Barley is a type of edible grain that belongs to the grass family known as Gramineae, which has been in use among the people since ancient times.
It was used in bread making in the 16th century and was widely eaten by people living in cities such as Greece, China, and Egypt.
But nowadays people do not consider barley as an edible grain but only as a medicinal food and as the primary ingredient used in making beer. Barley is an herbaceous plant that has high medicinal values and can even be fed to livestock.
These plants are cultivated all over the world for commercial and medicinal value. Barley is one of the most widely consumed and trusted raw grains in American cuisine for its health benefits.
Combining various features, this grain has valid nutrients, a pleasant taste, and a slightly thin consistency. Its appearance is similar to that of oats and wheat, and it is replicated the color of corn. Very rarely barley grain is found in black and violet colors.
Facts of Barley
These are incorporated into a complete diet due to the unique nutritional value, consistency, and properties of barley.
- Barley is rich in nutrients that facilitate digestion, and it effectively promotes the weight loss process by breaking down the body’s bad fats and controlling cholesterol levels.
- Also, regular use of barley grain effectively treats heart-related ailments.
- This barley grain is low in protein and fat, and high in sugar and starch. It is considered to be the best source of selenium and fiber which effectively contributes to the protection of the body’s immune system.
- In addition, both substances are found in barley as insoluble and soluble compounds. This type of grain is a solid source of copper, phosphorus, and manganese that strengthen bones.
- The good fats and carbohydrates in them greatly stimulate the body’s metabolic processes.
Health Benefits of Barley
Research shows that a cup of barley contains about 6 grams of fiber (soluble and insoluble) which helps in relieving various ailments and makes the body a healthier zone. Barley is rich in countless nutrients that provide incredible medical benefits and health benefits. Let’s pop in here about some of them.
Contains Several Beneficial Nutrients
Barley is currently available in a variety of forms such as grain, barley grits, hulled barley, barley flaked, barley flour, all of which are made using whole barley. These include minerals, vitamins, plant compounds, and other beneficial chemical compounds.
Except for a specific form of barley called Pearl Barley, everything else goes on sale after its light brown layers have been removed and polished. But the nutrients in whole grains are fully available only when consumed without any polishing.
Similarly, unpolished barley is rich in manganese, fiber, selenium, and molybdenum. The grain is also a rich source of chromium, copper, magnesium, niacin, vitamin B1, and phosphorus.
The lignans in barley prevent heart disease and cancer and reduce its side effects. Just as all whole grains are high in antioxidants, barley also comes with high antioxidant properties.
They facilitate the absorption of nutrients by the body and the digestive processes. Barley can be soaked or sprouted to improve the stability of the nutrients in it.
The soaking and germination process can increase the protein, mineral, vitamin, and antioxidant levels in barley.
Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease
Regularly adding whole-grain barley to the diet can cure various heart diseases, including stress and heart attack, and protect you from their effects. This means that barley is an excellent source of heart health.
Not only can barley be used as a medicine or as an ingredient in making beer, but it can also be used as nutritious food to nourish the body.
Regular consumption of barley will reduce the generation and production of “bad” LDL fat, as well as reduce some of the risk factors for fat. The soluble fiber of barley can greatly reduce high blood pressure and support balanced blood flow.
A recent study concluded that a moderate 0.3–1.6 mmHg reduction in blood pressure can be achieved by consuming an average of 8.7 grams of soluble fiber per day.
Both high LDL cholesterol and high blood pressure are known to be the most dangerous factors for bad heart-related diseases. That is why it is very important to control these two factors.
Limits the Growth of Colon Cancer
Consumption of whole grain-rich foods protects the body from various types of cancers and gives the body the strength and determination to fight infections.
Consumption of barley, which contains high fiber content, minerals, vitamins, and many other compounds, can prevent cancer, especially in the colon. Insoluble fiber has the ability to prevent intestinal attacks and intestinal erosion due to various factors.
Barley contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, which can be used to treat colon cancer. The insoluble fiber content binds the dangerous cells that cause cancer in the gut and then excretes them through the feces.
Phytic Acid, Saponins, Phenolic acids, and other antioxidants are all found in barley to help slow and prevent the development of colon cancer.
Both Fibers Regulate Digestion
Barley contains both soluble and insoluble fiber which effectively supports the healthy functions of the gut. Most of the fibers in it are insoluble, which are excreted in bulk with insoluble waste, thereby accelerating bowel movement and greatly reducing constipation.
The study, which lasted about four weeks with adult women, concluded that combining barley in daily use improved bowel function and increased stool volume.
Furthermore, the soluble fiber content makes it an excellent food for the beneficial bacteria in the gut. They also form SCFAs (Short-Chain Fatty Acids) in the stomach.
Research shows that these fatty acids can help reduce inflammation, ulcerative colitis, feeding on intestinal cells, and control disorders such as Crohn’s disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Inhibits Formation of Stones in Gall
The gallbladder is a very small organ located in the lower part of the liver.In the gallbladder, the bile acids form that helps to dissolve the fat that causes weight gain. Gallstones are solid particles that form spontaneously in the gallbladder.
