Barley grass juice powder is often referred to as a nutritional powerhouse and for a very good reason. Or rather a set of reasons because the variety of nutrients it packs, their nature and their concentration are impressive. The health benefits connected to its regular ingestion range from improved digestion and cellular level detox to blood sugar control and cancer prevention.
Not to mention that barley grass juice power has been linked to a youthful appearance through better hydrated skin and to weight control/loss.
As part of our health routine (of course we want to enjoy the craft beering lifestyle for as long as possible) Chris and I include a daily dose of this miraculous phytonutrient rich powder in our diets. Both on the days when we drink beer and on those when we don’t. On the not so serious side – it only makes sense – barley grass is the beginning of craft beer, so of course its consumption is part of the craft beering ways.
Learn more about our other Health & Craft Beering practices.
Barley grass juice powder vs Barley Grass Powder
Let me point out an important distinction first.
You should be aware that barley grass juice powder is not the same as barley grass powder. They sound similar and both are made from the same blades of grass – Hordeum vulgare (the botanical name of barley in Latin), but there is a difference in how each is derived.
While the nutrients remain the same in each type of powder, the dehydrated barley grass powder also contains cellulose that cannot be digested by humans. It is usually lighter in color. Barley grass juice powder has a higher concentration of the beneficial nutrients and the indigestible cellulose is not present. It has a much darker color.
Let’s look into each one.
How is Barley Grass Juice Powder Made?
Barley grass juice powder is carefully juiced from the aerial part of the tender stalks of young barley grass. The grass is cut at peak harvest – the time when it’s nutritional potential is highest. This is sometimes referred to as the first joint stage, when the blades are about 12 inches tall and before a true stem is produced. The barley grass at this stage is said to contain the highest concentration of nutrients absorbed from the soil.
During juicing the cellulose (fiber) that makes up most of the thick cell walls of barley grass is broken down (and later removed) to release the beneficial phytonutrients and make them easier for absorption by the human organism.
The juice is dried at very low temperatures to protect and preserve the precious bio-active enzymes and other nutrients while the cellulose is discarded.
How is Barley Grass Powder Made?
In contrast, the lighter green barley grass powder is derived directly from the young barley grass. The harvested blades are dehydrated and then ground into powder. Barley grass powder retains all the cellulose and the nutrients are not as concentrated as in the juiced grass.
Because barley grass juice powder does not contain the insoluble fiber present in dried barley grass powder it is presumed to be better soluble in water. In reality, we’ve found that the straight powder actually does dissolve quite easily. It is ground very, very fine. Despite this, the barley grass juice powder is more bio-viable and is the one you should be looking for.
What is the Best Brand Barley grass juice powder?
When selecting a brand to purchase, beware of what you are buying. Dried barley grass directly pressed into powder is usually priced lower than the juice powder. That being said, on more than one occasion we have come across products that claim to be barley grass juice powder but are simply dried grass powder. If buying online do take the time to read the consumer reviews and any manufacturer replies. Sometimes the manufacturer admits to the fact that the grass was not juiced even though the product description and even the packaging say barley grass juice powder. I guess the temptation to leverage the word juice and intentionally (it seems to us) label product in a misleading way is too strong.
Some brands display the ‘pure juice powder’ symbol on their labels, removing all doubts as to the origin of the powder. Brands we recommend based on our personal experience with them are:
A 6 oz container will cover you for about two months assuming your intake is the recommended 1 1/2 tsp daily dose. This works out to less than 33 cents a day on average even though prices vary from one brand to the next. Pretty good deal considering how much nutrition you get out of that tiny daily dose. One serving of the powder is said to give you up to three times more nutrients than the typical serving of green vegetables.
Nutrients in Barley Grass Juice Powder
Young barley grass is presumed to be the most nutritious of all the green grasses. It contains all of the nutrients listed below.
- enzymes – several live enzymes, including the powerful superoxide dismutase (SOD, a powerful cellular anti-oxidant, protects cells from damage by free radicals)
- amino acids – extremely rich source of protein (15 times more protein than milk)
- minerals – calcium (up to eleven times more than milk), iron (five times more than spinach), magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, potassium
- vitamins – A (beta-carotene), lutein, B1, B2, B6, B9, B12, C, E, K
Is Barley Grass Juice Powder Gluten Free?
Yes, it is. Even though barley is a cereal grain, before it forms actual grains the plant does not synthesize gluten.
Health Benefits of Barley Grass Juice Powder
The potent nutrient arsenal of barley grass juice powder brings about powerful health benefits. Among the most extolled ones are:
- natural detoxifier benefits – at the cellular level and supportive of liver function
- digestive benefits
- immune system boosting benefits
- cancer prevention (especially breast cancer)
- acid alkaline balancing benefits
- stimulation of cell regeneration (connected to more healthful and better hydrated skin)
- cholesterol lowering benefits
- blood sugar level control
- reduced inflammation in the body
- weight loss and weight control
- bone health benefits
What does Barley Grass Juice Powder Taste Like?
Like fresh cut grass with a mildly bitter flavor. Compared to wheat grass, it is definitely a few notches more bitter. This is not really an obstacle.
How to Use Barley Grass Juice Powder?
Due to the high water solubility of barley grass juice powder the easiest way to use it is to mix it with some water. In view of the bitterish taste and pungent freshly cut grass aroma, you might find it somewhat unpleasant to drink.
Chris and I do not think that it is that awful. I can drink a glassful in one go when really thirsty, otherwise I tend to take a few sips at a time. Typically we both take it with something else. Chris frequently mixes his daily dose into the protein shakes he makes/buys after every work out at the gym. I like to mix mine with water and my daily collagen powder and add a splash of orange juice, just enough to take the edge off the grassy flavor.
While said flavor can eventually grow on you, you do not have to suffer through the experience of getting used to it. I have a few suggestions for how to effortlessly incorporate barley grass juice powder in your diet. Consider that the fastest absorption happens on an empty stomach and in liquid form but if for some reason that is not possible you can always do one of the following:
- add it to kefir (our son thinks that green kefir is the coolest)
- add it to your favorite (preferably freshly squeezed) juice
- add it to your breakfast smoothie
- add it to granola or overnight oatmeal bowls along with fresh fruit
- add it to Bloody Mary mixes (seriously, might as well drink healthy)
- add it to cocktails (not sure a doctor would recommend this, but just wait for the gorgeous vibrant green beer
mojito I will post soon)
- add it to gazpacho soup
- add it to homemade salad dressings
- add it to salsas, especially green salsa
- add it to pestos
- make cold raw vegetable sauces with it (My favorite is: blend the flesh of 1 large yellow bell pepper + a small bunch of cilantro + 1 1/2 tsp barley grass juice powder, add 1 tbsp of olive (stir well) and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the sauce over grilled meats, especially in summer time. It tastes heavenly despite the cilantro which I usually do not care for. Not to mention that it is a dashing green color.)
You really have no excuse not to start taking barley grass juice powder if you aren’t doing so already. Whatever the manner of taking it, be sure not to subject it to thermal interventions – you want those coveted enzymes to make it to your digestive system alive.
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