Have you ever followed the keto diet, used CBD oil or purchased a product to help you detox? You were very likely doing the fashionable thing for that time. Health fads come and go, some work well and some don’t.
Whether they make a difference in your life or not, it’s worth a shot as long as you don’t harm yourself. I have something new you might want to try: barley grass.
What’s the big deal about barley grass?
Most of us might be more familiar with barley grain, being a source of malt for the production of beer. Today, however, we are talking about the leaves of the barley plant, better known as barley grass.
Ancient cultures knew the value of these leaves, and it was well-used from as early as 7000 BC. Some of the uses include the treatment of skin, liver, blood and gastrointestinal disorders.
Ancient Asian and Middle Eastern cultures included barley in their diets, and it’s even said that the gladiators ate barley for strength and stamina.
In fact, they ate so much of it that it earned them the nickname hordearii, meaning ‘barley eaters’. This is not because barley really hits the spot, but because it was cheap and easy.
The gladiators were mostly captured enemy soldiers or convicted Roman criminals, and the Romans couldn’t be bothered with fine dining, opting to feed them the cheapest and most abundant food available instead.
Lucky for them, barley is a nutritious option. Fast forward to 1939, when a dehydrated preparation of cereal grass was approved as an ‘accepted food’ by the Council of Foods of the American Medical Association.
Barley grass contains a lot of the good stuff our bodies need. We’re talking vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, folic acid, beta carotene as well as minerals like potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium.
How can barley grass help you?
If you tend to rush through your life (who doesn’t?) and grab meals on the go, you are probably familiar with fluctuating energy levels, mood swings and unwelcome rolls on your hips.
Very few of us are in a position to say no to some extra vitamins and minerals. You can find these in barley grass, and this is how it can help to create a version of you that feels better:
- Some evidence exists that barley grass can help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels, ensuring that you have enough energy to get through the day.
- It has been shown that barley grass can boost your heart health by lowering your cholesterol levels.
It also contains saponarin, GABA and tryptophan, all of which have been linked to reduced blood pressure and inflammation, and better heart health.
- Trying to shed some pounds? Barley grass is a superb source of fibre, while being low in calories.
Foods that are a source of fibre keeps you fuller for longer, preventing those cravings that throw you off the wagon.
- Barley grass has antioxidant properties that protects you from the harmful effects of free radicals.
- Ulcerative colitis patients could potentially benefit from the anti-inflammatory qualities of barley grass.
- Barley grass is sometimes used as a home remedy against addiction. It is a source of glutamic acid, thought to help fight cravings.
Addiction, however, is not something to play with and it’s best to get professional advice, especially if someone’s life is at risk.
- We don’t have the recipe for eternal youth quite yet, but when we do, barley grass might be an ingredient.
Components such as chlorophyll, vitamin B, iron and phycocyanin support the creation of white and red blood cells. This renewing effect helps reduce the signs of aging and maintain healthy, youthful skin.
|Barley grass purifying face mask recipe.|
3 teaspoons of barley grass powder1 teaspoon of purified water1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
Mix everything together in a small pot. Spread the mask all over your face with a soft brush, avoiding your eye area.
Wear the mask for 20 minutes. Using gentle upward strokes, remove the mask with warm water and a face cloth. Note that the mask might leave your face cloth green.
The where and how of barley grass
You can purchase 200g of barley grass powder on takealot.com for R239 (at the time of writing). Usage is indicated at one heaped teaspoon mixed with a glass of water.
If you have green fingers, you could grow your own barley quite easily, and then use it for juicing. The process is as simple as soaking your seeds in water for 24 hours to accelerate germination.
Then, plant them in soil, in a pot, and place the pot in a warm, sunny area. Water daily. They should grow about 20cm within two weeks. Blend 100-200g of grass with half a litre of water.
Filter the juice and dilute it with more water, to taste – about one litre. And that’s how simple it is to create your own super healthy green drink.
From the mouths of barley enthusiasts
The barley grass powder sold on Takealot seems to be a winner among those who already purchased it.
These are some of the (mostly positive) reviews:
“This saved me from my stomach ailments such as IBS and spastic colon. I used to be in so much discomfort but after using this, it changed my life and the overall condition of my stomach.
I can’t see myself living without this. Best product EVER!”
“This product gives me super nutrients and has improved my gut health.”
“Barley grass makes a huge difference in my skin! I drink it with a little bit of lemon juice, because it doesn’t taste great.”
“I put my health first in my life. Barley grass assists me to achieve this.”
“Great product! Safeguards my family all year long.”
|Green-a-colada barley grass smoothie recipe|
Some online reports of those who use barley grass say that it tastes terrible, while others reckon it’s not too bad. This recipe is a sure way to get your barley fix in a yummy way.
1/2 banana – peeled and frozen overnight125g pineapple – frozen from fresh1/3 cup coconut milk 2/3 cup water1 teaspoon organic barley grass powderRefined sugar free sweetener – optional/if requiredFresh pineapple – for garnish
1. Blend all the ingredients in a high speed blender.2. Serve in your favourite cocktail glass and garnish with fresh pineapple.
What are the risks and side effects?
WebMD reports that ingesting barley grass is probably safe for most people. It is a fact of life though that different people respond differently to different things.
Some might experience gas, bloating or feelings of fullness, but this usually passes with continued use.
Some people could also experience an allergic reaction when barley is applied to the skin, with symptoms like skin rash and difficulty breathing.
Be careful with barley if you suffer from celiac disease. While gluten is present mostly in barley seeds, cross contamination can occur.
Another thing to keep in mind is medications you might be using. Taking barley with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to be too low. Play it safe and chat with your doctor first.
As it contains a lot of fiber, barley can decrease how much medicine your body absorbs, making it less effective. Prevent this by taking barley at least an hour after your medication.
|Did you know?|
|Barley grass juice powder contains 20% of your daily recommended vitamin A intake in only three teaspoons.|
Barley is truly versatile. It is used in the production of beer, bread, whiskey and vinegar, as a soup thickener, and as an ingredient in breakfast cereal.
It is used as animal feed and was even used as a replacement for coffee in Italy during both World Wars.
In 14th century England, barley was used as a measuring system – and the first shoe sizing system in which, size 10, for example, equals 10 barleycorns.
It’s little wonder that there was a time when barley was used as currency. Just imagine what this green gold could do for you.