Barley water is made from barley, which is believed to be one of the oldest grains in the world.The power grain barley, which our generation commonly associates with beer, has long been used to make cereals, as a substitute to rice and to dish out other delicacies intrinsic to various regional cuisines.Although it is not a staple of most American diets, there is growing evidence that barley and barley-based foods have a variety of health benefits.
Barley water is a drink made from water that has been cooked with barley. Sometimes the barley grains are strained out. Sometimes they are simply stirred in and mixed with a sweetener or fruit juice to make a drink that’s similar to lemonade. Barley water is consumed in some cultures for health benefits.
Unstrained barley water is high in calorie content, but low in fat. An average cup of barley water can be 700 calories or more. Because of this high calorie content, you shouldn’t drink more than two servings of unstrained barley water per day. When barley water is strained, or when barley grass is boiled into a tea, the drink has far less calories, but also less fiber, which is the source of many of its benefits.
Five potential benefits of drinking barley water
1. Fiber boost
Many of barley’s health benefits come from it being an excellent source of dietary fiber. Fiber is essential for keeping the digestive system healthy, contributing to healthy bowel movements, and helping people avoid problems such as constipation.
Researchers have linked a diet high in dietary fiber to a reduced risk of developing some chronic diseases. For example, people who eat plenty of fiber have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Barley is a soluble fiber, meaning it can dissolve in water and provides the body with useful energy. Fiber can also be insoluble, meaning it passes through the digestive tract without breaking down and does not provide the body with energy.
The American Dietetic Association recommend that adult women eat 25 grams (g) and adult men eat 38 g of dietary fiber every day. Most people in the United States do not meet this target, so barley may be an easy way for people to increase their intake.
In addition to its high fiber content, barley also contains a mix of beneficial vitamins and minerals.
2. Home Remedy for Urinary Tract Infections
Since barley water acts as a diuretic it is considered to be a natural remedy for urinary tract infections, and children or adults are often recommended a few glasses of barley water on a daily basis till the infection subsides. It is also said to be a good remedy for kidney stones or cysts.
3.Controls blood sugar
Barley water has been tested for its ability to control blood sugar. Drinking unsweetened barley water can give you the benefit of controlling blood sugar spikes. People with diabetes may be particularly interested in the ability of barley water to lower blood sugar after eating. Barley water’s antioxidants help improve diabetes outcomes, too.
4. Helps balance gut bacteria
The balance of natural gut bacteria plays an essential role in keeping a person healthy. Studies have shown that consuming barley-based foods leads to a reduction of a gut bacteria called bacteroides.
While these bacteria are not usually a threat, they are the most common species found in anaerobic infections, which occur after an injury or trauma. These infections can affect the abdomen, genitals, heart, bones, joints, and the central nervous system.
5. Promotes Weight Loss
Since barley is an excellent source of fiber, barley water too retains this characteristic in some measure. It therefore proves to be a great option for those seeking to lose weight as it tends to fill you up for a longer time, thus cutting down on your food intake. Moreover, as it is good for digestion, it also stimulates the metabolism of fats. But this definitely doesn’t mean that you can indulge in fatty foods and expect barley water to work its magic.
How to make barley water
Barley water is easy to make. Many people choose to add natural flavorings, such as lemon, to the water to give it a better taste.
To make 6 cups of lemon barley water, a person will need:
¾ cup of pearl barley
2 lemons (juice and peel)
½ cup of honey
6 cups of water
A person can follow the steps below to make barley water:
Rinse the barley under cold water until water runs clear.
Put the barley in a saucepan, along with lemon peel and 6 cups of water.
Bring the mixture to the boil over a medium heat.
Turn down the heat and simmer for between 15 and 30 minutes.
Strain the mixture into a heatproof bowl and discard the barley.
Stir in the honey until it dissolves.
Pour into bottles and refrigerate until chilled.
Note that while the honey will enhance the flavor, it will also add sugar. People looking to reduce sugar in their diet may wish to replace honey with a pinch of stevia.
Are there any risks or side effects?
Barley contains gluten, so anyone with a wheat allergy or intolerance should avoid it.