As you enter middle age, many people may be concerned about visceral fat, which is particularly concentrated in the abdomen. It gradually increases every year and is also called ‘middle age spread’.
The reason why you continue to gain weight despite not increasing your food intake is because the overall basal metabolic rate decreases due to hormonal changes and a decrease in muscle mass as you age. This increased visceral fat causes metabolic syndrome and, in serious cases, various cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.
Therefore, today we would like to learn about ‘barley sprouts’, a gift from nature that can help in many ways with age-related symptoms and diseases.
1. Cholesterol Improvement
The metabolic syndrome mentioned above refers to a condition in which a person has three or more of the five factors: high blood pressure, hyperglycemia, hypertriglyceridemia, low HDL cholesterol, and abdominal obesity. Among these, HDL cholesterol, unlike LDL cholesterol, plays a role in preventing arteriosclerosis, so the higher the level, the healthier it is.
In 2003, a paper was published in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition thatreported that consumption of barley sprouts increases HDL cholesterol and decreases total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.
“This study showed that when supplementing with 15g of BL (barley sprout extract) per day for 4 weeks, plasma TC (total cholesterol) and LDL-C (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) significantly decreased, and HDL-C (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) concentration increased. “It proves that there has been an increase.”
Reference : Yu, YM., Chang, WC., Liu, CS. et al (2003). Effect of young barley leaf extract and adlay on plasma lipids and LDL oxidation in hyperlipidemic smokers. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 58, 1–8.
Did you know that visceral fat also secretes inflammatory substances?In this regard, the reason why barley sprouts have received widespread attention as a health material for the middle-aged is because of saponarin, a natural anti-inflammatory agent abundantly contained in barley sprouts.
In 2014, a study was reported in Food & Function that conducted by domestic researchers that revealed the mechanism of saponarin's anti-inflammatory effect.
“These results suggest that SA (saponarin) extracted from barley sprouts exerts an anti-inflammatory effect on lipopolysaccharide-induced RAW 264.7 macrophages through inhibition of NF-κB, ERK and p38 signaling. Therefore, saponarin (SA) may be a promising natural anti-inflammatory agent.”
Reference : SEO Kyung Hye, RA Ji-Eun , PARK Mi Jin , HAN Sang-Ik , NAM Min-Hee , SHIM Eun-Young , PARK JiYoung , SEO Woo Duck. (2014). Saponarin from barley sprouts inhibits NF-κB and MAPK on LPS-induced RAW 264.7 cells. Food & Function, 535-535.
3. Protects Liver Damage
The reason the liver is called a ‘silent organ’ is because no signs of abnormality are felt until more than 70% of the liver is damaged due to viruses, alcohol, fat, drugs, etc. Therefore, liver health must be managed through lifestyle habits and periodic checkups.
As academic research on the effects of barley sprouts on lipid metabolism, inflammation control, etc. accumulates, this year, a paper was published on Antioxidants, on the effects of barley sprouts on liver damage in habitual alcohol drinkers with fatty liver disease.
“These findings suggest that administration of BSE (barley sprout extract powder) can protect against liver damage by reducing oxidative stress and changing metabolism in habitual alcohol drinkers with fatty liver disease.””
Reference : Park H, Lee E, Kim Y, Jung HY, Kim K-M, Kwon O (2021). Metabolic Profiling Analysis Reveals the Potential Contribution of Barley Sprouts against Oxidative Stress and Related Liver Cell Damage in Habitual Alcohol Drinkers. Antioxidants. 10(3), 459..
Today, we learned about the various benefits of barley sprouts through papers. Don't forget that for more fundamental visceral fat management, diet management and consistent aerobic exercise must be combined.