Benefits of Barley
What is Barley?
Barley is an important cereal grain farmed throughout the world in temperate regions. Barley is one of the oldest crops. With fiber, vitamins, and minerals, barley is a complete grain. These nutrients provide a range of health advantages. This article covers several varieties of barley grains, their nutritional value, health advantages, side effects, risks, methods for preparing and consuming barley, and a few easy recipes.
- Barley belongs to the grass family.
- Hordeum vulgare is its scientific name.
- The Egyptians and the Greeks used barley as a nutritious food source and a medicine
- Barley is known as Jau in India and is utilized for food and animal feed.
Types of barley
Barley is generally used in different forms and may include
- Hulled barley
- Hulless barley
- Pearled barley
- Barley flakes
- Barley Grits
- Bran flour
- Hulled barley is treated as little as possible by carefully eliminating the inedible hull and preserving the outer bran.
- Nutrient content is higher in whole-grain, hulled barley than in refined, pearled barley.
- The outer hull of this kind of barley is generally detached from the kernel during harvest because it is so lightly attached.
- This reduces processing time while retaining all of the bran and germ.
- Available in most groceries and are polished barley that has undergone processing to remove the fibrous exterior hull and some or even all of the bran layer.
- In a process similar to that used to make rolled oats, barley kernels are steamed, rolled, and dried to produce flakes.
- Due to their larger surface area and gentle steaming, barley flakes cook more quickly.
- Grits are created by breaking up barley kernels into smaller bits.
- Grits made from hulled or hulless barley are entire grains, whereas grits made by shredding pearl barley are not.
- Barley bran is frequently ground into flour and consumed independently due to its high fiber and nutritional content.
Nutritional Value of Barley
The nutrients in uncooked, hulled, and pearl barley are displayed in the following table per 100 grams (g).
|Nutrient per 100 g
|Hulled barley (4)
|Pearled barley (5)
(Note: g – grams, mg – milligrams, mcg – micrograms.)
Additionally, vitamin A, beta carotene, vitamin K, Vitamin E, folate, and B vitamins like thiamin, niacin, pyridoxine, lutein, and zeaxanthin are abundant in barley. ,
Barley’s health benefits and uses
It has numerous health benefits when consumed and may include the following:
- Reduces bad cholesterol. (LDL)
- Reduces the risk of heart disease.
- Manages blood sugar levels.
- Helps in weight loss.
- Improves bone health.
- Improves digestion.
- It may prevent colon cancer.
To discuss the above health benefits of barley in detail
Reduces bad cholesterol (LDL)
- Adding barley to the diet decreases total and LDL cholesterol.
Reduces blood pressure
- Including whole grain foods in a healthy diet, whether high in insoluble or soluble fiber, helps lower blood pressure.
Reduces the risk of heart disease
- Increasing fiber through barley consumption in a balanced diet can lower cardiovascular risk factors by increasing good cholesterol (HDL) levels and decreasing bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in the blood
Manages blood sugar levels
- Barley made from whole grains lowers blood sugar levels and helps to increase insulin sensitivity. ,
Helps in weight loss
- Barley’s soluble fiber promotes weight loss by reducing hunger and boosting feelings of fullness.
Improves bone health
- The calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, and zinc in barley facilitate improved bone structure and strength. , ,
- Due to its high fiber content, barley aids digestion by encouraging a healthy gut flora balance and assisting food in passing through the digestive tract.
May prevent colon cancer
- A slight reduction in the incidence of colorectal cancer was linked to dietary fiber intake, especially fiber from cereal and whole grains. ,
Prevents chronic diseases
- To ward off chronic illnesses, one should be advised to consume high-fiber foods, such as barley.
How is Barley different from other grains?
What is the difference between Oats and barley?
- Oats are a secondary crop produced from a weed of primary cereal grasses like wheat and barley, whereas barley is a primary crop developed as cereal grass.
- Studies have shown that peak glucose and insulin levels after eating barley are much lower than after eating oats
- Niacin and Vitamin B6 are more abundant in barley than in oat, whereas thiamin, pantothenic acid, and folate are more abundant in oat.
- Compared to barley, oats are higher in calcium and protein.
- Barley has a higher fiber content than oats.
Difference between barley and wheat
- Both grains are healthy, but barley is higher in fiber and cholesterol-lowering beta-glucan, and its processes with less nutritional loss than wheat.
- While wheat is richer in niacin, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, folate, and vitamin E, hulled barley is richer in riboflavin, thiamine, magnesium, iron, zinc, and potassium.
- Since the majority of the fiber in wheat is located in the bran-rich part of the grain, large amounts of fiber are lost during milling. At the same time, barley is exceptionally high in dietary fiber even after processing.
How to use Barley?
- Barley does include antinutrients, which hinder the body’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients, just like all whole grains. The antinutrient content of barley may be decreased, and its nutrients may be absorbed more by soaking or sprouting the grain.
- Due to the outer bran layer in hulled barley, soaking time is longer before cooking. soaking will shorten the cooking process and produce the best flavor and texture.
- Pearled barley does not need soaking before cooking.
A few simple recipes of barley may include
- Barley is a great option to be added to dishes like stews, soups, cereals, or broths.
- Barley risotto can be made by replacing Arborio rice with barley.
- Instead of using oats in breakfast porridge, try barley flakes.
- One can substitute rice or quinoa with barley.
- When baking, we can combine barley flour with wheat flour.
- Add cooked barley with vegetables and dressings to make a healthy and tasty salad.
Side effects of Barley
Consuming barley is generally safe. However, in some people, they may produce side effects like:
- Abdominal pain
- Barley contains gluten, so no one with celiac disease, a gluten allergy, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity should consume it.
- All goods containing malted barley, including malted beverages, beers, ales, lagers, and stouts, are considered “barley products.”
- To prevent adverse effects like bloating, people who want to transition to a high-fiber diet should gradually add fiber.
Barley is a highly healthful and versatile grain. It may be readily added to several meals, is affordable, and can be eaten warm or cold. Or one might purchase barley-containing whole-grain bread. It provides several health advantages and can shield people from chronic ailments, including diabetes, heart disorders, etc. To take advantage of the most benefits, skip pearled barley and choose whole-grain alternatives such as hulled barley or hulless barley.