Barley is an ingredient that has a lot of uses, from beer production to making some varieties of bread. In most cases, the leading role is played by the grain. However, this plant goes far beyond the most common uses, as it is also a nutritious vegetable.
Barley grass, sometimes called green barley, comes from young barley plants that have not started to produce seeds. During this stage of the plant’s life, it is packed with nutrients to help grow larger leaves and seeds.
The nutritional values are very interesting. One hundred grams contains about 350 calories, 2.3 grams of fat, 12 milligrams of sodium, 452 milligrams of potassium, 73 grams of carbohydrates, 17 grams of fiber, 0.8 grams of sugar and 12 grams of protein.. Those same 100 grams provide us with 3% calcium, 19% iron, 15% vitamin B-6 and 33% magnesium.
With these characteristics, it is not surprising that its consumption can have beneficial repercussions on our body.
Blood sugar in check
Some studies agree in their conclusions that barley grass could help us maintain healthy blood sugar levels. The main cause of this effect is its insoluble fiber content, a type of fiber that does not dissolve in water.
It is believed that increasing fiber intake could lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity, making it easier for your body to use this molecule to break down and assimilate sugars effectively.
A strong heart
Barley grass is a good ally in the battle to maintain heart health. According to a study in people with diabetes, the intake of 15 grams of barley leaf extract for 4 weeks helps reduce the oxidation of LDL cholesterol (that is, the bad guy), which is a risk factor for heart disease.
In another study, this time in animals, it was found that barley leaf essence reduced total cholesterol and triglyceride levels, compared to a control group.
Furthermore, it is known that barley grass also contains compounds like saponarin, gamma-aminobutyric acid, and tryptophan. All of these have been linked to lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and improving heart health.
A suitable weight
Barley grass is low in calories, but also very rich in fiber. This makes it an excellent complement for those who aim to lose those extra pounds.
After ingestion, fiber moves through the body very slowly, which maintains the feeling of being satiated for longer. In fact, several studies have found that increasing your fiber intake can boost weight loss.
For example, a study with 252 women associated their consumption with weight loss. Similarly, another 6-month study in 345 overweight or obese adults showed that those who consumed more fiber lost more weight and found it easier to follow the prescribed diet.
The high fiber content is precisely the reason why green barley is a very good digestive. On the one hand, insoluble fiber feeds the intestinal flora, helping to digest food efficiently and keeping the intestines healthy.
On the other hand, soluble dietary fiber helps the stomach absorb sugar more slowly, preventing blood sugar and cholesterol levels from rising.
The Barley grass is rich in vitamins A and C, which act as antioxidants. These vitamins help fight free radicals that can harm your body. By acting, they remove them from the body and reduce the risk of certain problems ranging from decreased skin elasticity to breast and colon cancer.
And how can we take it?
Barley grass is typically consumed liquid, in juice form, because its texture can be unpleasant to eat. It is easy to find extract from barley grass in powder form, although there are those who prefer to grow it, as it is quite easy. Barley juice can be drunk on its own, but it can also be added to other liquids such as juices or smoothies.