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The Magic of Barley Grass

August 13, 2015

Barley grass is a simple grain, which most of us have in our pantries, yet very few of us know its many health and beauty benefits. Barley grass is the leaf of the barley plant, as opposed to the actual grain.


Barley grass belongs to a family of grasses called cereal grasses. During the first part of the 20th century, the juice of barley grass was discovered to be rich in vitamins and minerals. The light-green leaves of barley plants are usually called barley grass because, well, they are long and narrow like grass.


Barley grass is used as a food source in some parts of Asia, and it is available for food supplementation, as both a juice and a powder that can be added to foods or taken as tablets or capsules.


Barley is nutrient rich and makes a satisfactory meal. It is packed with fiber and essential minerals such as: selenium, copper, tryptophan, and manganese. It gives you energy and keeps you feeling satisfied for a good part of the day. The manganese in barley helps you to feel happy and energetic; it also calms your nervous system.


In fact, young barley grass contains more vitamin B1 and calcium than milk.


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 tumor 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.


Research done on patients with ulcerative colitis showed that those given Barley grass showed significant improvements in their symptoms - including fewer episodes of diarrhea and less pain; compared to the group receiving conventional medication (standard anti-inflammatory medication including steroids).


Barley grass aids with anti-aging. It has one of the highest natural levels of enzyme SOD (superoxide dismutase), which is a powerful antioxidant that protects the cells against toxic free radicals, thought to be a primary culprit in aging, it also improves the body ability to deal with stress.


In Japan, where barley grass extract is popular, there is anecdotal evidence that it helps the body heal from many illnesses. In one informal study, a Japanese dermatologist observed a group of 7.5 patients with skin diseases ranging from melanosis (darkening of the skin) to eczema. The patients who took barley grass extract healed faster than did those who did not. They also noticed improvements in appetite and bowel regularity.


Barley grass is effective against cancer owing to the power of superoxide dismutase enzyme. It has preventive as well as curing reaction against the cancer cells, which also attributes to the presence of other remedial components such as peroxidase protein and catalase enzyme. Catalase enzymes present in barley grass has the ability to decompose and neutralize the effects of toxic hydrogen peroxide which is produced during respiration and help suppress the proliferation of cancer cells.


Studies have showed that barley grass extracts might possibly protect human cells against cancer-causing elements. Research indicates that the chlorophyll content in barley grass interacts with carcinogens and causes them to become inactive. Aside from this, barley grass also has antioxidant properties.


How? You might ask. Superoxide dismutase (as we mentioned above) is a chemical in barley grass and green barley juice, which blocks the harmful effects of free radicals and radiation on your body, thereby reducing the risk of cancer. There are clinical studies that showed individuals who had wheat grass in their diet had lower incidences of cancer.


Furthermore, an experiment at George Washington University, researchers exposed leukemic cancer cells to dehydrated barley grass extract. The extract killed virtually all of them. Encouraged, the researchers then subjected brain cancer cells to the extract. It eradicated 30 to 50 percent of these cells. In a third trial, the extract inhibited the growth of three types of prostate cancer cells by 90 to 100 percent.


Today’s diets can cause the body to become overly acidic. Over consumption of acid foods such as meat, sugars of all kinds, alcohol, and caffeine can push the body into an acid condition. This can lead to a reduction in the absorption and assimilation of many nutrients.


Nutritionists say up to 90% of what people eat today is too acidic. Symptoms of over acidity include fatigue, insomnia, restlessness, and constipation. Barley Grass helps restore proper acid-alkaline balance. The alkaline content of Barley Grass helps maintain the body's pH balance by neutralising acids.


It is especially high in minerals including potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which helps reduce acidity. Buffer minerals neutralise acidic materials and can help maintain a healthy acidity-alkalinity balance. This buffer zone can help keep your body’s pH level at a narrow range.


The pH value is a measure of the acidity or an alkalinity of a solution. The scale goes from 0 to 14. Values below 7 are considered acidic, while those with a value greater than 7 are considered basic.


There are plenty of benefits from barley grass that you can get to enjoy. Plus, it’s simple to grow all year round (by sprouting) on a sunny kitchen windowsill.


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