Let us go through barley health benefits, nutrition information, side effects and history of this superfood.
Barley is a cereal grain that can be consumed in a number of ways. It has a wonderful nut-like flavor and a rich pasta-like, chewy regularity. It is similar in look to wheat berries, albeit with a lighter shade to it. Sprouted barley has naturally occurring maltose, which can be used for making malt syrups and can act as a sweetener. Fermented barley can be employed as a component in beer and other types of alcoholic drinks.
History of Barley
The origins of barley are Southeast Asia and Ethiopia, where it has been for many centuries. It was used as food for humans and animals and also for making alcoholic beverages. The most ancient recorded instance of alcoholic drinks from barley was that of barley wine in Babylonia in 2800 BC. Also, barley water has been a part of traditional medicine for many centuries.
Barley was used by the athletes in Greece and was also a staple ingredient in the bread-making process. Most athletes confirmed that their immense strength was obtained from the use of barley. Roman gladiators also continued the use of barley to attain increased body strength. In China, barley was promoted as a grain that increased virility. As of today, barley is produced across the world and the United States is one of the leading producers of barley.
Health benefits of Barley
- Barley consumption is known reduce the blood pressure and lower the blood sugar and cholesterol levels. People with high cholesterol can gain from barley consumption as the fiber content in it can reduce the blood pressure and cholesterol. Barley tends to slow down the process of stomach emptying and hence the appetite can be controlled due to feelings of satiety. This can eventually result in lowering of the insulin and blood sugar levels.
- Barley has been recommended for increasing the endurance levels and strength for thousands of years. It is also known to promote loss of weight.
- Research indicates that barley can be used to alleviate digestive abnormalities such as stomach pain, diarrhea, and inflammatory bowel disorders.
- Barley consumption is also known to prevent certain cancers such as stomach cancer and to treat a lung disorder called bronchitis.
- Boils on the skin may be treated by the application of barley
- Barley is a rich source of vitamins, fatty oils, proteins and carbohydrates.
- It can be used as a natural sweetener and can thus lower the excess consumption of refined sugar. This can lower the risk to developing diabetes and other related disorders.
Side effects of Barley
- Consumption of barley foods in normal amounts, during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, is not known to cause any side effects. However, intake of barley sprouts can cause harmful side effects.
- Consumption of barley flour can sometimes result in asthma
- Barley has gluten content. Hence, individuals with celiac disease should avoid its consumption as it can worsen the condition.
- Barley has an effect on blood sugar levels. Hence one should abstain from barley consumption at least for two weeks prior to any surgery, as barley can hinder blood sugar levels during and post surgery.
- Barley has fiber which interferes with the absorption of medications by the body. This can nullify the effect of prescription drugs.
- Barley lowers the blood sugar levels and when it is consumed with diabetic medications, there is increased risk of blood sugar becoming too low.
Barley Nutrition Facts
Nutritional value per 100 g
|Energy||1,474 kJ (352 kcal)|
|- Sugars||0.8 g|
|- Dietary fiber||15.6 g|