Nutrients in Barley Grass
Barley grass is considered the most nutritional of the green grasses. Yoshihide
Hagiwara, M.D., the pioneer of green foods, is responsible for more than 200
published studies on green and natural foods. After studying green plants
for decades, he said, "It is clear to me, then, that the leaves of the
cereal grasses provide the nearest thing this planet offers to the perfect
food. For reasons of palatability, higher nutrient content, and favorable
harvesting features, green barley stands out as the best among these."
Barley grass contains a wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals, amino acids, including the eight essential ones that we must get from our diets, proteins, enzymes, chlorophyll, and phytochemicals.
Amino Acids and Proteins
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, which are the major constituents
of every cell and body fluid, and are thus necessary for the continual cell
building, cell regeneration, and energy production that we need for life.
An added benefit of the green barley leaf proteins is that they are polypeptides,
smaller proteins that can be directly absorbed by the blood, where they promote
cell metabolism (the chemical changes that we need to live).
Green barley leaves contain a multitude of enzymes. Enzymes are essential
for the thousands of chemical reactions that occur throughout the body, including
the production of energy at the cellular level, the facilitation of digestion,
the absorption of digested nutrients, and the rebuilding and replenishing
of all that the body requires for metabolism to occur.
The enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) is a powerful antioxidant thought to slow the rate of cell destruction by providing a defense against free radicals, especially the most prolific free radical, superoxide. Superoxide free radicals are thought to be responsible for the breakdown of synovial fluid that leads to the inflammatory response in joints. Much of the current clinical research on SOD is focused on arthritis, bursitis, and gout. Low levels of SOD are also associated with cataracts and other degenerative diseases. In addition, it is believed to help the body use zinc, copper, and manganese more effectively.
As SOD is heat sensitive, it is thought to be the yardstick for measuring overall enzymatic activity. If SOD is present in a food in an active state, it can be concluded that the other enzymes in the food are also present in an active state. Enzymes are not found in processed and cooked foods.
Green barley grass also contains chlorophyll. Chlorophyll has been studied
for its potential as a deodorant, in stimulating tissue growth, and in stimulating
red blood cells in connection with oxygen supply. Perhaps most remarkable
is the similarity between chlorophyll and the red pigment in blood. Research
in the 1940s demonstrated that the two pigments react the same during breakdown.
According to an article in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (Jan. 4, 1995), chlorophyll fed to laboratory animals reduces absorption of three dietary carcinogens: heterocyclic amines (found in cooked muscle meats), polycyclic hydrocarbons (found in smoked and barbecued foods), and aflatoxin (a mold on peanuts). The chlorophyll formed complex compounds with the carcinogens while they were still in the digestive tract, limiting their bioavailability.
Chlorophyll also removes carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, the by-products of respiration and pollution, and has been found to reduce fecal, urinary, and body odor in geriatric patients. In addition, it has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and wound-healing properties.
Phytochemicals are simply plant chemicals that are thought to be essential
to health. They have been associated with the prevention and/or treatment
of at least four of the leading causes of death (cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular
disease, and hypertension) and with the prevention and/or treatment of other
ailments, including neural tube defects, osteoporosis, abnormal bowel function,
and arthritis, as well as numerous chronic conditions.
The value of barley grass
Research has found that green barley extract has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
activity, immune system support, and cholesterol-lowering effects.
Green barley grass has a high alkalizing effect, which helps keep the ratio
between acidity and alkalinity in our body fluids balanced. Our cells cannot
adequately function if the pH (which measures acidity and alkalinity) is not
in a narrow range. Most processed foods are acidic, and when we consume too
many of them, the acidity/alkalinity balance is upset.
Green barley grass contains buffer minerals such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Buffer minerals neutralize acidic materials and can help maintain a healthy acidity/alkalinity balance.
Green barley grass also contains unique and powerful plant antioxidants,
including lutonarin and saponarin. According to scientists, lutonarin is the
superior antioxidant. Antioxidants protect cells from free-radical damage.
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