As a superfood, barley grass is said to have many health benefits. The young seedlings are said to lower cholesterol and blood sugar, rejuvenate cells, are good for the muscles and are an ideal source of nutrients.
In this article we will explain to you what is behind this miracle plant and whether it is actually that healthy. We address the most important questions about barley grass and explain the advantages and disadvantages behind the hype.
the essentials in brief
- Barley grass is a type of grain and belongs to the sweet grass family. The plant is harvested as a seedling and contains many carbohydrates. In addition, barley grass is rich in fiber and contains many minerals.
- There are various products made from barley grass. Barley grass can be eaten dried as a powder, pressed as a juice, or in capsules. However, a lot of dietary fiber is lost during pressing. The same applies to the processing of barley grass powder.
- Due to its many nutrients and minerals, barley grass is said to have a healthy effect. However, there are no scientific studies to confirm this. So far, little research has been done on the plant.
Barley grass effect: What you should know
What is barley grass?
Barley grass was already 15,000 BC. used. The first evidence of the cereal plant comes from the Near East and the Eastern Balkans. Barley was a staple food in many areas for several thousand years and was eaten as porridge or as a soup.
Barley grass are the young shoots of a barley plant that emerge after germination. Because of its high nutrient density, barley grass is often used as animal feed. If you have a cat as a pet, barley grass is also known as “cat grass”.
Barley grass are young shoots of barley that develop after germination.
What are the health effects of barley grass?
Barley grass is said to have a particularly positive effect on health due to its many ingredients. There are not yet any large studies on the effects of barley grass, but various effects of the superfood have already been examined.
The following information about the effect of barley grass was found in scientific studies:
- Barley grass can lower cholesterol levels. In one study, volunteers consumed barley grass and vitamins C and E on a daily basis. After just four weeks, the people's cholesterol levels improved (1).
- Another study examined the effect of barley grass on blood sugar levels. It has been shown that taking barley grass can lower blood sugar levels in diabetics (2).
- Researchers have been able to slow down the formation of skin cancer and breast cancer in the laboratory. The substance lunasin contained in barley grass was examined. The researchers suspect that lunasin has an anti-cancer effect. However, there are still no scientific studies on this assumption (3).
- In a study from Japan, the anti-inflammatory effect on intestinal diseases was demonstrated. At the same time, barley grass helps to improve the intestinal flora and is a home remedy for diarrhea (4).
When should you take barley grass?
Barley grass is a great addition to breakfast. Barley grass tastes best in muesli, yoghurt, as a smoothie or in fruit juice. Due to its many nutrients, barley grass is ideal for starting the day with a lot of energy.
Dietary supplements are not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet.
Barley grass (4) helps with stomach or intestinal problems because it has a very calming effect. Here it is recommended to drink barley grass as a tea in the evening. In principle, barley grass can always be consumed. However, it should be consumed in conjunction with other foods and foods as a pure barley grass diet is not healthy either.
What side effects does barley grass have?
Basically, barley grass is well tolerated. However, there have been reports of nausea and digestive problems if the dosage is too high. This may be due to the long plant fibers, which are difficult to digest. We therefore recommend starting with a small dosage when you first take it in order to test your tolerance.
Barley grass products can contain Salmonella, which can get onto the plant from fertilizer. As a powder, barley grass is also susceptible to bacteria, so it is best stored in the refrigerator, in a dry and cool environment. Grasses are also easily susceptible to pesticides, even organically grown barley grasses can contain traces of pesticides and other pollutants. If you want to be on the safe side, it is best to grow barley grass yourself in the garden or on the balcony.
Barley grass is an excellent ingredient for smoothies. There are numerous recipes for different tastes on the internet. (Image Source: Jordana - Radiantly Nourished Blog / Unsplash)
Sick, elderly or pregnant people with a weakened immune system should possibly take the plant with the advice of a doctor and not exceed the daily recommended amount. In case of allergic reactions you should consult your doctor.
Barley grass may contain pesticides. So always use organically grown barley.
How should you take barley grass?
