different digestive systems.

Grass Can Make You Sick

So, if you ate grass, you would not be able to digest it properly, and it’s like that you would feel sick. You could get experience diarrhea, vomiting, and subsequent dehydration from trying to digest grass.

Lack of Nutritional Value in Grass

Because humans can’t properly digest grass, they can’t properly uptake nutrients from the grass.

However, even if human stomachs could process cellulose in their stomachs and properly digest grass, it still does not offer much nutrition.

Imagine eating iceberg lettuce. It has a small amount of nutritional value, but not much.

Grass Wears Down Human Teeth

Grass is full of silica, which is very abrasive and would wear down your teeth. Human teeth simply aren’t evolved to eat grass.

Grazing animals who eat grass have teeth that continually grow, which is why they can eat grass without causing serious dental damage.

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Can You Eat Grass If You Cook It?

You may be wondering, what if I don’t try the grass eaten raw? What if I try to cook it? Unfortunately, no, cooking grass does not make it safe to eat.

Even if you cook grass, it will not break down the cellulose in such a way that allows humans to digest it safely and properly.

There is no way that you can prepare grass that makes it safe to eat.

Will I Die If I Eat Grass?

If you are a generally healthy person, eating grass will not kill you.

However, it’s important to think about what bacteria, pesticides, animal feces, or other harmful substances could be on the grass you ate.

While a little grass won’t kill you, certain bacteria could make you quite sick.

Even In An Emergency, Not A Good Idea to Eat Grass

Even in an emergency survival situation, when you may be desperate for food, it’s still not a good idea to eat grass.

Because you would get essentially no nutrition from the grass, it would not help survive or save you, providing no necessary nutrients.

Risk of Dehydration

Plus, if you decide to eat grass, the potential resulting diarrhea or vomiting could dehydrate you dangerously, making an emergency situation even worse.

Are There Any Edible Grass Species?

Yes! There are a few grass species that humans can eat without causing any harm.

Wheat grass is an example of an edible grass species. It is high in nutritional value and does not contain the harmful abrasives that other grasses do.

A couple of other examples of edible grasses include alfalfa grass and barley grass. Local grass species vary wildly based on location.

If you are interested in finding edible grasses or other plants in your area, contact your local university’s extension office or a foraging guide for more info.

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