Health Benefits of Barley
If you are having a bad time suffering from asthma, arthritis, impotence, skin problems, anemia, obesity, constipation, diabetes, hypertension, kidney problems or heart disease; its time you should learn about the health benefits of barley. Recent researches say consuming whole grain barley regulates blood sugar to a great extent. The health benefits of barley actually counts from the eight essential amino acids.
As we come across too many ailments nowadays, it proves us even more that our regular diet lacks the important nutrients. One of the most important nutrients is fibre that we often tend to neglect. Barley is an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fiber that assures you of overall good health in the long term.
Before we move on to the health benefits of barley, you will be pleased to know that you can consume barley in many kinds of preparations like salads, soups, stew; and even with chicken, mutton or in tandoori style. So it will not add value just to your health but also your palate. Check lip smacking yet nutritious barley recipes here.
Health benefits of barley
Keeps colon and intestine healthy: Barley being an excellent source of fiber, it keeps your body toxin free. Barley grass, rich in dietary fiber acts as a food to the friendly bacteria of our large intestine. These bacteria help in fermenting the fiber content of the barley, thereby forming butyric acid, which again is the primary fuel for intestinal cells. Barley is greatly effective in maintaining a healthy colon. By keeping the intestine in proper health, barley helps you to decrease the movement time of feces and keeps your stomach clean. It reduces the chances of colon cancer and hemorrhoids greatly.
Prevents gallstones: Barley helps women to avoid gallstones effectively. Since barley is rich in insoluble fiber, it actually helps you to reduce bile acids secretion, thereby increasing insulin sensitivity and lowering the levels of triglycerides. Reportedly, in the articles of American Journal of Gastroenterology, women have 17% lower risk of having gallstones as compared to others not consuming fibrous diet.
Prevents osteoporosis: The phosphorus and copper content in barley grass assures of overall good health of bones. The phosphorous content in barley effectively cures bone and tooth ailments. If you have osteoporosis, barley can be your natural remedy. Barley grass juice is known to have eleven times greater calcium content than milk. Calcium, as we know is the key component to protect bones. The manganese content in barley works in association with B-complex vitamins thereby keeping the overall health upright. We need manganese for normal bone production, and in cases of iron deficiency anemia.
Supports immune system: Vitamin C content in barley is almost double than that of oranges. This vitamin particularly strengthens your immune system and reduces the chances of cold and flu. Iron improves the blood volume and thus prevents anemia and fatigue. It aids in proper kidney functioning and development of body cells. Barley has copper, which forms hemoglobin and red blood cells.
Preserves skin elasticity: Barley is a good source of Selenium that helps you to preserve the skin elasticity, thereby protecting it against free radical loss. Moreover, it also improves our heart, pancreas, immune system functioning. , Deficiency of selenium can lead to cancers of skin, colon, prostate, liver, stomach, and breast.
Controls blood cholestrol levels: Barley’s insoluble fiber yields propionic acid that helps keeping the blood cholesterol levels low. Barley being an excellent choice of both soluble and insoluble, doctors specifically recommend barley diet for its naturally low-fat content and zero cholesterol properties.
Checks diabetes: Barley works effectively on Type 2 diabetes. However, we can prevent this type of diabetes by losing weight, getting involved in vigorous physical activity and including abundant whole grain diet. Thereby, high fiber foods like barley should be essentially included in the daily diet by diabetic patients. Barley grain has all the essential vitamins and minerals, particularly beta-glucan soluble fiber that slows down glucose absorption. The December 2006 edition of Nutrition Research has proved that insulin-resistant men who consumed barley beta-glucan soluble fiber had much reduced glucose and insulin levels as compared to others.
Prevents heart disease & cancer: Barley has a type of phytonutrient known as plant lignans, which are transformed into friendly flora in our intestines into mammalian lignans. One of such lignans is called enterolactone, which helps us to prevent breast and other hormonal cancers and also coronary or heart disease.
Protects against atherosclerosis: Atherosclerosis is a condition when the artery wall thickens due to the coagulation of fatty materials such as cholesterol. Barley contains niacin (a B vitamin complex) that reduces the overall cholesterol and lipoprotein levels and minimizes cardiovascular risk factors. Postmenopausal women having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or cardiovascular diseases are specifically recommended to have barley at least 6 times a week.
Prevents asthma: 14.5 kDa is a barley endosperm protein and a major allergen in baker's asthma disease. This is an airborne occupational ailment, which is mostly prevalent in confectioneries. Barley proves to be very effective preventive measure for such kind of major wheat-flour allergens.
When you think of buying barley, the first thought might come as in what form I should buy barley. Barley is found in various forms and each of them has varied nutritional value. The whole grain barley has the ultimate nutrient value with its grain, leaves and even the extract of the grass.
Forms of Barley nutrition
Barley Grass is the seedling of the barley plant. This grass is usually harvested about 200 days after germination, while the shoots are not even a foot tall. People consume this in the form of young leaves is rich in minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and amino acids. Although barley grains have much more dietary fiber in comparison, but the grass has chlorophyll that detoxifies your body from harmful toxins.
Hulled Barley is also known as covered barley and is usually eaten after removing the inedible, fibrous outer hull. Once the hull is removed, it’s known as dehulled barley, pot barley or scotch barley. Hulled barley is a great source of healthy nutrients. Hulled barley takes much time to soak when used in regular cooking, however the value for time is attained with its utility. Dehulled barley is commercially popular as pearl barley. The process of removing the bran and polishing is known as "pearling".
Pearl Barley is easily available in the grocery stores and probably one of the most common ingredients for breakfast and snacks recipes all over the world. These are actually hulled barley that is processed and the bran is removed. This is processed into a host of barley products like flour, flakes, which resembles the oatmeal, and grits.
Barley Green Powder is well known for its medicinal benefits. It is actually the powder form of barley grass, sometimes mixed with added vitamins and minerals. Today many companies sell barley powder that comes from pure barley grass. These grasses are found in variable flavors and have superior solubility. Therefore you can also consume them as barley juice.
Barley Flour is often used alternatively as wheat flour or sometimes cake flour. The flour found from whole barley is richer in nutrition than pearl barley flour since the bran in the former form remains undamaged. This non-wheat flour is obtained from grinding whole barley. It contains some gluten and has been very popular in the confectioneries that tend to experiment with alternate kind of flours. It has a mild, nutty flavor. This flour has comparatively lower rates of calorie and higher rates of fibre.
Barley is easily available in the commercial shops all over the world in various forms. You need to know the exact form that shall cater to your needs. The pearled, flaked and hulled forms have different utilities, thus check your need before making the purchase.
Barley is found in both bulk containers and packed form; ensure its freshness before taking it home. If you buy barley in containers, check the date and also if it’s sealed properly. Even a little amount of moisture content in packaged barley can spoil the cereal, thus be careful while taking them in containers. Store barley in clean, glass containers having air tight covers and place it in a cool and dry place. During summers, it’s advisable to keep barley in the refrigerator.
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3) COMPARATIVE CHOLESTEROL-LOWERING EFFECTS OF BARLEY β-GLUCAN AND BARLEY OIL IN GOLDEN SYRIAN HAMSTERS11 Contribution J-2979, MT Agricultural Experiment Station.
Linji Wang, Stephen R. Behr, Rosemary K. Newman, C.Walter Newman
Nutrition Research - January 1997 (Vol. 17, Issue 1, Pages 77-88)