11 Life-Changing Reasons to Add Barley Grass to Your Diet

11 Life-Changing Reasons to Add Barley Grass Into Your Diet

Barley Grass Benefits

Ok, I’ll admit it: I’m not much of a drinker, but whenever barley grass is mentioned, beer is the first thing that comes to mind. It’s so associated with with beer production that it’s easy to forget the incredible ways barley grass benefits our health. And before you ask, no, barley grass does not contain gluten. 

Although it’s not common knowledge, barley grass contains carotene, vitamins B1, B2 and B12, iron, magnesium and amino acids, as well as important enzymes that your body simply craves for.

In short, barley grass benefits our health because it’s an absolute nutritional powerhouse.

What is barley grass?

Barley grass refers to the young leaves of the barley plant, Hordeum vulgare or Hordeum distichon. Barley grass has gained popularity as a health food due to its rich nutritional profile. It is a common ingredient in juices, supplements, and super green blends. Barley grass has greater nutritional value if harvested at a young age, and it is capable of growing in a wide range of climatic conditions.

Barley grass is a nutritious food obtained from the young leaves of the barley plant.

Nutritionally, three teaspoons of barley grass juice powder (5g) provide 20 calories, 2g of protein, 2g of carbohydrates, and 0g of fat. Barley juice is an excellent source of vitamin A, iron, and magnesium. Additionally, it is rich in chlorophyll, antioxidants, and enzymes that have been associated with various health benefits.

Barley grass is a nutritious food obtained from the young leaves of the barley plant. It is rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds. Due to its nutritional properties, barley grass is commonly used in supplements and super green blends.

A long history of barley grass benefits

Our ancestors clearly knew this as well. The first known usage of barley grass was in 7000 BC, when it was used not just as a food, but also to treat health issues such as skin inflammation, liver problems and blood issues. It is even believed that ancient gladiators used barley grass to boost strength and endurance.

Nature provides us with life and can cure us, so it’s no wonder that many plants are truly ultimate superfoods that can be used, in one form or another, to make a number of highly effective drugs in the pharmaceutical industry. Why then, don’t more of us incorporate these super-healthy foods in our diet? If we did, we might not end up needing the medicines they produce!

With this in mind, let’s explore the different barley grass benefits and how they can impact your health. Hopefully it will inspire you to give it a place in your kitchen.

What are the benefits of taking barley grass?

Barley grass has been linked to several potential health benefits. Here are some of them:

1. It improves the health of type 2 diabetes sufferers

Type 2 diabetes is very common in adults, and is a disease that cannot be cured. However, it can be treated. According to several studies, barley grass can improve insulin resistance and lower sugar levels, which helps people with diabetes control the changes in their sugar levels throughout the day. (1)

The thing that causes all the major health problems associated with diabetes (gangrene, for example) are those sudden blood sugar level spikes or drops. As it has been proven that barley grass—or more specifically, the antioxidants and vitamins found in the barley leaf—improves this condition, it is included in many supplements, which usually take the form of either barley grass juice powder or a barley grass capsule. (2)

2. It reduces toxic build up in the body

Your body is your temple; I certainly believe this about mine. The only way to truly preserve your temple is to maintain good overall health, but modern life can make this difficult.

We burden our bodies by eating junk food all of the time, failing to find ways to address our stress levels, or by simply not finding the time to take care of ourselves properly.

Thankfully, one of the biggest barley grass benefits is that it’s a natural detoxifier—especially when it comes to our liver—that can help us deal with the physical repercussions of these bad habits.

[Related: 7 Liver-Healthy Foods Your Body Will Thank You for Eating]

Traces of lead can often build up in our system, which can have a negative effect on our mental abilities. This is especially true in children, who may suffer from learning disorders.

Also, the chlorophyll and beta carotene content of barley grass stimulate the elimination of waste materials. This way we are getting rid of the waste in our system by using a natural remedy that doesn’t negatively affect any aspect of our health.

3. It improves skin health and elasticity

Is your skin losing its luster and vitality? Being a source of selenium, barley grass can significantly improve the health of our skin.

Barley grass benefits our skin’s elasticity, which prevents further harmful issues such as developing folds of loose skin.

Moreover, it protects our skin from damage done by external factors such as harmful UV rays, wind, and cold air. Exhaust fumes and smog are some of the other common factors damaging our skin, so if you live in a city, barley grass will definitely help you keep your skin youthful and healthy.

4. It reduces cholesterol

During a clinical study of the effect of barley grass on type 2 diabetes, researchers found that it not only lowers blood sugar levels, but also lowers cholesterol. (3)

Furthermore, the study showed that after 70 days of consuming barley grass on a daily basis, cholesterol levels decreased by 5.1 %. Cholesterol, as well as type 2 diabetes, is actually slowed down by monosaturated fats and antioxidants, which barley grass is rich in.

If you have high cholesterol, consult your doctor about consuming barley grass as a viable remedy. Should you use it, you will quickly see the results.

5. It can aid in weight loss

Being overweight makes you more prone to getting diabetes, cancer, and heart diseases. Moreover, you can experience some breathing problems, as well as joint pains.

Barley grass will not only help you lose weight, but also help prevent these problems.

Being a source of insoluble fiber, barley grass makes you feel full for a long time, all while providing you with a lot of the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs. As it also helps control blood sugar levels, you won’t have strong cravings between meals.

By using barley grass—provided that you also engage in some form of exercise and avoid overeating—you’ll be able to stick to your diet more effectively and lose weight in a healthy manner.

