Barley, unlike its brothers and sisters from the big cereal family, doesn’t enjoy the same notoriety in the world. If you ask someone what uses this cereal has, they will probably think a bit about it, because it might seem there is no use to it. A beer or whiskey drinker would surely know that barley is used to create these two alcoholic beverages. But does it have other uses, healthy ones? And, yes, you will find it in many dietary supplements, but also in powder form and so on.
Surprisingly barley is one the star cereals in the world, because it is a very healthy addition to human diet. It is considered a whole grain cereal since it is only an outer shell it is removed from it.
Barley is the first cereal that people have grown in the world, and since its beginnings it was used both for medicinal purposes, but also as food. Like any other cereal it contains a lot of minerals, proteins and vitamins, all essential to the functioning of the human body. It can be grown in any temperate climate and it is found in the wild in regions from Africa and Asia. It contains high levels of selenium, magnesium and iron. It also has high levels of antioxidants like beta-carotene, lutein, vitamin E and beta-glucan.
Protects and helps the digestive system
Both the barley grass and the grain are an important source of fiber for the organism. Fibers are very important to the human body because they help eliminate the toxins by stimulation a healthy digestion. Fiber helps creating bulk in the digestive track that results in an easier elimination of the stool and a healthy colon. It is also beneficial to the good bacteria that are in your stomach because it stimulates the digestives juices and therefore produce more bacteria that protects your digestive system.
Helps weight loss
Since barley is a cereal, so it contains fibers, it can also help when you want to lose weight. It stimulates the metabolism and increases fat burn. It helps you reduce your appetite by inducing a satiety feeling. Some studies have shown also that barley lowers the level of a hormone in your body, a hormone that is responsible for controlling hunger feeling. Some dieticians recommend eating barley, especially in the morning to help them with weight loss.
Keeps your heart healthy
Beta-glucan is possibly the most important element found in barley and it has multiple benefits for human health. These beta-glucans bind to bile acids and then are removed from your body together with your feces. As a result, the liver has to produce more bile acids and for this it needs cholesterol. So, to be able to create them, it will lower the cholesterol levels in your blood.
A low level of “bad cholesterol” together with a good functioning metabolism prevent the formation of blood clots in the arteries and therefore help avoiding heart ischemia. Vitamin B, also found in barley, it is known to minimize the cardiovascular risk factors. Barley is also beneficial for those that are already suffering from heart disease, because it contains magnesium and potassium that are able to reduce high blood pressure.
Protects against diabetes
It contains magnesium which is a very important mineral needed to control the insulin production. It also contains soluble fiber that if combined with water moves into your digestive system and lowers the blood sugar levels. Patients who are insulin-resistant are advised to incorporate barley in their diet, because there is constant research that shows that this particular cereal helps reducing insulin production.
Important for women’s health
Gallstones and osteoporosis are two affections experienced mostly by women. The insoluble fiber found in barley reduces the bile acid secretion and therefore prevents the formation of gallstones. Barley contains a high percentage of copper, but also phosphorus. These two elements are essential to the health of your bones. In addition, a juice made from barley powder contains more Calcium then milk, and we all know Calcium helps our bones.
Barley is also good for a strong immunity because the fibers help the stomach flora to develop that friendly bacteria that help our immune system. The antioxidants it contains are very good protection against free radicals and support cell regeneration therefore becoming a very efficient preventive natural treatment against cancer. Therefore, it is important to include in your diet natural products such as barley.