Barley is a wonderful, easily found and multipurpose whole grain cereal having nut like flavor used by the people as a healthy and nutritious diet especially for kids. It resembles like wheat and found everywhere in India. It is found in many varieties such as hulled barley or dehulled barley with removed outer hull, pearl barley (polished barley), barley flakes (flattened or sliced barley), barley grits (toasted and cracked barley), pot or scotch barley (polished and removed outer hull) and etc. Jau (as commonly famous in India) or barley was first originated in the regions of Ethiopia and Southeast Asia where it was used as a healthy and energetic food for humans and animals as well as making alcoholic beverages, staple bread and etc. It was also used in ancient times in various other types such as barley water, barley tea and etc for medicinal purposes. It has been started cultivating to a great level in many other countries like Germany, South America, Spain, Canada, United States, India, Russian Federation, France and etc.
Benefits of Barley (Jau)
Here I am going to discuss with you some well known and outstanding health benefits of the barley so that we can add this amazingly health nourishing diet as a healthy and energetic diet to our daily diet plan carefully. It has been famed all over the world nutritionally as it contains very healthy nutrients such as molybdenum, selenium, manganese, dietary fibers, copper, B group vitamins, chromium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and so many. Some of its nutritional health benefits are as follows:
Benefits of Barley for Heart
Keeps Heart Healthy
- Insoluble dietary fibers found in the barley produces propionic acid after getting digested which has cholesterol lowering property by inhibiting the action of enzyme involved in producing cholesterol in liver thus keeps heart healthy and well functioning.
Reduces Total Cholesterol Level
- Jau is also rich source of beta glucan means soluble dietary fibers which has cholesterol lowering property by getting binded with bile acids and removing out of the body. After the loss of bile acids liver uses more cholesterol for making required amount of bile acids to digest fat. In this way, it helps in reducing total cholesterol level in the blood.
Reduces Risk of Atherosclerosis
- Regular intake of barley protects heart from various cardiovascular risk factors as it is rich source of a B group vitamin called niacin. It helps in reducing the total cholesterol and lipoprotein levels in the blood plasma and reduces the risk of atherosclerosis.
Keeps Blood Vessel Healthy
- Niacin helps in keeping blood vessel walls healthy and hence proper blood flow throughout the body by preventing bad cholesterol oxidation from harmful free radicals.
Keeps Blood Pressure under Control
- Jau keeps blood pressure under control thus reduces the chance of heart attack, heart failure and stroke.
Benefits of Barley for Digestive System
Makes Digestive System Healthy
- It makes digestive system better by boosting its natural and proper functioning.
Reduces Risk of Digestive System Disorders
- Its high amount of dietary fibers assists in the proper passage of fecal matter thus decreases the risk of constipation, hemorrhoids (piles), colon cancer including other digestive system disorders.
Keeps Large Intestine Healthy
- Its availability of insoluble dietary fibers helps in improving the number of intestinal friendly bacteria in the large intestine.
Reduces Risk of Stones Formation
- Its richness of insoluble dietary fibers reduces the risk of gall bladder stones means gallstones formation.
Treats various Digestive Problems
- It helps in treating various digestive complaints such as diarrhea, inflammatory bowel conditions, stomach pain and etc.
Benefits of Barley for Women after Menopause
Reduces Effects of Menopause
- Barley helps in keeping postmenopausal women healthy and fresh by reducing the effect of menopause.
Reduces Risk of Heart Diseases
- It helps in reducing the risk of heart diseases and diabetes among postmenopausal women by managing their cholesterol level, blood pressure and heart rate.
Keeps Blood Vessels Healthy
- Jau lowers down the risk of developing atherosclerosis by preventing from the plaque formation in the blood vessels.
Benefits of Barley for Diabetes
Reduces Risk of Type-2 Diabetes
- Regular consumption of barley diet lowers down the risk of type-2 diabetes among men, women, postmenopausal women and etc.
