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29 Benefits Of Barley You Probably Never Knew

29 Benefits Of Barley You Probably Never Knew

Barley is a simple grain which most of us have in our pantries, yet very few of us know its many health and beauty benefits. Barley is relatively low in calories, high in fiber, and packed with vitamins and nutrients. Hulled barley is especially beneficial, due to its bran content.

Here are 29 amazing health and beauty benefits of barley:

Health Benefits

1. Great for Breakfast

Barley is nutrient rich and makes a satisfactory meal. It is packed with fiber and essential minerals such as: selenium, copper, tryptophan, and manganeseIt gives you energy and keeps you feeling satisfied for a good part of the day. The manganese in barley helps you to feel happy and energetic; it also calms your nervous system.

Harvard researchers studied the effects of consuming a grain breakfast on a daily basis. This study found, over a period of 19 years, that men who enjoyed a daily morning bowl of whole grain cereal had a 29% lower risk of heart failure. Not bad for a simple grain!

2. Helps You Lose Weight

Barley helps to reduce weight, partially because of several kinds of essential amino acids, and partially because of its fiber content. Barley modulates your blood sugar levels, thus avoiding the sugar peaks and drops usually associated with the fat storage process.

Barley, compared to other grains, is low in calories and at the same time it makes a satisfactory meal, helping you feel full longer, so you don’t need to eat as frequently.

3. Helps to Stabilize Blood Pressure

A five week long study compared different grain combinations; it showed that adults who increased their intake of barley experienced a reduction in blood pressure.

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4. Reduces Risk of Cancer and Heart Disease

Barley is rich in plant lignans which protect against breast and other hormone-dependent cancers as well as heart disease. By reducing free radicals and visceral fat, and stabilizing the blood pressure, barley minimizes our chances for cancer and heart disease.

5. Reduces Symptoms of Arthritis

Barley has Copper, which may also be helpful in reducing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Copper disarms free radicals, thus helping cell regeneration. Copper is essential in cross-linking collagen and elastin, making bones and joints flexible.

6. Helps Develop and Repair Body Tissue

Barley is also rich in phosphorus which aids in cell regeneration. Phosphorus helps in forming bone. It is an essential building block of the genetic code and plays an important role in healthy cell membranes and our nervous system.

7. Great Source of Niacin

Barley is a great source of niacin (vitamin B) that provides numerous benefits to our cardiovascular system. Niacin can help reduce bad cholesterol, lipoprotein (a), and free radicals. It also lowers the risk of blood clots.

8.  Reduces Visceral Fat

A Japanese study followed 44 men with high cholesterol and found that adding barley to their diet significantly reduced serum cholesterol and visceral fat, known contributors to cardiovascular risk.

9. Lowers Bad Cholesterol

The propionic acid produced from barley’s insoluble fiber may also be partly responsible for its cholesterol-lowering properties. It lowers the activity of HMG-CoA reductase enzyme and helps lower blood cholesterol levels.

10. Inhibits Formation of Gallstones

Barley helps reduce levels of triglycerides. Some may avoid gallstones with an increased intake of Barley. Also, barley is rich in insoluble fiber. There is a hypothesis that insoluble fibre reduces the secretion of bile acid which contributes to gallstone formation.

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11. Indispensable for Woman

 UK researchers looked at how fiber intake affects pre-menopausal women. They found that a diet rich in fiber from whole grains, such as barley, offered up to a 50% reduction in breast cancer.

 Yet another study looked at postmenopausal women and showed a reduction in risk of 34% for breast cancer in women who consumed whole grains, such as barley.

12. Barley Grass Juice is Great for Digestion

Barley grass juice helps digestive juices work harder. It increases your metabolism and makes you feel lighter. It is especially beneficial for people who feel bloated.

13. Improves Immunity

 Barley is rich in plant lignans, which are good for friendly flora in your intestines. In turn, barley supports your immunity.

Additionally, barley is high in vitamin C, which also supports your immune system. Barley makes you feel full, satisfied, and relaxed.

14. Helps to Prevent Osteoporosis

 Barley and barley grass contains manganese, phosphorus, and copper, which are good for healthy bones. Barley juice is very high in calcium, making your bones stronger.

15. Promotes Optimal Health

Fiber in barley minimizes the amount of time food stays in your colon. In addition, it is a good source of selenium, which has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer. Selenium is an essential component for thyroid health. It is also an antioxidant defense and an immune builder. Selenium has also been shown to repair damaged cells in the body.

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16. Helps to Cure Anemia

The iron contained in barley increases the blood volume, which prevents anemia and fatigue.

17. Slows Arteriosclerosis

Barley slows atherosclerosis, which is the plaque build-up that narrows blood vessels.  It is a good source of vitamin B (niacin). Niacin may help prevent free radicals, while reducing bad cholesterol and blood clots.

18. Supports the Kidney

Barley facilitates proper kidney function.

19. Healthy Bones

Barley and barley grass contains phosphorus and copper which are good for the overall health of bones. Barley juice is much higher in calcium than milk.

