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:
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 manganese. It 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.
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.
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.
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.
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