Manages Secretion of Insulin Enzyme
- Barley is rich source of special mineral called magnesium which involves in managing the functioning more than 300 enzymes in the body including blood glucose level managing enzyme called insulin.
Reduces Blood Glucose Level
- Beta-glucan, a soluble fiber, slows down the absorption of carbohydrates from foods in the body thus reduces glucose level in the blood.
Benefits of Barley for Cancer
Restricts Growth of Cancerous Cells
- Since barley is a high fiber food, it protects body from the abnormal growth of cancerous cells especially women or postmenopausal women from breast cancer.
Reduces Risk of Cancers
- Regular intake of fibers rich diet reduces the risk of any type of cancer in the body such as colon, rectum, stomach, prostate and etc.
Inhibits Cancer Cells Proliferation
- It also contains selenium mineral which has capability to reduce the risk of colon cancer as it involves in the repair and synthesis of DNA damaged cells as well as inhibits cancer cells proliferation.
Balances Hormone Level
- It helps in preventing from the hormone induced cancers in the body as involves in balancing the hormone level.
Rich Source of Phytonutrients
- A special phytonutrient available in it called lignan (enterolactone) which helps in preventing from the breast cancer and coronary diseases.
Benefits of Barley for Respiratory System
Effective Remedy to Respiratory Problems
- It has been found that barley is very effective against the asthma and other respiratory problems like wheezing, difficulty in breathing and etc caused during childhood.
Benefits of Barley for Bones
Relieves Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Barley is very beneficial for the health of bones as it contains copper trace mineral which provides relief from the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Maintains Flexibility of Bones and Joints
- Copper acts as an essential cofactor for the enzyme superoxide dismutase which deactivates the harmful effects of free radicals. It also involves in the strengthening of collagen and elastin thus maintains the flexibility of bones and joints.
Benefits of Barley in Weigh Loss
Keeps Stomach Full for Long Time
- Barley contains high amount of soluble dietary fibers called beta-glucan which takes more time in digestion thus keeps stomach full for longer period of time and reduces frequency of meals hence involves in the weight management.
- High level of dietary fibers helps in suppressing the appetite and facilitates extra fat removal from the body thus assists in the weight loss.
Benefits of Barley for Immunity System
Strengthens Body Immunity
- Vitamin C is found sufficiently in the barley which supports and strengthening the body immune system hence reduces the chance of seasonal problems like cold, cough, fever and flu.
Enhances RBCs Count
- Iron enhances the red blood cells count and volume which improves body immunity to fight with anemia, fatigue, dizziness and etc.
Benefits of Barley for Hair
Prevents from various Hair Problems
- Healthy hair needs some essential nutrients on daily basis to get strength and prevented from hair problems such as hair thinning, hair loss, early hair graying, dandruff, weak hair follicles and so many. Regular consumption of the barley provides such hair benefits.
Prevents Early Hair Graying
- Copper mineral found in barley has capability to form hair pigment called melanin which provides hair a natural color thus prevents from early graying of hair.
Promotes Healthy Hair Growth
- B group vitamins like thiamine and niacin promote healthy hair growth by decelerating hair loss.
Prevents from Hair Loss due to Anaemia
- Jau enhances the production of red blood cells which in turn stimulates hair growth by combating the problem of anaemia.
Benefits of Barley Grass and Juice
Removes Body Toxins
- Barley grass is green seedling barley plant having high level of chlorophyll which helps in detoxifying the body from harmful toxins.
Cures Bone and Teeth Problems
- It contains phosphorus, manganese and copper minerals which are required for the healthy bones as well as curing bone and teeth problems like osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, joints problem and etc.
Treats various Disorders
- It is used for the special treatment of disorders of liver, skin, blood, gastro-intestinal disorders, gas formation, bloating, gastro-intestinal inflammations, Crohn’s disease, gastro esophageal reflux disease and etc.
Prevents from Free Radicals
- Barley leaf extract helps in deactivating free radicals thus prevents from various health disorders caused due to the free radicals.
Prevents from Carcinogens
- It protects the body tissues and cells from the effects of carcinogens because of its antioxidant activity of chlorophyll content.