Although these stones can often cause large amounts of damage and dissolve spontaneously, the large amounts of gallstones can get stuck in the gallbladder and cause severe pain and side effects.
Often in such cases, doctors will first try to dissolve the stones as much as possible, and if this is not possible they will perform surgery to remove the gallbladder. But the high fiber content in barley has been scientifically proven to help reduce the production of gallstones and dissolve large stones.
It is true that the insoluble fiber found in barley has the ability to inhibit the formation and growth of gallstones, which greatly reduces the chance of surgery.
Studies show that women who regularly consume high levels of fiber have a 13% lower risk of gallbladder surgery. Researchers estimate that a person who consumes insoluble fiber has about 10% less risk of all gallbladder problems, including gallstones.
In another study conducted with obese individuals , participants were divided into 2 groups and given the first group of them with high-fiber foods and the second group with protein-rich foods.
After about five weeks, the gallbladder of those who ate a high-fiber diet was proven to be three times healthier than those who ate a high-protein diet.
Assists the Incrementation of Beta-Glucans
Barley greatly promotes the production of beneficial beta-glucans, which, in turn, can greatly reduce the amount of accumulated fat.
The team of medical experts also said that these beta-glucans bind to the bile acids secreted in the gallbladder, effectively lowering bad LDL cholesterol. These bile acids, which are produced from liver fat, are eventually excreted in the feces.
In general, the liver uses a large amount of fat to make strong bile acids, which effectively reduces the amount of cholesterol in the body and purifies the blood. In one study high-fat men were selected and they were divided into 3 groups.
The first group was given wheat, the second group brown rice, and the third group barley for five weeks. In the end, the 3rd group of men who ate barley had a 7% lower cholesterol level than the participants in the other two groups.
They also showed lower triglyceride levels and a significant increase in good HDL cholesterol.
Various animal and human studies conducted on barley have shown that SCFAs, which are formed when soluble fiber is ingested, are involved in feeding healthy intestinal bacteria, inhibiting fat production, and reducing fat levels.
Helps In Reducing Excess Weight
Some grains have appetite suppressants, which are often given to children. But barley reduces appetite and gives the body a fuller feel. Due to this trait, it is possible to prevent eating unnecessary and fast foods (junk foods).
The high fiber content of barley reduces appetite and leads to weight loss. Beta-glucan is a soluble type of fiber that forms a gel-like structure when these fibers dissolve in water. This gel prevents digestion and absorption of nutrients.
Because beta-glucans are high in barley grains, those who consume it can easily control their appetite.
The results of 44 studies on barley found that the beta-glucan fiber in them not only reduced appetite but also played a major role in maintaining body weight. The belly usually disables metabolic functions and promotes an increase in body fat.
The soluble fiber in Barley effectively reduces this type of belly.
Helps Protect Against Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is caused by high blood sugar and low insulin levels. Consumption of barley helps to regulate insulin secretion in the blood and lower blood sugar levels, thus preventing the development of type 2 diabetes.
Magnesium is an important mineral that plays a major role in insulin production, and it’s recommended to add more as it is rich in barley grain.
The soluble fiber in barley binds closely to various important molecules such as water as it passes through the digestive tract and passes through the intestines. This binding slows down the process of blood sugar absorption.
Consuming barley for breakfast increases the amount of insulin in the blood and limits sugar levels than other whole grains such as oats and wheat.
A study conducted with some participants with weak fasting glucose in the body, they were divided into two groups and given oats for one group and barley flakes for breakfast for another.
The study was conducted for three consecutive months and at the end of the study, it was shown that those who ate barley grain had moderate insulin and reduced blood sugar levels by about 9-13%.
Adds Versatile Nutrients to Diet
Barley grain which can come with medium prices provides reliable and incredible benefits to the body. Unlike most refined or peeled grains, high-fiber barley is consumed as a whole grain, which has a variety of health benefits.
Due to its unique taste, it can be used instead of white pasta or couscous. Barley is considered an excellent alternative to white rice dishes such as risotto and pilaf. This grain can be eaten raw or along with stews, soups, salads, bread, and fillings.
Bread made with barley is used as an excellent weight-loss diet. Due to its mild sweetness and high fiber content, it can be used in ice cream, pudding, and many other unique desserts.
Plays an Important Role in a Healthy Life
Barley is high in copper, which helps fight the symptoms of rheumatism and its effects. It also greatly supports the flexibility of the joints and bones. If the body is high in harmful toxins it can cause gastritis, barley is used as a tonic to prevent this and expel toxins.
Add a few drops of lime juice in barley and heat it well and then take it to get relief from a sore throat, cold and cough. Barley is effective in curing urinary tract infections and also treats chronic asthma.
Barley acts as a diuretic and controls fever, vomiting, dizziness, diarrhea, and improves digestion. Manganese and selenium in barley play an important role in maintaining the elasticity of the skin.
The soluble fiber in it cures flatulence, abdominal discomfort, bloating, etc. and increases lipid levels.