Barley grass can be taken in a variety of forms. In addition to powder, capsules and tablets, barley grass is also available as a tea. The amount of barley grass varies depending on the product. Some tablets and capsules also contain other plant substances.
Therefore, pay attention to the ingredients, many products are stretched. In order to guarantee the quality of the product, it is advisable to use barley from organic farming.
Barley Grass Powder
As a powder, barley grass can be used in many ways. Mix 2 to 3 teaspoons with water to enjoy as a brew. The powder is suitable for adding to muesli, smoothies or yoghurts. Barley grass powder is made from dried barley, which is gently ground. This process is a common method because barley grass spoils very quickly after being harvested.
However, when it comes to powdered barley grass, only a relatively small amount is consumed. As a result, only a small proportion of nutrients can be absorbed, which is why health benefits are lost. In terms of price, barley grass in powder form is usually cheaper than in capsules. 500 grams of barley grass in powder form costs just under €13.
Barley Grass Tablets and Capsules
Barley grass is particularly easy to dose as tablets and capsules. In addition, this form of barley is tasteless, which is why we recommend this variant to anyone who does not like the superfood.
In order to be able to press barley grass into capsules or tablets, it is dried beforehand. Valuable ingredients can be lost during drying. (Image Source: Patrick Humm / Unsplash)
However, make sure you use the right dosage. The recommended dose of barley grass for an adult human is three to six grams. To consume this amount daily, one should take 6 to 8 capsules, which makes ingestion troublesome. Danger! Many manufacturers offer barley grass in capsule form very expensive! 120 grams of barley grass cost up to €22 as capsules.
Fresh barley grass
Fresh barley grass is considered the healthiest way to consume barley grass. Barley grass can also be grown in the garden itself. Barley grass germs sprout after just a few days. The sprouts can be used in salads, soups and smoothies.
As a juice, fresh barley grass tastes slightly sweet and contains many nutrients. In contrast to powder, these are not reduced. However, barley grass is perishable. It is therefore advisable to store barley grass in the freezer. In this way, nutrients are preserved for longer. A major advantage of homegrown barley grass is the low cost.
To grow barley grass, all you need is barley germ and a bowl of soil. The first sprouts sprout after three to four days. These are already suitable for consumption. However, we recommend waiting a few more days. When the grasses have reached a length of almost 10 cm, they are ready for harvest.
Does Barley Grass Help You Lose Weight?
Barley grass has a particularly high proportion of carbohydrates. As a result, the superfood is not suitable for losing weight quickly. However, the carbohydrates in barley grass are of particularly high quality, which keeps you full for a long time after consumption.
However, barley grass can be integrated into many healthy weight loss diets because it helps to keep you full for longer. Since barley grass contains just under 300 kcal per 100 grams, it should be consumed in smaller amounts.
Barley grass is not suitable for losing weight because it contains many long-chain carbohydrates. However, its micronutrients improve well-being. (Image Source: Christopher Campbell / Unsplash)
In addition, barley grass helps to regulate the acid-base balance. A balanced acid-base balance is important and helps with weight loss (5). Especially in the West, many people suffer from hyperacidity due to an unbalanced diet. Barley grass is an alkaline food and can supposedly regulate the acid-base balance. However, this effect has not yet been confirmed by any scientific study.
What are the active ingredients of barley grass?
Barley grass has a particularly large number of active ingredients. In the following table you can see the effect of the respective substance.
|iron||Is required for the transport of oxygen in the blood, which has a positive effect on the immune system, regeneration and growth. 10 g of barley contain 4 mg of iron, which covers half of the daily requirement.|
|beta-carotene||Affects the regeneration of nerve cells and has a positive effect on metabolism (6).|
|vitamin k||Has a positive effect on the blood coagulation process. Studies suggest that vitamin K helps prevent atherosclerosis (7).|
|potassium||Helps to regulate the water balance of the cells. Has a positive effect on nerve cells and muscle contraction.|
|calcium||Strengthens bone growth and teeth. Needed for metabolism and muscle growth.|
|zinc||Zinc is essential for the immune system and metabolism . In addition, it helps cell growth and the construction of genetic material.|
The components of barley grass are illustrated in the table below. These may vary depending on environmental conditions and type of cultivation.
|components||Amount per 100g|
What alternatives are there to barley grass?