6. Barley grass prevents asthma

The most common disorder among children is definitely childhood asthma, which can lead to more serious issues later in life. Owing to its store of antioxidants and vitamins C and E, barley grass can help you normalize and control your breathing.

You can use it to prevent asthma and alleviate its symptoms, but you cannot cure it.

7. Prevents some forms of cancer

Barley grass possesses superoxide dismutase enzyme, which excels at fighting cancer cells and can be used as a preventive measure. Moreover, owing to the powerful catalase enzymes, it can actually decrease the proliferation of cancer cells. 

[Related: Is the Alkaline Diet Key to Cancer Prevention]

I especially recommend barley grass for women, as it is one of the best ways you can use your diet to help stave off breast cancer. It’s also a powerful precautionary food that can bolster your defenses against diseases such as coronary or heart disease.

8. Repairs DNA

Physician and pharmacist Yoshihide Hagiwara has spent over 10 years researching barley grass benefits, and has found that, among many other health advantages, it can repair DNA.

Due to stress, medical drugs, food additives, low immunity and even radiation, our DNA can change. This change can lead to sterility, genetic abnormalities and premature aging. This DNA damage can negatively affect women’s pregnancy in the form of spontaneous abortion and deformed offspring.

Best then, to tend to the strength of your DNA with barley grass.

9. Prevents osteoporosis

Bone health can also be improved through barley grass intake, as it contains phosphorus and copper. Barley grass contains 11 times more calcium than milk. Whether you have a broken bone that’s slowly healing up, or you just want to boost the health of your bones, barley grass will certainly help you.

This also makes it a great addition to your children’s diet; because their bodies keep growing, they should be provided with plenty of natural sources of vitamins and minerals that will promote healthy development. Barley grass is a surefire way to do just that.

It can’t cure osteoporosis, but it can help you alleviate some of the symptoms, slow the process and keep your bones in better condition. Moreover, barley provides us with manganese, which is essential for bone production.

10. Supports immune system

You probably think of oranges as the ultimate food source of vitamin C, but here’s a shocker for you: barley grass contains far more.

Because of this, barley grass can support our immune system and improve our overall health. It makes us more resistant to catching a cold or coming down with the flu. As we are constantly under pressure and stress, we are prone to becoming fatigued, but we can put an end to constantly feeling ill and weak by just adding a couple of servings of barley grass a day to our diet.

Copper is another important immunity-boosting micronutrient found in barley – it improves our bone health, and is essential for hemoglobin production in red blood cells.

11. It has a rejuvenating effect

Most people in the modern world are overly obsessed with maintaining a youthful appearance, but very few actually focus on improving their diet and lifestyle habits; the quick fixes they choose don’t work.

Barley grass contains chlorophyll, iron and vitamin B, all of which can renew and regenerate cells, which leads to maintaining healthy and youthful skin and hair.

Barley grass also rejuvenates our entire body by supporting the creation of both white and red cells within the body. It also regulates digestion.

How can you include barley grass in your diet?

You can eat barley grass raw, which means you can add it to any salad or meal. If you’re a smoothie enthusiast like me, you can add barley grass powder to the blender along with your favorite ingredients or try any of these 12 creative recipes.

I personally prefer to use my own powder supplement, in the form of my superfood Energy Greens drink mix.

Whether you choose to make some natural juice or combine it with other foods really doesn’t matter, as long as you stay within the recommended daily intake of 15g. However, if you are currently taking any other medicine, you should consult your doctor first.

Barley Grass FAQ

What’s the difference between barley grass powder and barley grass juice powder?

Barley grass powder is a cheaper option whereby the grass is cut then dried. This results in a bulkier powder, which is cheaper, harsher on the throat and has less overall nutrient density.
Premium products (such as my “Energy Greens”) use higher quality grass juice powder whereby the barley grass is cut, then cold press juiced. It is then dried at low temperature to preserve its raw benefits. This results in a richer finer green grass blend with a higher overall nutrient density and is 100% raw.

Which is better: barley grass or barley grain? 

They’re completely different. Like comparing apples to oranges. The grass is most often consumed as a juice (or powder put into water) whereas the grain is consumed in a similar fashion as you would rice or quinoa.

Does barley grass have gluten in it? 

No. It is most often cut at its nutrient density peak before any gluten has been formed into the grain.

How to drink barley grass powder? 

Whichever way you like. I consume it as part of my Energy Greens in a glass of water or as an ingredient in many of my smoothies.
11 Life-Changing Reasons to Add Barley Grass into Your Diet


Barley grass is a highly nutritious food that has been used for its health benefits since ancient times. It contains essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and enzymes that are beneficial to the body. This superfood has been shown to improve the health of type 2 diabetes sufferers, reduce toxic buildup in the body, improve skin health and elasticity, and reduce cholesterol. It can be incorporated into one’s diet in various forms, such as juices, supplements, and super green blends.

Have you tried incorporating barley grass into your diet? Did I cover everything you wanted to know? Let me know in the comments section below (I read and reply to every comment). If you found this article helpful, share it with a friend, and check out my full blog for more tips and tricks on healthy living. Thanks for reading, and happy, healthy eating!


Yuri Elkaim is one of the world’s most trusted health and fitness experts. A former pro soccer player turned NYT bestselling author of The All-Day Energy Diet and The All-Day Fat Burning Diet, his clear, science-backed advice has transformed the lives of more than 500,000 men and women and he’s on a mission to help 100 million people by 2040. Read his inspiring story, “From Soccer to Bed to No Hair on My Head” that started it all.