Over the last few decades, barley greens have been used as a nutritional supplement for losing weight and increasing vitality. There's a growing market for this dietary aid, despite the lack of scientific evidence to support its effect on weight management. It is recommended that you consult your doctor before adding a supplement to your diet.
Barley is a cereal grain that has been cultivated for centuries, beginning in Asia and the Middle East. It is often added to soups and breads, and is a key ingredient in beer and whiskey. Barley greens are the plant's young grass shoots, harvested before the grains mature.
Barley greens contain many enzymes which contribute to good digestion and elimination, ridding the body of stored wastes. With optimum circulation, you can readily burn calories and dissolve fats. Lipase, a potent enzyme in barley greens, breaks down and converts fats into usable energy. Barley greens are high in organic sodium, which aids the stomach's production of hydrochloric acid for proper digestion. With a 45 percent protein content, barley greens are one of the most nutritionally complete foods in nature, according to Dr. Yoshihide Hagiwara, author of Green Barley Essence.
Barley green supplements can be taken in powder, tablet or capsule form. Some people like to grow their own barley grass and extract the juices. Growing a small crop of barley grass or wheat grass indoors can be simple and fun.
If you're taking dried barley green powder, start with 1 to 2 tsp., once or twice a day, mixed in water or juice. Over time, the amount can be increased, depending on your body's tolerance. Capsules or tablets are available at health food stores and through various websites. If you're trying fresh barley green juice, start with 1 or 2 oz. per day. Because the juice is quite potent, most people limit their intake to about 3 oz. per day.
Barley greens have a detoxifying effect. People with large amounts of toxins in their systems may experience a "cleansing reaction," such as mild headaches or increased elimination. That's why it's best to begin slowly when taking barley greens.
Sensitivity to barley greens has occurred in some persons with gluten intolerance, as reported by the Mayo Clinic. If nausea, indigestion, or diarrhea occurs after consuming barley greens, stop taking them right away, and consult your physician.