What Is Barley?
In recent years, wheatgrass has been a growing trend among those who are health-conscious and interested in alternatives to medical treatment. Known as a superfood, wheatgrass energizes, improves mental focus and helps stabilize the metabolism.
It has many benefits that are quite well known even among those who are new to holistic and nutritional health alternatives to the common diet.
However, as more and more awareness grows around gluten intolerance, it has become evident that many people who cannot tolerate gluten, or wheat more specifically, have trouble with wheatgrass and cannot use it regularly, or in some cases not at all.
Alternatives to wheat grass
Fortunately, there are some alternatives to wheatgrass, and in some cases these alternative superfoods can offer even more than what wheatgrass can offer in terms of health benefits, convenience and accessibility.
One of these superfood alternatives that is less well known, but proving to have many health benefits is barley grass.
History of Barley
Barley originates from Ethiopia and South East Asia where it was grown 10 000 years ago. Barley was for human and animal consumption, as well as for produce of alcoholic beverages. The first recipe for barley wine originates from Babylon, 2800 years before Christ.
Also barley water is used in the medical purposes.In the time of ancient Greece barley was the main ingredient in the preparation of bread, as well as a very important food in the diet of athletes as a source of energy.
The Roman athletes also appreciated barley very much and use it in the diet, as well as gladiators that were called hordearii, which means “those who eat barley.”
Barley was especially appreciated in ancient China, as a symbol of male maturity.
In the Middle Ages, when the wheat was very expensive, many Europeans were preparing bread from barley and rye. In the 16th century the Spaniards brought barley in South America, while the English and Dutch contributed to the transfer of barley in North America.
Barley grass has the true wealth of useful nutrients
Like all green plants (green color is due to the high content of chlorophyll), barley has a lot of substances that act primarily as body detox.
Young barley plants contain more vitamin B1 and calcium than milk.
Barley have seven times amount of carotene and five times more iron than spinach, while the amount of vitamin C in them is almost seven times more than in oranges.
Barley nutrition facts
Barley grass powder nutritional information
100g of barley grass powder has 80 micrograms of vitamin B12 whose lack lately is the problem for a growing number of people.One teaspoon of barley grass powder contain vitamins A, B2, B6, E and K, and over 50 minerals: calcium, chromium, sodium, iodine, iron, copper, magnesium , manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, sulfur…
Amino acids are very important in the body and many are found in barley grass: alanine, arginine, cystine, histidine, glycine, phenylalanine, serine, tryptophan and tyrosine…
In barley grass we can also find all the important amino acids that our body is not able to independently produce. Amino acids besides their main function, which is construction of proteins, also play a role in the synthesis of many other non-protein molecules, such as neurotransmitters in the nervous system.
The top benefits of barley grass
The active ingredient in barley grass is a substance known as P4D1, which is a very strong anti-inflammatory.
Biologist Yasno Hotta of the University of California identified an enzyme called P4D1 in barley, which has a strong action on human DNA. PD41 suppresses and cures cell death and delays aging as well as curing pancreatitis, stomatitis (inflammation of the oral cavity), dermatitis, lacerations of the stomach and duodenum.
The primary benefit of barley grass is its antioxidant properties. Antioxidants have been known to boost the immune system and prevent cancer, or in cases where individuals are already affected by cancer, can improve prognosis, reduce tumour size and even contribute to better long term health outcomes and remission for cancer patients.
Barley grass is also excellent for lowering blood sugar and can be taken by diabetics to help regular blood sugar and production of insulin.
We have to mention beta-glucan, an amazing molecule, in its chemical composition is one of the polysaccharides.
Many studies in the 1940s have shown that beta-glucan lowers bad cholesterol in the blood and strengthens the immune system. It also has anti-oxidative properties and destroy free radicals in the body.
In efficient use of all these nutrients help many enzymes that contain barley grass.
Procedure of barley drying at a temperature below 40 ° C and the processing of the powders using a secure mechanical process is responsible for maintaining the nutritional value of barley grass powder.
Barley grass is useful in:
- Detoxification, the recommended daily dose is 1 teaspoon a day, preferably mixed with juice or water
- Improves digestion by increasing hydrochloric acid HCl secretion in the stomach
- Treatment of anemia using the contained minerals
Barley helps to treat the:
- many skin diseases
- obesity and other diseases…
Growing Your Own Barley Grass?
There are many ways to consume barley grass that are available on the market. Because it is less well-known as a superfood, barley grass is not widely available at juicing or smoothie bars as wheat grass can be found.
There are however many products available in common natural food stores, such as powders, juice and mixed health drinks, gel capsules, supplement form and even concentrated liquid shots, as well as its frozen form that can be added into smoothies or unfrozen and drank at home.
For avid consumers of barley grass it is also possible to grow it yourself. This technique, known as sprouting, can be done at home and offer a steady supply of fresh barley grass for regular consumption by juicing it, adding it to foods, or even freezing it at home.
There are many ways to sprout barley grass, such as sprouting in a jar, a sprouter, or in a sprouting bag, among the most common methods.
They can also be planted in the soil, although this method is a bit more involved and requires either plant pots or access to gardening land, and is therefore less common, especially in urban centres where land is scarce.
Appropriate Use of Barley Grass
Of course, using barley grass is an important addition to a healthy diet, and is not license to eat poorly. One must lead a healthy lifestyle overall, exercise appropriately and continue to make good food choices.
Consuming barley grass regularly should be discussed with a physician or trusted health professional before regular use, especially in the case of chronic, complex or ongoing health conditions, to ensure that it is compatible with any treatment plan or health considerations.
Researches and references
SBehall, K. M., Scholfield, D. J., and Hallfrisch, J. Whole-grain diets reduce blood pressure in mildly hypercholesterolemic men and women. J Am Diet.Assoc 2006;106(9):1445-1449.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database: “Barley.”
Kim, S. Journal of Korean Medical Science, October 2006.
FDA: “Raw Produce: Selecting and Serving it Safely.”
Ellis, H. J., Doyle, A. P., Day, P., Wieser, H., and Ciclitira, P. J. Demonstration of the presence of coeliac-activating gliadin-like epitopes in malted barley. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 1994;104(3):308-310.