Barley grass combines a combination of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. No other food has this wealth of vital substances.
Barley grass – top when it comes to the richness in vital substances
Like many other grains, barley (Hordeum vulgare) belongs to the sweet grass family. If you plant the barley grain in the ground, a long green stalk grows out of it in no time at all – the barley grass. As simple and modest as the plant may appear, appearances are deceptive.
Barley grass combines such a unique combination of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants that there is hardly a food that can even come close to matching it.
Barley grass – the balance of vital substances
The Japanese scientist Dr. Yoshihide Hagiwara examined and compared over 200 green leafy vegetables many decades ago.
He found that barley grass contained more minerals, more trace elements, more vitamins, more chlorophyll, more bioflavonoids, and more enzymes than all other analyzed green plants.
For example, compared to conventional foods, in Hagiwara’s study, barley grass provided:
- 11 times as much calcium as cow’s milk
- 5 times as much iron as spinach and broccoli
- 4 times as much vitamin B1 as whole grain (wheat)
- 7 times as much vitamin C as oranges and
- just as much zinc as the richest zinc sources of animal origin
Not only the quantity of the ingredients fascinated Hagiwara at the time, but also their balance.
He said he found the most balanced concentration of nutrients in the leaves of the young barley plant of any plant studied to date.
At the same time, barley grass is one of the most alkaline foods available to us.
Barley grass for skin with elasticity
Barley grass also contains a highly active compound called proanthocyanidin. This is a secondary plant substance that works for our health at the cell level, i.e. it intervenes exactly where every disease has its origin: in the cell itself.
Proanthocyanidins are antioxidants that can protect our cells from free radicals and toxins and also support the cells of our immune system.
In this way, barley grass reduces the risk of inflammatory diseases, infections, and also cancer.
Proanthocyanidins are also known to be particularly beneficial to skin and connective tissue in two ways.
On the one hand, proanthocyanidins protect both the skin cells from attacks by free radicals and the fiber proteins that are located between the skin cells and keep the skin taut and elastic.
On the other hand, proanthocyanidins repair the fiber proteins so that the skin can regain its former elasticity.
Since some of the blood vessel walls also consist of fibrous proteins, this substance alone in barley grass is an important aspect of cardiovascular prophylaxis.
Barley grass lowers cholesterol levels
Because barley grass also lowers cholesterol levels, it prevents heart attacks and strokes on several fronts at once.
Scientists from the Department of Nutrition, China Medical College in Taiwan reported that barley grass lowers harmful LDL cholesterol. When LDL cholesterol is in excess, it can clog arteries and lead to heart attacks or strokes.
The researchers gave a group of 36 patients (all of whom had high cholesterol) 15 grams of barley grass extract. They found that after four weeks of treatment, levels of LDL cholesterol had fallen significantly. At the same time, the scientists discovered that the amount of harmful free radicals circulating in the blood had also been significantly reduced.
In addition, one should optimize the vitamin C and vitamin E supply, since the said scientific work had shown that the combination of vitamin C (fruit), vitamin E (nuts, vegetable oils), and barley grass had the best effect on the cholesterol level. But barley grass doesn’t just lower cholesterol. It also inhibits what is actually dangerous about cholesterol, namely its oxidation, as researchers at Fu Jen University in Taipei found out – by up to 36 percent (if you choose olive oil as a cooking oil at the same time as barley grass).
Barley grass for diabetics
Some studies with barley grass have been done with type 2 diabetics. This group of people is particularly well suited for this, as they often have many risk factors at their disposal at the same time. Your cholesterol level is high and of course, your blood sugar level is too. They often suffer from high blood pressure and not infrequently from being overweight.
Since barley grass can have a very positive effect on both blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels, the green drink made from barley grass powder is a highly recommended dietary supplement for diabetics.
Especially with regard to blood sugar reduction, a clinical study was published in the International Journal of Green Pharmacy in 2010 (“Management of diabetic dyslipidemia with subatmospheric dehydrated barley grass powder”).
The subjects in the study (all type 2 diabetics) received 1.2 grams of barley grass powder daily for two months. No further measures were ordered. Compared to the control group, which had to live without barley grass, not only did the blood sugar level of the barley grass group, but also their cholesterol level dropped significantly after the planned two months.
Barley grass juice contains the most powerful antioxidants
An important reason for the highly interesting effect of barley grass juice could be its richness in antioxidants. The rare antioxidants saponarin, lutonarin, and six others from the group of flavone C-glycosides were found in barley grass juice (Identification of flavone C-glycosides including a new flavonoid chromophore from barley leaves (Hordeum vulgare L.) by improved NMR techniques).
The scientists involved in the study from the University of California’s Department of Environmental Toxicology explained that this antioxidant effect of barley grass juice could be used in all diseases associated with oxidative stress.
These include in particular chronic inflammatory diseases, cardiovascular disorders, and some types of cancer.
