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16 Amazing Health Benefits Of Barley Grass

Barley (Hordeum vulgare) is a popular whole grain that is widely consumed around the world. It is the fourth most important cereal crop after wheat, corn and rice [1]. As much as barley is consumed widely due to its high nutritional value, the young leaves of the barley plant, called barley grass, holds high importance and is popularly emerging as a superfood.

Barley grass, also known as barley leaves and barley greens has been known for its beneficial health-promoting effects and is considered the only vegetation on the earth to supply sole nutritional support from birth to old age [2].

Nutrients In Barley Grass [3]

Barley grass is rich in vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin C, vitamin E, flavonoids, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), superoxide dismutase (SOD), potassium, calcium, selenium, tryptophan, saponarin, lutonarin, chlorophyll, polyphenols, dietary fibre, polysaccharide, alkaloid and metallothioneins.

Barley grass is available in the form of juice, powder, tablets and gummies. Let's read on to know the health benefits of barley grass.

Health Benefits Of Barley Grass

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1. May manage obesity

Studies have shown the anti-obesity effect of barley grass juice due to its high dietary fibre content which can help in managing weight and promoting weight loss. An animal study showed that rats who were fed a high fat diet were given barley grass juice for 60 days, which decreased body mass index (BMI), body weight and improved liver function [4]. However, more research in humans is required to show the effectiveness of barley grass on body weight.

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2. Improves heart health

A study showed that 36 people with type 2 diabetes who were given young barley leaf extract for four weeks lowered the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, which is a major risk factor for heart disease in type 2 diabetic patients [5].

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3. Reduces blood pressure

The presence of essential vitamins, minerals, tryptophan, saponarin, lutonarin, GABA and other important compounds in barley grass has been linked to regulate blood pressure and aid in proper blood flow, thus preventing the risk of heart failure and stroke [6].

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4. Prevents diabetes

Barley contains dietary fibre, which can significantly reduce fasting blood sugar levels. Saponarin, a flavonoid in barley grass also has been shown to control the postprandial blood glucose in diabetes. The intake of 1.2 g of barley grass powder per day can lower fasting blood sugar levels, glycated haemoglobin, lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol levels [7].

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5. Promotes sleep

Barley grass powder with high tryptophan, potassium, calcium and GABA content can aid in promoting good sleep. Daily consumption of barley grass powder can help in improving sleep [8].

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6. Enhances liver health

Saponarin abundantly found in barley grass exhibits liver-protective and antioxidant effects, which protects the liver and prevents the risk of liver damage [9].

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7. Acts as an anti-depressant

The presence of GABA in barley grass has been shown to be effective in lowering the symptoms of depression. In addition, the vitamins and minerals in barley grass can prevent stress-related psychiatric disorders of depression [10].

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8. Boosts immunity

Having a strong immunity can ward off a number of diseases. The presence of vitamin C in young barley leaves has been shown to help regulate the immune system.

Foods To Boost Immunity In Older Adults

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9. Improves gastrointestinal problems

The dietary fibre in young barley leaves can prevent constipation by making the stool soft and easier to pass. Barley leaves have been shown to effectively treat pancreatitis, ulcerative colitis and disorders of the gastrointestinal tract [11], [12].

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10. May manage cancer

Young barley leaves contain phytochemicals that have been shown to have anti-tumour effect on breast cancer cells in animals. Another study showed the anticancer activity of green barley extract on human leukaemia and lymphoma cell lines. However, further research is required to support these findings [13], [14].

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11. Decreases inflammation

The anti-inflammatory properties of barley grass can help reduce inflammation and heal gastrointestinal tract disorders. Barley grass extract has been shown to treat rheumatoid arthritis due to the presence of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties [15].

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12. Lowers gout

Gout occurs when urate crystals start forming in your joint, causing inflammation and pain. The formation of urate crystals occurs when you have increased levels of uric acid in your blood. Barley grass can help decrease uric acid levels in the blood, thereby lowering the symptoms of gout [16].

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13. Reduces fatigue

Feeling extreme tiredness and lack of energy can interfere with your normal daily activities. Barley grass is high in flavonoids, vitamins and minerals that can help reduce fatigue [17].

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14. Improves cognitive function

Cognitive function refers to mental abilities that allow us to perform many tasks, such as memory, learning, thinking, problem-solving and decision-making. The presence of potassium and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in barley grass has been shown to improve cognitive function [18].

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15. Alleviates atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease. Barley leaves can help alleviate atopic dermatitis due to the presence of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and GABA [19].

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16. Enhances skin health

Barley grass is a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that effectively combats the effects of free radical damage on your skin. Barley grass also aids in detoxifying the body from harmful impurities, thereby reducing acne and improving skin health [20].

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Possible Side Effects Of Barley Grass

People who have celiac disease or are sensitive to gluten should avoid consuming barley grass products [21]. Also, the vitamins and minerals in barley grass may interfere with certain medications. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn't tested the safety of barley grass supplements, so it is advisable to talk to your healthcare provider before consuming barley grass.

Fresh barley grass may not be available in supermarkets, but barley grass powder is widely available. It is used to make juice and often combined with other leafy greens such as wheatgrass, spinach and kale to make juices, smoothies and shakes.

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Barley Grass Recipe

Barley grass and basil citrus juice [22]

Ingredients:

  • 6 to 10 oranges
  • 2 calamansi
  • 1 cup of spinach
  • 1tbsp organic barley grass powder
  • 2 to four basil leaves (optional)

Method:

Wash and cut the oranges in half.

• In a citrus juicer, add the oranges and calamansi to extract the juice.

• In a blender, pour the juice and other ingredients and blend it until the mixture is smooth.

• Pour into a glass and enjoy your drink.

Image source:Ebay

Common FAQs

Q. Is barley grass bad?

A. No, barley grass is the young leaf of the barley plant, which is known to possess multiple health benefits and contains various vitamins, minerals, flavonoids and polyphenols.

Q. What is barley grass powder good for?

A. Barley grass powder can help treat constipation, strengthen immunity, increase energy and improve heart health.

Q. Is barley grass anti-inflammatory?

A. Yes, barley grass is anti-inflammatory.