Organic Barley Grass Powder: Food Of Gladiators
Packing an impressive nutritional punch, barley products have an exceptionally long history of both agricultural and human use, dating back as far as 7000 BC, and barley grass powder is no exception.
As one of the oldest cereals to be cultivated in ancient times, the Romans believed so much in the worth of barley they gave it as a reward to victorious gladiators!
Tired and covered in an array of blood from lions and Christians I am sure every gladiator prized barley - with its countless nutritional benefits - over freedom, any day of the fighting week.
All parts of the barley plant have been utilized, with both the grains and grass traditionally used by athletes and those poor souls suffering skin, liver, digestive and blood disorders.
The famous physician Pliny the Elder dedicated a chapter to barley (hordeum vulgare)
in his pioneering tome Naturalis Historia (Natural History) - which became a model for all other encyclopedias - espousing barley’s many uses and virtues.
However, superfood powders, such as barley grass powder, had to wait a long time for their turn in the arena.
The first was introduced in 1939 after a dehydrated preparation called ‘cerophyl’ was approved as human food in America. This wasn’t just barley grass powder, but a mix of various powdered cereal grains, promoted as the original multivitamin.
In this era, science was just beginning to explain how vitamins and minerals in cereal grasses could benefit human health, which brings us to the many modern uses of the refined barley grass powder.
Organic Barley Powder: Impressive Superfood
Barley grass powder is made from the young shoots of the barley plant which have been harvested, dehydrated and crushed.
Even in powdered form organic barley grass powder can be considered a whole food as it is complete with a spectrum of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and beneficial chemicals.
Although studies proving the specific health benefits of barley grass powder are lacking, its constituents (active and healthful compounds) are well-known - and impressive.
Most Notable Constituents Of The Barley Leaf:
✔ Vitamins: vitamins B1, B2, B6, pantothenic acid (B5), folate (B9) and a plant form of B12
✔ Minerals: potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and magnesium
✔ 20 amino acids - including 8 of the essential amino acids
✔ Insoluble fiber and beta glucan
✔ Polyphenols, flavonoids and other antioxidants such as beta carotene and lutonarin
✔ Enzymes such as superoxide dismutase (SOD)
Why We Need Barley Grass Powder
The spectrum of vitamins and minerals contained in this wonderful powder provides balanced and bioavailable nutrition, which may help to boost energy and promote general wellbeing.
Barley grass powder has been included in Athletic Greens to aid in and boost levels of vitamins and minerals in people who may have deficiencies.
The most popular uses for barley leaf and barley grass powder are as a general morning nutritional insurance boost, more potent than taking a multivitamin. It’s also used as a detoxing agent with the aim of removing heavy metals and toxins, and improving liver function.
Like many of the big greens it is often mistakenly claimed to be a cure all and to fix all sorts of issues in the body which it is not yet proven to fix.
For someone eating a poorly balanced diet or who is deficient in particular nutrients, taking barley grass powder in the mornings could provide quite a quick and noticeable boost to perceived energy levels.
Apart from that however, most health benefits are realised over time with consistent use, so it pays to think long term on this one.
The Health Benefits Of Barley Grass Powder
Barley grass powder contains amino acids, which help preserve and build muscle tissue, assist in liver detoxification, balance blood sugars and support immune function.
The fiber and beta glucans found in barley leaf may slow down glucose absorption in the gut, helping lower blood sugar levels after meals. They may also bind to and help excrete cholesterol while supporting immune function.
Antioxidants, including high levels of beta carotene, may exert anticancer effects, protecting against ageing and staving off heart disease.
Enzymes such as SOD (superoxide dismutase, don’t Google SOD!) have been shown to exert powerful anti-inflammatory effects - especially in inflammatory bowel disease - plus they protect the body against radiation.
Beta-sitosterol has been shown to reduce the synthesis (creation) of cholesterol and - together with the antioxidant effects of barley grass powder - may support cardiovascular health by both lowering elevated cholesterol and preventing against its oxidation. Wow...
Let’s take a look at that list of benefits again:
✔ Regulating blood sugar
✔ Lowering cholesterol
✔ Protecting against heart disease
✔ Improving digestive health
✔ General wellbeing
✔ Increasing energy and endurance
✔ Combating free-radical damage
✔ Cancer prevention
How To Use Barley Grass Powder
A dose of 15 grams per day of dried barley leaf has been used to lower cholesterol and it is fairly safe even at high doses.
The high chlorophyll content in barley grass powder can provide a nice alkalizing boost to offset the acidity in most people's diets, making it easier for the body to maintain its regular pH level.
Something to be aware of…
If you are coeliac you may be wondering if you are able to consume barley grass powder?
Technically, yes, as the gluten in barley is in the actual grain. However, extremely sensitive individuals may wish to avoid barley grass powder due to the possibility of cross-contamination.
While evidence is lacking about how barley grass powder specifically improves health, wellbeing and disease, there’s plenty of knowledge about its ingredients.
Enzymes, such as SOD, are well-studied and proven beneficial, as are the array of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fiber it contains.
Barley grass powder is best known as a complete nutritional boost, blood sugar regulator, natural cholesterol-lowering supplement and gut tonic.
Barley grass powder works well with the other big greens in Athletic Greens - they are the super powder green posse!
Spirulina, wheatgrass, alfalfa and chlorella are such good all round providers of a broad range of vitamins and minerals, and their addition to Athletic Greens means you have a highly available, natural and easily absorbed form of all five.
So while the beneficial aspects of the consumption of barley in ancient times may have been common knowledge, it seems in the modern world we’ve been lacking in ways to incorporate this ancient grain into our daily routine.
Not anymore. We now know exactly what to do the next time we need to feel fighting fit!