Sprouted barley inhibits skin cancer
Only recently, scientists from the School of Bioresources, at the University of Andong in Korea, succeeded in finding another clue to the latter point, namely that barley is anti-cancer.
An extremely effective plant substance was isolated from the very young barley grass, the barley seedling.
The substance is called lunasin and was not only able to prevent the development of skin cancer in experiments, but it also seemed to be able to block the development of breast cancer cells – which we will discuss in more detail in the next paragraph.
Barley grass has other protective mechanisms in store, especially for the skin. For example, in addition to the beneficial proanthocyanidins mentioned above, it also contains the so-called glycosyl isovitexin.
This is a special antioxidant that can penetrate into the cell nucleus and protect the genetic material there from free radicals.
Glycosyl Isovetixin also retains its protective effect when exposed to sunlight, while vitamin E breaks down quickly here, so barley grass – also due to its high beta-carotene content – can be an extremely helpful remedy if you want to prepare the skin for summer UV radiation (ideally together with astaxanthin).
Sprouted barley blocks breast cancer cells
The Korean scientists from Andong University mentioned above also discovered that barley grass not only contains a little bit of lunasin but an extraordinary amount of it. That should also be the reason why barley grass could not only show positive results in skin cancer but also in prostate and breast cancer.
In the case of prostate cancer, so far there are only testimonials from patients who have been able to cure themselves of their disease with the help of a drastic change in their lifestyle and the consumption of barley grass drinks.
The beneficial effect on breast cancer, on the other hand, has been observed in laboratory tests. It was shown that breast cancer cells no longer grew in the presence of lunasin from sprouted barley. Further investigations will of course still be necessary for relation to the anti-cancer effect of barley grass in humans.
The study situation regarding the effects of barley grass on intestinal health, on the other hand, looks much better:
Sprouted barley in ulcerative colitis
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that is associated with severe abdominal pain, flatulence, intestinal bleeding, attacks of diarrhea (sometimes leading to fecal incontinence),
and, as a result, an inadequate supply of vital substances and nutrients. Colon cancer can occasionally be observed as a possible late consequence.
Conventional medical treatment of ulcerative colitis usually has relatively many side effects, so every opportunity should be taken to alleviate the symptoms in a more tolerable way.
In a study by the Nutrient Food and Feed Division, Tokyo, scientists examined 18 patients with ulcerative colitis. For four weeks, half of the subjects received their usual anti-inflammatory medication, while the other half received 30 grams of a sprouted barley supplement daily.
At the end of the study, the barley group reported significant improvements in their symptoms. Compared to the medication group, they experienced significantly fewer attacks of diarrhea and suffered less pain.
Tests then also revealed that taking the sprouted barley supplement had resulted in higher levels of friendly gut bacteria in the patients’ guts. dr Kanauchi led the study and reports:
Sprouted barley therapy has the potential to reduce the clinical activity of ulcerative colitis. We believe these results will lead to barley grass soon being used as a new adjunctive therapy in ulcerative colitis.
Barley grass helps the gut in six ways
However, the positive effect of sprouted barley or barley grass on the intestines is not limited to activating the intestinal flora. Overall, at least six different mechanisms of action can be observed, which can bring about a long-term recovery of the intestine:
- Ulcerative colitis is associated with a serious disruption of the intestinal flora and a simultaneous accumulation of toxins in the intestine. Barley grass or germinated barley promotes the development of an intestinal bacteria-friendly environment in the digestive system. The intestinal bacteria that are useful for humans multiply again, toxins can be defused, the tendency to inflammation decreases and the symptoms of the disease become weaker.
- Barley grass or germinated barley also reduces the so-called epithelium NF-k, an inflammatory substance that is responsible for the typical chronic inflammatory processes of ulcerative colitis in the intestine.
- Barley grass or sprouted barley regulates the water content of the stool, which makes diarrhea less common.
- Barley grass or germinated barley contains both a special protein and a special dietary fiber (hemicellulose). Both help the intestinal mucosa to repair cells and build new cells. This is the finding of new studies by Japanese scientists from the
- Department of Internal Medicine, Shiga University of Medical Science.
- Barley grass is rich in chlorophyll and therefore gives us all the benefits of chlorophyll. You can find more information about chlorophyll here. However, it is particularly interesting for ulcerative colitis patients that chlorophyll has proven to be very beneficial in the treatment of colon cancer. Since one of the possible long-term effects of ulcerative colitis can be colon cancer, prevention in this regard should certainly not be considered exaggerated.
- Barley grass is the grass of choice for Candida fungal infections. On the one hand, of course, because of its already mentioned effects on intestinal health. On the other hand, also because of its low sugar content, which is lower than that of wheatgrass juice, for example.
At some points, we also mentioned sprouted barley (activated barley). This is barley that has been soaked in water for about two days and then germinated for just a few more days before being dried and milled.
In the case of intestinal problems, the combined intake of activated barley AND barley grass could therefore be discussed and used with a naturopathically oriented therapist.
