Have you thought about the many health benefits of barley?
When you think of barley, an array of beautiful artisan bread and soups probably spring to mind. Perhaps you think of a malty beer. But barley is so much more than these excellent products.
It’s a grain that can keep your body working wonderfully, and it can even help you lose weight! Here are a few of the health benefits of barley that we’ve listed for you.
1. Barley Is A Good Source Of Daily Nutrition
Although compared to other plants on our blog, barley still contains good amounts of nutrients that can start your day.
Vitamin B3 is the most prominent vitamin in barley. But you can also get vitamin A, B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, B12, Choline, C, D, E, and K.
For its mineral contents, you get calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc.
It’s also a good source of fiber and protein.
2. High Fiber And Low In Fat
Barley contains a lot of fiber. One cup of barley contains an average of 32 grams of fiber. This satisfies the American Heart Association‘s recommended daily dose!
You’ve probably heard many things about fiber. Yes, fiber keeps you ‘regular.’ Maintaining a diet that is high in fiber is sure to keep your digestive tract in working order.
Not only is fiber great for your guts, but it can also do wonders for your waistline.
Barley is chock-full of soluble fibers. These fibers form a gooey, sticky substance while being digested, and this substance can help you to feel fuller for a longer time.
Over time, this can lead to weight loss as it can curb your appetite or make you feel fuller faster.
We must admit, it is a little gross to think about soluble fibers turning into slime within the confines of your stomach. But it’s far less harrowing than suffering through another fad diet that won’t work!
3. Barley Provides Good Amount Of Iron
Barley may help prevent iron deficiency diseases like anemia because it’s a good source of it.
Good amounts of iron in your body can also prevent fatigue and improve blood volume by producing red blood cells.
These red blood cells carry nutrients and oxygen to all parts of your body.
4. It Can Keep The Gastrointestinal Tract Healthy
As you may have already known, barley is a good source of fiber. It keeps your stomach clean and gets rid of unwanted toxins in your body.
Consuming barley is an effective way of maintaining your colon healthy and your intestines in good health.
5. Barley Improves Your Body’s Immunity
Barley is a source of vitamin C which is an important nutrient that supports your immune system.
Furthermore, it contains lignan. Lignans are a large group of polyphenols that help promote the health of your intestines. Having healthy intestines also supports your immunity.
6. Aids In Having A Healthy Heart
The high fiber content of barley can do wonders for your digestion and can aid in weight loss. But did you know that it can also keep your heart healthy?
That’s right. Because barley has so much fiber, and fiber is good for your heart, barley can help prevent heart disease.
Heart disease is responsible for about 25% of all deaths in the US every year. Incorporating barley into your diet can prevent you from becoming a part of this statistic!
Well, barley contains a type of soluble fiber known as beta-glucan.
Beta-glucan lowers LDL cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol. It also raises HDL cholesterol, otherwise known as “good” cholesterol.
Maintaining a healthy balance between the cholesterols is integral in preventing heart disease.
Btw, another amazing food which can help you with your heart health is the queen of fruits, mangosteen. You can learn more about mangosteen health benefits here.
7. Barley Aids In Keeping Your Hair And Skin Healthy
The nutrients and antioxidants in barley are great for your skin.
It contains selenium that can improve the elasticity of your skin and the antioxidants delays aging in your skin cells which may appear as wrinkles and dark spots.
As for your hair, barley contains B vitamins that can promote hair growth.
The iron and copper in this grass also help indirectly in reducing hair loss.
8. May Protect Your Gallstones
The power of Barley’s fiber is at work again. This time it may be seen more in women. Barley seems to help women avoid developing gallstones.
The insoluble fiber found in barley helps reduce the secretion of bile acid thus increasing insulin sensitivity and lowering triglyceride levels.
In general, consuming more foods high in fiber reduces your risk of gallstones issues.
9. Barley Is A Good Source Of Antioxidants
Barley is a good choice if you’re looking to increase your antioxidants in your body.
To be more specific, it contains phytonutrients called lignan.
Antioxidants are found to help reduce oxidative damage to your cells which in turn helps prevent chronic diseases.
10. High Blood Sugar Is Not A Problem
Anyone struggling with their blood sugar levels, specifically those with diabetes, will know how difficult it can be to choose the right foods. Don’t despair. Choose barley!
Remember that type of soluble fiber we mentioned before? Beta-glucan strikes again, and this time it hits the sugar absorption rate in your guts!
This slimy stuff not only keeps your appetite at bay, but it also extends the amount of time it takes for your body to absorb sugars. This extended time helps lower your blood sugar levels significantly.
Barley also contains a significant amount of magnesium. It’s about 244 mg per cup. Magnesium is essential, as it helps your body to regulate blood sugar.
Many people with diabetes find that they naturally lack a healthy amount of magnesium.
Because barley contains this particular type of fiber and plenty of magnesium, it can be used to help keep diabetic individuals within a healthy blood sugar range. It can also be used to prevent the onset of diabetes.
A cup of barley a day may just keep a lot of ailments away!
11. Barley May Help Detoxify Your Body
Barley is considered to be a diuretic. It helps with the production and release of urine out of your body.
Together with this water waste are some of the toxins in your body.
To add more, because of its high fiber content, it supports your gastrointestinal tract and colon.
This promotes the healthy movement of your bowels thus keeping your gut.
12. May Help Fight Osteoporosis
There are articles written that barley juice has 11 times more calcium content compared to regular milk. The increased consumption of calcium will help preserve your bone health.
Barley also contains other nutrients like phosphorus, copper, and manganese which all help out also in the overall health of the bones.
13. Barley Has Anti-inflammatory Qualities
Choline is a nutrient that may help reduce inflammation. Barley contains betaine which your body can convert into choline.
This may be helpful to people who are suffering from inflammation-related conditions like allergies, arthritis, and asthma.
Consuming barley is easy. Barley is inexpensive. It can be used as a garnish in a dish, or as a side dish itself. But barley may not be for everyone.
If you’re not keen to eat the whole grain, you can also boil the barley in a large amount of water, and drink the water when it’s cooled of course. And maybe add a little honey or lemon juice.
The effects of barley, whether you choose to eat it or drink it, remain the same. It decreases appetite, lowers blood sugar, more regular bowel movements, possible weight loss, and a healthy heart.
However, there are a few key individuals who should either avoid barley entirely or should first consult with their physician before deciding on making such an addition to their diet.
Those with celiac disease should avoid grains such as barley.
Those with gluten intolerances should consult with their physician before attempting to consume barley.
Those with IBS should consult with their physician before consuming large amounts of barley.
Those taking insulin should be aware that barley can drastically lower blood sugar levels.
If you feel that any of these conditions apply to you, please consult a professional before taking action.
Or better yet, you should first talk it over with your doctor or health professional if it’s safe for you to consume barley.
Now that you know more about how amazing barley health benefits are, are you thinking of adding it to your diet if you still haven’t?
I personally like that it is high in fiber which does a lot of good things to your body.
Which one on the list of health benefits of barley do you like or need?
Please share this article with someone who you think may benefit from knowing more about barley.