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Barley is a versatile cereal grain with a rich nut-like flavor. It grows annually and belongs to the Gramineae (grass) family. Whole grain barley is a healthy high-fiber high-protein grain with numerous health benefits. It is one of the popular ingredients used in many breakfast foods these days. You can prepare barley water by boiling pearl barley, straining it, and then pouring the hot water over the rind. This is a popular traditional British soft drink.
- Barley water is a good source of dietary fiber and adding it to your daily diet will help you get the recommended daily dosage of fiber.
- It is a rich source of phosphorous that is required for cell production and repair in the body.
- It contains a good amount of copper and is therefore beneficial to people suffering from arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
- It is a rich source of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, and vitamin E.
- It is also a good source of minerals like selenium, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, and zinc.
Being rich in insoluble fiber, barley helps in reducing bile acids secretion, thus increasing insulin sensitivity and reducing the levels of triglycerides. Hence, barley can help to avoid gallstones effectively.
Vitamin C supports your immune system by reducing the chances of cold and flu. Iron facilitates proper kidney functioning and enhances the blood volume, preventing anemia and fatigue. Manganese benefits the nervous system and immune system. Furthermore copper helps form hemoglobin and red blood cells.
Barley prevents yeast and urinary tract infections, which can be harmful to the fetus. It helps ease morning sickness, nausea, and regulates blood sugar levels preventing gestational diabetes. It not only prevents edema (swollen ankle and feet), but also constipation and hemorrhoids, common in pregnant women.
Prevents Bone Disorders
Barley grass contains calcium, phosphorus and copper which are good for the overall health of bones. Manganese, in association with B-complex vitamins, is needed for normal bone production. It is effective against osteoporosis and arthritis also.
The soluble fiber, in barley, dissolves and binds with fatty acids, slows down absorption of sugar, and lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad cholesterol) levels. Insoluble fiber yields propionic acid, which keeps the blood cholesterol levels low. Barley is a rich source of niacin, which is effective in reducing blood clots and cardiovascular disease.
For Weight Loss
Fiber absorbs water, but the insoluble fiber really expands in your stomach, sticking around longer, and suppressing appetite. Barley is low on fat and cholesterol, and full of vital nutrients, making it ideal for daily consumption. It enables the digestive juices to work overtime, sheds calories by preventing the build-up of fat and increases the rate of metabolism.
Enterolactone, one of the plant lignans (a phytonutrient) found in Barley, helps to prevent breast cancer as well as coronary diseases. The dietary fiber is fermented by friendly intestinal bacteria and flora creating butyric acid, the fuel for intestinal cells, thus protecting against colon cancer.
Aids in Digestion
Its rich fiber content prevents constipation by maintaining healthy bowel functions and decreases the expulsion time of feces. Barley water disposes various harmful toxins and is the best tonic for all gastric inflammations. It greatly reduces the chances of colon cancer and hemorrhoids as well.
Recent research has shown the efficacy of Barley as an antidote, preventing the spread of poison in the body, through it quick detox properties.
Copper aids melanin formation, a pigment which provides color to your hair. Micronutrients thiamin and niacin, and procyanidin B-3 act as hair growth stimulants. Iron and copper enhance production of red blood cells, warding off anemia, a main cause of hair loss.
Making Barley Water
Ingredients are 1 cup organic pearl barley, 5 cups of water, lemon juice of 1/2 or 1 lemon, honey 1 tablespoon, cinnamon stick, and root ginger. Flavorings are optional and can be added based on your preferences.
Boil around 1.5 liters of water along with about a handful of barley. Let the pot be on simmer for at least 30 minutes. The amount of barley can be altered based on the kind of barley taste you prefer. Let it cool down. Straining this concoction is preferable if you want to refrigerate it and use it for longer periods of time. Yet, it is advised to consume the fresh barley water as and when required.
Take water in a pot and add barley and a clove of garlic, a cinnamon stick and chopped root ginger into it and boil them. Add enough water so that after simmering, 1/3 of the water must be left on the pot. Cool it and strain. Drink it hot or cold, the way you like it.
Remember not to add lemon or honey while boiling as they bring out a bitter taste. You can add them later after the water cools down. You can use mint leaves, orange, lime juice or even other herb extracts for flavor.