Treats various Health Conditions
- It is also used to treat some other health conditions like HIV infection, detoxification of pollutants, weaknesses by boosting energy, boost immunity and etc.
Enhances Bone Density
- Barley juice is rich source of vitamin C, manganese, calcium, phosphorus and copper which boosts the strength and density of bones and make them stronger.
Relieves Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
- Barley grass juice provides relief from the symptoms of fibromyalgia such as muscle pain, tension, depression, weakness, fatigue and etc.
- Barley grass juice is a natural, healthy and powerful drink having rejuvenating effects on the body by promoting red blood cells production and damaging free radicals.
Promotes Cardiovascular Health
- Barley grass juice contains high amount of vitamins C and E which promotes the cardiovascular health.
Benefits of Barley Water
Treats Kidney and Bladder Disorders
- Barley water is a liquid form of barley prepared using water, barley and fresh barley juice which has been used for years for therapeutic purposes to treat kidney and bladder disorders.
Prevents from Stress
- Barley water helps in keeping kidneys healthy by preventing them from the excessive stress thus beneficial for the people suffering from ailments of kidney and bladder.
Benefits of Barley Water during Pregnancy
- It contains abundant amount of copper which induces hemoglobin formation in the body hence assists to combat with anemia among women during pregnancy or kids while growing.
Benefits of Barley and Barley water for Skin
Makes Skin Healthy
- It is commonly famous as jau all over the India which belongs to the grass family and widely used for making skin healthy.
Loaded with Healthy Nutrients
- It is packed with the healthy nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants which are very necessary for the skin health as well as protecting skin from various diseases.
Maintains Skin Elasticity
- Barley helps in maintaining the skin elasticity as it contains selenium which prevents from free radicals and maintains skin elasticity.
Improves Skin Tone
- It improves skin tone and facilitates skin tightening thus keeps skin more soft, supple, tight and younger look.
Prevents Skin Ageing
- It antiageing property prevents skin from the effects of aging by decelerating the signs of ageing.
Flushes out Toxic Materials
- Barley water helps in flushing out the toxic materials from the body as well as offering skin a clean, wrinkle free and toned texture.
Promotes Wound Healing
- It is good source of zinc which accelerates the wound healing process in the body whether it is applied topically or eaten orally.
Benefits of Barley Flour
- Barley flour is a very finely grinded whole barley considered as very nutritious having bran in its original form. It contains slightly lower calories and high level of fibers.
Benefits of Barley Powder
- Barley powder or green barley powder is a powdered form of barley grass having rich amount of vitamins and minerals used for various medicinal purposes.
Benefits of Barley Soup
- Barley soup is very tasty, healthy, energetic and nutritious food can be prepared at home by adding some other fruits and vegetables like mushrooms, tomato, shimla mirch, maize or corn and etc. It is full of health nourishing nutrients including vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, flavonoids, protein and good fat.
Benefits of Barley Tea
Barley tea can be is prepared using roasted barley at home however it is also available in the market in the form of tea bags or tea drinks. It has been using for years traditionally from the ancient time for detoxification, improving digestion, treating UTI (urinary tract infection) and various other health complications. Barley tea has lots of health promoting properties which are:
- It has antioxidant property and prevents from the age related cell death, free radicals effects, cardiovascular complications, neurodegenerative diseases, inflammatory problems and other chronic health disorders.
Maintains Normal Flow of Blood
- Jau is anticoagulative in nature helps in improving the blood fluidity by decreasing the blood viscosity thus maintains a normal flow of blood circulation all through the body.
Inhibits Bacterial Colonization
- It is antibacterial in nature as it has ability to inhibit bacterial colonization.
Other Health Benefits of Barley
Regulates Thyroid Hormone Metabolism
- Selenium found in it helps in regulating the thyroid hormone metabolism, involves in the antioxidant defense system as well as improving the immune functioning.
