Barley Grains and Barley Grass – Nutritional Value and Therapeutic Potential
Humans are continuously exposed to dangers that threaten their health due to the ready availability of unhealthy foods containing synthetic additives, as well as exposure to free radicals produced by cigarette smoking, alcohol, radiation, or environmental toxins. This fact has raised concerns among consumers, leading to an increased interest in healthy nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. Beneficial compounds such as β-glucan, tocols, and resistant starch are abundant in barley grains. Epidemiological studies consistently demonstrate that regular consumption of whole grain barley reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases. These health benefits are largely attributed to the presence of barley fibre, particularly β-glucan, in whole grain barley. Additionally, barley grass is considered the only plant on Earth that can provide complete nutritional support from birth to old age. Young barley grass has been found to have different nutritional content compared to mature barley grains, offering unique healing effects and slowing down the aging process of cells. This review aims to highlight the significant nutritional value and health benefits of both barley grains and barley grass.