20. Healthy Teeth

Barley is rich in phosphorus, calcium, and Vitamin C. These are great contributors to healthy bones and teeth. Barley juice especially, is high in calcium. It also contains manganese, phosphorus, and copper which are good for your bones and teeth.

Beauty Benefits of Barley:

21. Contributes to Healthy Skin

Barley is packed with vitamin C, antioxidants, and minerals. All these are excellent for your skin. It has been proven to reduce inflammation in the body. You know the expression: healthy body, healthy skin.

22. Has Healing Properties

Barley is rich in zinc, which promotes healing.

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23. Improves Skin Elasticity

Barley is rich in selenium. Selenium preserves skin elasticity. Selenium also improves many functions in your body, which are often reflected by your skin.

24. Creates Pleasant Skin Tone

Barley tightens skin and eliminates toxins, making your skin silky and pleasantly toned.

25.  Has Anti Aging Properties

The antioxidants in barley help make you look younger. Barley helps to eliminate toxins from the body, giving you the appearance of younger and healthier skin.

26. Healthy Hair

Nutritional deficiencies are often reflected in your hair. Barley contains vital minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants needed for the production of healthy hair.

27. Promotes Hair Growth

Barley is rich in nutrients and minerals such as thiamin, niacin, and Procyanidin B-3. These promote and stimulate hair growth.

28. Combats Hair Loss

 Barley contains iron and copper. It enhances production of red blood cells, and reduces hair loss.

29. Restores Hair Color

The Copper in barley helps create pigment for hair color.

Bringing Benefits of Barley to Your Table

You can increase your barley consumption in more than one way:

  • Make a tasty breakfast porridge
  • Use barley flour for baking
  • Add barley to your soups, stews, and salads
  • Use barley malt as a sweetener
  • Choose barley pasta
  • Add barley powder to your smoothie
  • Try barley grass juice

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Last Updated on October 5, 2020

Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss (The Ultimate Weight Loss Hack)

Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss (The Ultimate Weight Loss Hack)

Intermittent fasting weight loss is a type of diet that’s rapidly growing in popularity and becoming the way to lose weight. Scientists and nutrition experts like it, too. New books and articles on the topic are being published daily. Intermittent fasting is also popular with followers of the Paleo diet since our ancestors appear to have eaten this way for thousands of years.

I’ve been following this type of diet myself for 2 years. Doing so helped me lose and keep off 70 pounds without ever having to count calories, limit carbohydrates, or eat 6 to 7 meals a day.

This article teaches you all about intermittent fasting weight loss and details why it is one of the best weight loss diet hacks around. Once you finish, you will be able to implement into your diet and experience the benefits it offers almost immediately.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

As you may have figured from its name, intermittent fasting weight loss is a diet plan where you set fasting periods during the day. This is usually between 16-20 consecutive hours, but it can be as little as 12 hours or as much as 24 hours (or even 36 hours).

While fasting you can eat and drink low calorie or calorie-free foods. Think coffee, tea, water, and vegetables.

The more time you spend fasting every day, the better your results. You can do these fasts as often as you like. Again, the more often you do so, the better[1].

Getting Started With Intermittent Fasting

Following this diet plan is super simple. All you have to do is choose a period of time during the day that you will fast. This should be between 16-20 hours.

The longer you fast each day, the better. Don’t worry about calorie restriction or measuring carbohydrates. Just focus on going about your day until it’s time to eat.

It’s best to choose a set period of time to conduct your fast. I like to fast from 8 PM to 4 PM the following afternoon. I’ll then have my first meal of the day and a snack or two a few hours later. Once 8 o’clock rolls around, it’s back to fasting.

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My experience with intermittent fasting is that it’s best to start with a 16 hour fast (i.e. 8PM one evening to 12PM the next day) for the first 1-2 weeks. Once you are comfortable with this schedule, you can increase the amount of time you spend fasting. Do this by adding 30 minutes to each fast until you get to where you are fasting for 20 hours at a time.

You don’t have to fast every day in the beginning either. You may be more comfortable breaking in slowly with 2 or 3 days per week, or trying alternate day fasting. Add additional days of intermittent fasting as you become more comfortable with this style of eating.

Tips To Make Intermittent Fasting Easier

1. Drink Plenty of Water

Squeeze a little lemon or lime juice into your water to help get rid of any cravings you experience. You can also drink coffee, tea, or other calorie-free beverages. After a few weeks, you will find that intermittent fasting keeps you from craving sugar entirely.

2. Take in Caffeine in the Morning and Early Afternoon

The caffeine in coffee and tea may actually make intermittent fasting weight loss a little easier since it’s good for curbing your appetite. Be careful not to overindulge as this may lead to you feeling a little too wired. I also recommend these natural energy boosting tips to keep you going during the day.

3. Avoid Artificially Flavored Drinks

One type of calorie-free drink that should be avoided are diet sodas and other beverages that use artificial sweeteners like Splenda and Sweet & Low. Studies show that the can actually stimulate your appetite[2] like a drink that contains sugar and cause you to overeat.