Richest Source of Powerful Antioxidants
- It is the richest source of powerful antioxidants such as quercetin, curcumin, catechins, ellagic acid and etc thus helpful in preventing from various diseases and age related health problems.
Source of Phosphorus
- Phosphorus mineral found in it actively involves as an essential component of the cell membrane and nervous system structure.
Contains Antidote Property
- It has antidote property means ability to prevent the spreading of toxic or poisonous materials in the body.
Rich Source of Phytochemicals
- Barley is the rich source of natural plant based chemicals called phytochemicals which helps in decreasing the risk of heart diseases, aging, diabetes, skin disorders, cancer and other chronic problems.
Instant Source of Energy
- It is very energetic diet which enhances body strength and endurance by providing instant source of energy.
Maintains Healthy Nerve Tissues and Blood Cells
- It contains folates and vitamin B12 which helps in maintaining healthy nerve tissues and blood cells.
Nutritional Benefits of Raw Barley per 100 g
(Source: USDA Nutrient Database)
Energy: 352 kcal
Carbohydrate: 77.7 g
Sugar: 0.8 g
Water: 10.2 g
Ash: 1.1 g
Dietary fibers: 15.6 g
Fat: 1.2 g
Saturated fat: 0.5 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 1.1 g
Monounsaturated fat: 0.3 g
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: 55 mg
Omega-6 Fatty Acids: 500 mg
Protein: 9.9 g
Thiamine (B1): 0.2 mg
Riboflavin (B2): 0.1 mg
Niacin (B3): 4.6 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5): 0.3 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.3 mg
Folate (B9): 23 μg
Vitamin A: 22 IU
Vitamin E: 20 mcg
Vitamin K: 2.2 mcg
Choline: 37 mg
Calcium: 29.0 mg
Iron: 2.5 mg
Magnesium: 79.0 mg
Phosphorus: 221 mg
Zinc: 2.3 mg
Copper: 420 mcg
Manganese: 1.3 mg
Selenium: 37 mcg
Potassium: 280 mg
Sodium: 12 mg
How to Select and Store
Always buy air tight packed barley packets whether it is pearled, hulled or flaked from the market in order to get maximum fresh barley and to store for little longer. Avoid buying moisture, discolored, wrinkled, light in weight and smelling barley from the market as they may be old. It can be stored at home at room temperature for months if placed in the tightly covered glass container at cool and dry place.
How to Enjoy
It can be enjoyed in many ways however; it should be washed well under running water to remove dirt and debris. Before cooking it should be soaked in the water or boiled. It is used to make bread, barley flour to make breads and muffins, barley flakes, stews, soups, cooked barley with mushrooms and etc recipes with sliced berries fruits.
Precautions, Side Effects and Disadvantages
Some side effects and disadvantages of barley need some careful precautions while eating which are mentioned below:
- As it is a gluten grain having gluten which may cause some adverse reactions like allergy and gastrointestinal upset to the people sensitive to it thus should be carefully taken.
- Sometime barley flour can cause asthma among sensitive people.
- Eating barley sprouts during pregnancy and breast feeding may cause some problems thus should be avoided.
- It should be avoided by the people suffering from the celiac disease as gluten sensitivity may cause the condition worse.
- As it has tendency to lower down the blood sugar level thus should be avoided before and after any surgery as it may interfere with the blood sugar control during surgery.
- It should also be avoided by the person on medications of diabetes as it may interact with sugar control.
- It is avoided while taking any medicine by mouth as it may decrease the effectiveness of medicines because of high fiber content.
- Barley flour dust may cause irritation to the eye, sinuses, nose and etc to some people.
- Eating fungus infected barley may cause Kashin Beck disease of bones thus should be taken care of.
How Much Barley to Eat a Day
As we have already discussed barley’s both aspects, positive and negative, we learned that it needs some careful precautions to get it’s all the nutritional health benefits as well as get prevented from its adverse effects. However, a normal and healthy person can have at least 25 to 40 g of whole grain fiber diet on daily basis but it is good to be consulted by the doctor before including to daily diet plan.