If you don't like the green superfood, you can fall back on numerous alternatives. Barley grass is not the only plant that contains chlorophyll, minerals and vitamins. The following plants are at least as healthy.
- Broccoli : Similar to barley grass, broccoli is high in potassium, calcium, zinc, and iron. In contrast to barley grass, broccoli tastes much better and can be used in many recipes.
- Kale : This winter vegetable is high in fiber and widely available. Due to a very low fat content, kale is suitable for diets to reduce body weight.
- Chard : This vegetable is related to the beet. In addition to many minerals, Swiss chard also contains a lot of vitamin C and vitamin B.
In addition to a healthy diet, there are other alternatives for a healthier lifestyle.
- Sport : In addition to a healthy diet, sport is at least as important. Numerous studies show that sport improves the quality of life (8).
- Stress Reduction : The effects of stress can be devastating on the human body and mind. Studies confirm that stress can cause cardiovascular disease (9).
Barley grass is becoming more and more popular. The food is said to have many health benefits. However, there are currently few scientific studies on barley grass. Nevertheless, barley grass is rich in minerals and fiber. However, these can be lost during processing into powder or capsules. It is therefore advisable to always consume barley grass fresh.
If you don't like this plant, you can fall back on many alternatives. However, a healthy diet should be complemented with a healthy lifestyle. Sport and exercise help to significantly increase well-being.
- Yu YM, Chang WC, Chang CT, Hsieh CL, Tsai CE. Effects of young barley leaf extract and antioxidant vitamins on LDL oxidation and free radical scavenging activities in type 2 diabetes. diabetes metabolites 2002 Apr;28(2):107-14. PMID: 11976562 Transfer title to Citavi project using this Pubmed ID.
- Venugopal, Shonima & Iyer, Uma. (2010). Management of diabetic dyslipidemia with subatmospheric dehydrated barley grass powder. International Journal of Green Pharmacy. 4. 10.4103/0973-8258.74134.
- Jeong HJ, Lam Y, de Lumen BO. Barley lunasin suppresses ras-induced colony formation and inhibits core histone acetylation in mammalian cells. J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Oct 9;50(21):5903-8. doi: 10.1021/jf0256945 Transfer title to Citavi project based on this DOI. PMID: 12358457 Transfer title to Citavi project using this Pubmed ID.
- Kanauchi O, Suga T, Tochihara M, Hibi T, Naganuma M, Homma T, Asakura H, Nakano H, Takahama K, Fujiyama Y, Andoh A, Shimoyama T, Hida N, Haruma K, Koga H, Mitsuyama K, Sata M , Fukuda M, Kojima A, Bamba T. Treatment of ulcerative colitis by feeding with germinated barley foodstuff: first report of a multicenter open control trial. J Gastroenterol. 2002 Nov;37 Suppl 14:67-72. doi: 10.1007/BF03326417 Transfer title to Citavi project based on this DOI. PMID: 12572869 Transfer title to Citavi project using this Pubmed ID.
- Berkemeyer S. Acid-base balance and weight gain: are there crucial links via protein and organic acids in understanding obesity? Med Hypotheses. 2009 Sep;73(3):347-56. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2008.09.059. Epub 2009 May 1. PMID: 19410381.
- Bioavailability and Metabolism of Beta-Carotene and Selected Vitamin E Compounds, Anne Kathrin Kleine, 2007
- Effect of vitamin K2 (MK7) on cardiovascular and bone disease in dialysis patients: A prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study
- Miko HC, Zillmann N, Ring-Dimitriou S, Dorner TE, Titze S, Bauer R. Effects of physical activity on health. healthcare. 2020;82(S03):S184-S195. doi:10.1055/a-1217-0549 Transfer title to Citavi project based on this DOI
- Wilson MA, Liberzon I, Lindsey ML, et al. Common pathways and communication between the brain and heart: connecting post-traumatic stress disorder and heart failure. Stress. 2019;22(5):530-547. doi:10.1080/10253890.2019.1621283 Transfer title to Citavi project based on this DOI