Barley grass is rich in amino acids, chlorophyll, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. It helps control blood sugar and fight constipation. It also eases symptoms of fibromyalgia, strengthens your immune system, and even helps fight depression and cancer. Barley grass may also be a great ally to manage your weight.
If you’re keen to tap into the healing powers of green superfoods, barley grass is just what you need. While it may not have been in the limelight as much as the more well-known wheatgrass or even barley grains, barley grass also has lots to offer. Here’s why this rich cocktail of chlorophyll, amino acids, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins should feature in your diet.
1. Contains Protective Antioxidants
Barley grass is rich in antioxidants. A flavonoid known as saponarin in barley leaves, in particular, exhibits strong antioxidant activities.2 So how does this benefit you? Antioxidants can counter the damaging effects of free radicals which are produced by your body naturally in the course of converting food into energy. They are also present in environmental toxins, processed foods, and alcohol. In essence, your body is bearing the brunt of free radicals every day. They can have a harmful effect on your cells and DNA and may play a part in aging as well as a range of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Antioxidant-rich barley grass can counter the effect of these to an extent, keeping illnesses in check.
2. Helps Tackle Depression
While depression is a medical condition that requires professional help, barley grass may also help. According to an animal study, young green barley leaves produces a significant antidepressant-like effect. Barley grass may work by reducing levels of the neurotrophin known as NGF in your brain that is implicated in depression.
3. Helps Control Blood Sugar
It is estimated that around 30.3 million Americans suffer from diabetes. Over a period of time, high blood sugar levels can lead to a range of health problems such as heart disease, kidney disease, eye problems, and nerve damage. But barley grass may be just what you need if you are finding it tough to keep your blood sugar levels under control. Studies have found that barley can help reduce fasting blood sugar levels and also suppress a spike in your blood sugar levels after meals. Proanthocyanidins and insoluble fibers present in barley grass may play a part in its protective role against diabetes.
4. Fights Constipation
Troubled by constipation? Barley grass to the rescue again! Studies have found that the insoluble fiber present in it can bulk up stool and help food pass through the digestive system more speedily. So the next time you face tummy trouble, try a little barley grass powder or juice up some barley grass for relief.
5. Strengthens The Immune System
Our bodies are constantly bombarded by disease-causing germs from the environment. But a strong immune system helps us to resist these germs and stay healthy. Barley grass can strengthen your immune system by increasing the production of antibodies such as IgG which protects against viral and bacterial infections. Though the exact mechanism through which barley grass works is not yet clear, researchers suggest that water-soluble dietary fibers and flavonoids present in barley grass may play a role in these beneficial effects.
6. Helps Manage Weight
Have a shot of barley grass juice to enjoy its benefits. If juicing seems bothersome, it’s also available as dehydrated powder, tablets, and capsules. Your doctor can advise you on an adequate dosage of these.
Excess body weight can up your risk for serious conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and even certain kinds of cancer. And while a healthy diet and regular exercise are critical for successfully losing weight, barley grass can lend a helping hand too. One study found that when rats were fed barley grass powder for a period of three weeks, it suppressed weight gain significantly as compared to the control group which had the same diet. Make barley grass a part of your weight-loss program and watch those pounds melt away.
7. Eases Symptoms Of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia can leave you battling chronic pain, disturbed sleep, and fatigue on a regular basis. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for this condition, but medication, lifestyle changes, and diet can help ease its symptoms. One study found that people with fibromyalgia who had a mostly raw vegetarian diet which included a dehydrated barley grass juice product as well as salads, raw fruits, carrot juice, nuts, seeds, grains, and tubers experienced a significant improvement in their symptoms. Incorporate barley grass also in your diet if you are grappling with this condition.
8. Helps Fight Cancer
Barley grass is usually not associated with any adverse effects but start with a small quantity to see how your body responds to it. Its high content of vitamin K can interfere with the action of certain blood thinners. So consult a professional before having barley grass if you’re on blood thinning medication.
Barley grass may also have the potential to fight cancer. Research shows that barley grass extracts can cause cell death and inhibit the growth of prostate and breast cancer cells. While the exact mechanism is not yet established, barley grass is thought to help by inhibiting tumor growth.