Of course, wonderful intestinal health alone lifts the spirits immensely. And the sinking cholesterol and blood sugar levels can certainly provide more happiness and confidence. However, barley grass also seems to have a specific antidepressant effect.
Barley grass lifts the mood
Just like antidepressants, barley grass can also have plenty of side effects. However, while antidepressants can irritate the digestive system, disrupt heart rhythms, and cause obesity, barley grass – as you now know – protects the body, especially the digestive system and heart health.
The actual antidepressant mechanism of action of barley grass has not yet been discovered. But it should be different from that of pharmaceutical antidepressants (which would then possibly also explain the lack of negative side effects of barley grass).
Barley grass – grow it yourself
Barley grass is relatively easy to grow yourself. To do this, soak the seeds of barley in water overnight. The next day, spread the swollen seeds (nearly next to each other, but not on top of each other) on the moist soil of a planting tray. Make sure that the soil with the seeds does not dry out.
Soil-free “hydroculture” is also possible. In addition, there are special germination devices for grass cultivation in the health food store or in the organic trade. Hydroponics has the advantage that later – if you want to produce germinated barley, i.e. no barley grass – you can use the entire plant including the roots.
How to incorporate barley grass into your diet
After three days, the barley sprouts (the germinated barley) can be harvested as an accompaniment to salads or vegetable dishes. However, if you want to grow weed, the plantlets are allowed to grow into culms at least 10 cm high (or more) for about 10 to 12 days. In this case, the harvest is not carried out with a lawnmower, but with kitchen shears.
The long stems of barley grass can now be cut into small pieces and added to various dishes (salads, cream cheese, sauces, soups, etc.). But they can also be squeezed with a high-quality juicer and drunk as a powerful, fresh, and green elixir. However, when buying a juicer, make sure that it is explicitly suitable for pressing grass and herbs (such as the Green Star Elite juicer).
The taste of freshly squeezed barley grass is very intense, which is why it can easily be mixed with other juices (see recipe below), blended into green smoothies, or blended into fruit smoothies.
Try the following recipe for a top-notch energy drink:
Barley Grass Energy Drink
2 cups fresh barley grass (alternative: 2 teaspoons barley grass powder)
2 medium-sized beets
2 medium carrots
2 sticks of celery
1 cup parsley
1 large apple or 2 smaller apples
Juice the grass first, then let the veggies and fruits go through the juicer. Drink the juice right away to get the full benefit of all those wonderful enzymes, bioflavonoids, and antioxidants.
If you love variety, you can also integrate other healthy grasses and plants into this juice, e.g. B. spelled grass or wheat grass.
Powdered barley grass
If all this is too complicated for you, you can get barley grass or barley grass juice in powder form. High-quality barley grass and of course barley grass juice powder are produced at low temperatures so that the overwhelming majority of all the wonderful ingredients are also contained in the powdered form of barley grass or barley grass juice.
Barley grass or barley grass juice?
What is the difference between barley grass and barley grass juice? It is clear that one is the whole grass and the other is the juice pressed from it. But what does this mean for health?
The barley grass provides a high fiber content. The dietary fibers specific to barley grass are – in contrast to some dietary fibers from cereals and legumes – particularly well tolerated and have an extremely harmonizing effect on digestive activity.
Due to the high fiber content, the other active ingredients of barley grass are contained in the natural dose – and not in the high concentration that is the case with barley grass juice.
The whole barley grass or the powder from it is therefore ideal for people who not only want to improve their general health but also have to contend with digestive problems such as e.g. B. with chronic diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, flatulence, etc.
The barley grass juice, on the other hand, is almost free of roughage and thus provides the rare antioxidants and vital substances typical of barley grass in higher concentrations.
Barley grass juice is therefore particularly recommended if you want to enjoy the antioxidant effect of barley grass juice, i.e. if you want to improve cell health, protect the blood vessels from deposits, delay aging processes and brighten your mood.
Barley grass juice also provides more magnesium than barley grass and is therefore more suitable for optimizing the magnesium level.
Barley grass: Recommended intake
Barley grass powder can be easily mixed into juices or water. 1 teaspoon of barley grass powder is mixed with a large glass of water or juice.
An additional pinch of real organic vanilla makes your barley grass drink not only healthy but also a sweet and exotic experience.
Barley grass and Twister – The practical combination
If you have a Twister, then preparing such a drink is twice as much fun. The Twister is an incredibly handy small mixer for making shakes, dressings, protein, and grass drinks.
Its battery operation allows the shake to be prepared anywhere in the world – whether in the office, in the woods at a picnic, at the bus stop, on the train, or wherever you feel like a quick, tasty drink.
The Twister also eliminates the need for glasses, as you can drink the freshly prepared shake directly from the Twister shaker.
Enjoy your barley grass drink two to three times a day, preferably before meals or as a revitalizing snack.
Of course, the barley grass powder can also be mixed into salad dressings, dips, spreads, energy ball recipes, and much more. Its aroma is very mild, so a small amount will not change the taste of the dish.