Barley is one of the oldest cereal grains known to humans. During hot summer months, drinking barley water gives much relief and keeps the body cool, relieves burning sensation in urinary tract. Barley is known as jau in India and readily available in the market. Owing to its nutritional value barley is given to the convalescing persons to gain instant energy and for speedy recovery. These grains are rich in nutrients, fibre, minerals and vitamins etc. Especially soluble and insoluble fibre which are present in barley gives many benefits to the body.
- Barley contains both soluble and insoluble fibre which assures you good overall health over a long term. Insoluble fibre helps move the food quickly through the intestines and reduces the secretion of bile acids, making it an excellent nutrient for the digestive system. They prevent forming of gall stones.
- High content of insoluble fibre helps one to lose weight. Barley along with water swells in the stomach and makes you feel full for a long time.
- Selenium present in barley helps reduce the risk of cancer, by supporting the metabolic functions and helping the recovery of damaged cells. Selenium improves the functioning of your heart, pancreas and immune system. Deficiency of this mineral can cause skin, colon, prostrate, liver and stomach cancers. Barley contains phyto-nutrients called lignans one such lignan (enteroplactone) helps prevent breast cancer as well coronary diseases.
- Nutrients like copper, phosphorus and manganese present in barley not only make our bones stronger but also reduce the symptoms of arthritis. Copper disarm free radicals thus helping cell regeneration.
- Patients suffering from higher sugar levels in the blood can switch from rice to barley. This will definitely lowers the glucose level.
- By increasing the intake of wholegrain diets like barley, brown rice etc. irrespective of soluble or insoluble fibre, one can reduce cholesterol as well as high blood pressure.
- Boil fistful of barley with one litre water in a bowl and let it cool. Drinking this water is beneficial for kidney and bladder ailments. Instead of plain water you can drink this water at regular intervals. Do not throw the barley till you finish all the water. It gives energy too. When given to people with high fever it cools down the body temperature.
- Barley contains all the nutrients including proteins, carbohydrates, dietary fibre as well as vitamins and anti-oxidants that are vital to make our immune system strong. So include barley in your diet to reap all its health benefits.
- Barley flour can be mixed with wheat flour to make bread that has unique sweet and earthy taste.
- Add barley to your stews and soups to give them extra flavour.
- You can mix cooked barley with chopped vegetables and dressing to make a tasty cold salad.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna