Do you know barley or as locally known as ‘jau’ is called the ‘king of cereals’? Yes, although it is a common cereal of India and has been cultivated in the country for many decades, barley is not as popular as its other cousin —the wheat. The first cultivation of barley is reported back to some 13,000 years ago! If you’re a beer lover, maybe you’re already familiar with barley (yes, barley is processed to make beer and other alcoholic beverages) but apart from that barley has many health benefits too! In stores, barley is available in two forms – hulled (without the husk but intact bran) and pearl barley (which is the complete polished version). The hulled version has a nuttier taste while the pearl barley is easy to cook.
Health benefits of barley
- Rich source of fiber: As mentioned in Healthline, Barley provides natural fiber when consumed as whole grains. It is also rich in other minerals and vitamins including magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, molybdenum, manganese, and selenium, copper, vitamin B1, and chromium. Studies reported at Agricultural Research Service reveals that barley can reduce cholesterol levels. Further studies have proved that a fiber-rich diet can help reduce blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol.
- Barley for weight loss: Barley is an age-old grain that not many youngsters are aware of. Among many other health benefits, barley helps in weight loss. When consumed regularly, barley can reduce hunger pangs while it also promotes the feeling of fullness. Thus, barley positively contributes to weight loss.
- Barley for digestive health: The rich insoluble fiber content of barley plays an important role in digestive health. It helps in gastric emptying and absorption of nutrients in the small intestine. A scientific study further suggests that barley consumption can also help reduce the risk of gastrointestinal cancers.
- Barley for blood sugar: Diabetes is one of the most common lifestyle diseases. While several lifestyle changes are being suggested to reduce and control the risk of blood pressure, the dietary fiber and other nutrient content of fiber is said to have a positive effect in controlling blood sugar level.
- Barley for good bone health: Barley has a high content of calcium, copper, magnesium, and zinc that contributes to improving overall bone health.
How to incorporate barley in your diet
Barley is affordable, barley is rich in nutrients, and barley is healthy. If you haven’t considered incorporating barley in your diet yet, now is the time to do so. Apart from barley water, you can consume barley in many ways – soups, stews, and bakes. Incorporate barley in your age-old recipes to give a nutty twist. Or, check out for new recipes here and here. Barley water is also a great way to incorporate your daily dose of fiber in your diet. Making it is super easy, but if you still need a recipe, you can find one here. To enhance the flavor, consider adding a dash of lemon and honey to it. Remember, when barley is cooked, it increases three times of its volume. Ideally, a person should eat half a cup of cooked barley a day. Consume barley daily to reap its benefits for life long.