Barley grass is a popular ingredient in juice shops and health stores and sometimes used alongside other greens such as kale , spinach and wheat grass.
This article looks at the advantages, uses and possible side effects of barley grass.
What is Barley Grass ?
Barley is a type of grain that is considered the fourth most important worldwide cereal crop.
Barley grass is also known as barley leaves and barley greens, and is the barley plant cover. It has been widely researched for its positive effects on well being, and is also used in green juices and supplements.
While it can be difficult to find fresh barley grass, it is available in many forms these days including powders, juices, tablets and gummies.
For green blends it is also mixed with other ingredients including kale, spirulina and wheat grass.
Barley grass is rich in a variety of basic nutrients.
In fact, dried barley grass is a great source of fiber, boasting almost 3 grams per spoonful (10 grams). In addition, each barley grass serving contains a good amount of vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin which regulates immune function, cell growth and vision.
Barley Grass also has a high vitamin C content which plays a central role in everything from skin health to wound healing to oral health.
It also provides vitamin K, an important micronutrient necessary for blood coagulation, bone formation, heart health and much much more. Basically, this super food is full of all the nutrients needed for a healthy lifestyle.
It is rich in polyphenols and flavonoids, only. Such compounds serve as antioxidants for oxidative stress reduction.
The Safety Benefits
Barley grass has had many possible health benefits associated with it.
- Can Equilibrate Blood Sugar
Several research indicates that barley grass will help you keep your blood sugar levels stable.
This can be due to its insoluble fiber material, a form of fiber not dissolving in water. Increasing your fiber intake is believed to reduce blood sugar levels and enhance insulin sensitivity, making it easier for your body to use insulin effectively and efficiently.
Nevertheless, studies are strictly limited on the effects of barley grass, and many are obsolete. More work is required to determine how your blood sugar levels may be affected by this plant consumption.
- May Improve Heart Health
Adding barley grass to your diet is a perfect way to help you improve your heart health.
Taking 15 grams of barley leaf extract for 4 weeks decreased the oxidation of LDL ( bad) cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease, according to one older study in 36 people with diabetes.
Barley grass also produces compounds such as saponarin, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and tryptophan, all related to lower blood pressure, reduced inflammation and better heart health.
Most work available is obsolete, however, and some studies have turned out to be contradictory. In addition, several studies have used concentrated barley grass powder extracts which may not produce the same results as adding barley grass to your diet (12Trusted Source).
Hence, more high-quality studies should be carried out to investigate better how consuming barley grass can affect heart healing in humans.
- May Promote Weight Loss
Barley grass is low in calories but high in fiber which makes it a perfect addition to a balanced diet for weight loss.
Fiber travels slowly through your body, leaving you feeling fuller to relieve cravings and rising hunger for longer. Yes, multiple studies have found that increasing your fiber intake will improve weight loss
For example , one study in 252 women correlated each gram of fiber ingested daily with a weight loss of 0.5 pounds (0.25 kg) and 0.25% less body fat over 20 months.
Likewise, a 6-month study of overweight or obesity in 345 adults showed that those who eat more fiber lost more weight and found it easier to adhere to their prescribed diet.
While barley grass is generally safe for most people to eat, there are a couple of side effects and precautions you may want to follow.
First, the Food and Drug Administration ( FDA) does not control the health or effectiveness of supplements made from barley grass in the same way it regulates drugs.
Be sure to purchase from a reputable store when buying supplements and look for items that have undergone third party testing and are free of fillers, chemicals and artificial ingredients.
Notice further that some barley grass products that contain high amounts of micronutrients such as vitamin K or potassium.
So, if you are taking medication or have any underlying health conditions, talk to a health care provider before using supplements from barley grass.
Finally, when buying barley grass goods, those with celiac disease or a sensitivity to gluten should exercise caution. While gluten is present only in the barley grain seeds, there is a possibility of cross-contamination.
The Bottom Line
Barley grass is a common ingredient often found in powders such as juices, supplements and greens.
It is rich in many nutrients and may encourage weight loss, enhance heart health and support better control of blood sugar, although further human trials are required to validate those benefits.
Barley grass powder is readily available, and works well in various recipes, including shakes, juices and smoothies. So if you want a healthier lifestyle, weight loss and overall general well being why not include barley grass in your everyday diet?