4. Don’t Gorge at Your First Meal

The first meal after your fast should be the amount of food you typically eat. Binging will only make you feel awful and diminish the benefits you get from the fast.

To avoid this, try creating meal plans, at least for the first few weeks. This will help you get into the rhythm of eating regularly portioned meals during your eating window.

5. Minimize Processed Carbohydrates and Sugars

While intermittent fasting does make it possible to eat a little looser than normal, you should still eat as little bread, pasta, rice, etc. as possible.

Focus instead on eating protein from beef, fish, or pork, carbohydrates from vegetables, fruit, and sweet potatoes, and healthy fats from foods like almonds, avocados, fish, and olive oil.

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You can find some carb sources that will aid your weight loss journey here.

How Intermittent Fasting Helps You Lose Weight

Eating this way has many benefits with regard to weight loss. The first is that when you’re fasting, your body will be forced to use its stored body fat for energy. Burning calories this way, instead of from the food you’re eating throughout the day, will help you experience significant weight loss, but specifically lose weight from any excess body fat you’re carrying.

This means that you won’t just be thinner, but you will also look better and be much healthier than if you lose weight the old-fashioned way[3].

Intermittent fasting can help optimize the release of the key fat-burning hormones in your body. This is especially true for the two most important hormones: human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin.

Human growth hormone plays a key role in turning on your body’s fat-burning furnace so that it gets the calories you need to work and play from stored body fat. Studies show that fasting can significantly increase the production of HGH[4].

The influence intermittent fasting weight loss has on insulin is just as impressive and possibly more important. Keeping your insulin levels low and steady is key to losing excess fat and keeping it off.

Diets that are rich in processed carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice) and simple sugars (candy, cookies, and soda) have the opposite effect. They cause your insulin levels to rapidly spike and then crash every time you eat one of these foods. The net result of this phenomenon is that your body will store more of what you eat as excess body fat instead of burning it off as energy.

Chronically elevating your insulin levels like this can also lead to the development of type II diabetes, obesity, and other chronic health problems. Intermittent fasting easily solves this problem.

One study found that men who participated in intermittent fasting had “dramatically lower insulin levels and significantly improved insulin sensitivity”[5].

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This happens because you’re not giving your body food, so it will not produce insulin, allowing insulin levels to balance out until you eat again. This helps your body stay in a calorie and fa-burning state. You’ll also find that it gives you more energy throughout the day.

Another great weight loss benefit of intermittent fasting is that hunger pangs and cravings that may normally plague you throughout the day will be reduced, if not altogether eliminated. This is probably due to its ability to balance your insulin and blood sugar levels and, in turn, help correct other hormonal imbalances.

Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss FAQs

Now that you know what intermittent fasting is and how to get started, it’s time to answer your other questions.

Below are answers to the questions frequently asked about intermittent fasting. These answers should help you and make getting started a lot easier.

How Much Weight Will I Lose?

The amount of weight you lose with fasting is determined by how often and long your fasts are, what you eat afterward, and other factors. Fasting for 16-20 hours a day can help you safely lose 2-3 pounds of fat every week.

While losing this much weight every week is great, it’s how it makes it happen that’s really cool. Losing weight with intermittent fasting means that you will never have to count calories or plan and prepare several meals a day.

Can I Work out While Fasting?

Yes, you can. In fact, doing the right type of workout while fasting will help you lose weight faster and even build muscle.

The best workouts to do while fasting for weight loss are 3-4 intense strength training workouts weekly. This means anything from standard strength training to kettlebell or body weight workouts.

Focus on doing 3-4 total body exercises per workout with as little rest as possible between sets. Doing this will help you burn more calories during and after your workout. You’ll also build muscle, which will help you look and feel better as the weight comes off.

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Won’t I Lose Muscle When I Fast?

First of all, you aren’t fasting long enough for your body to start breaking down muscle for energy. You have, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of calories from your stored body fat to use before that will begin to happen. Studies actually show that even after fasting for 3 days, no muscle is lost.

Is Fasting Safe?

As long as you are healthy, not pregnant, and aren’t taking medications, fasting is safe. Like all diets, you should discuss it with your doctor before beginning an intermittent fasting style of dieting.

I also feel that it may not be smart to follow this type of diet when you’re especially stressed. Since this diet can be a little stress-inducing at first, doing so when your ability to be relatively stress-free and rested probably isn’t a good idea.

Are There Any Supplements I Can Take to Make Fasting Easier?

As with any other weight loss plan, it’s a good idea to take a few nutritional supplements to ensure that your daily requirements are met. This includes a once or twice daily multi-vitamin, fish oil, and vitamin D.

I’ve also found taking 10 grams of branch chain amino acids before and after my workouts really helps, too. They’re great for giving you more energy during your workout and decreasing post-workout muscle soreness.

For supplements to specifically help with digestion, check out this article.

Conclusion

Now you know what intermittent fasting is and how it can help you lose weight quickly, safely, and pretty much effortlessly.

If you want to give it a try, find a fasting schedule that fits with you lifestyle and give it a go.

More About Intermittent Fasting

Featured photo credit: Toa Heftiba via unsplash.com

Reference

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