February 29, 2024

Barley Water – Health Benefits, Nutrition, and Recipes

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A nutrient powerhouse, barley water can cut cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of heart disease, lower BP and help aid weight loss.

We often trust fancy store-bought things over homemade and traditional ones. Barley water is one such elixir of health that deserves all our love and attention.

Barley or Hordeum Vulgare is a member of the grass family and is one of the first and the oldest cultivated crops globally. It had its origin in Eurasia. In India, barley is a major cereal crop. Cultivation of barley at a large scale happens in states like UP, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Punjab.

Barley water is not a new thing. It has its roots in ancient traditions across the world. For example, Kykeon, a mix of water, barley, and other natural ingredients, was part of ancient Greek culture. The Brits’ version of barley water is a concoction of boiling pearl barley, lemon pulp, fruit juice, and sugar. In Southeast Asia, people drink unfiltered barley water and scoop out the soft-boiled grains. India’s version of barley water, the Sattu, is a popular drink in north and east India, especially Punjab, Bihar, and UP.

The whole grain is rich in vitamin B-complex, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, selenium, zinc, copper, protein, amino acids, dietary fibre, beta-glucans, and various antioxidants. Barley water helps flush out all the toxins from your body, boosts immunity, and improves overall health.

Read on to know more about the health benefits of this fantastic drink!

What is Barley Water?

Barley water is an age-old traditional drink that is popular across many parts of the world. To make your barley water, you have to boil some barley in water, strain the water to remove barley grains and add sugar or lemon as per your taste. Voila! Your very own healthy barley drink is ready.

Nutritional Facts of Barley:

1 cup of boiled barley contains:

  • Calories – 170 grams
  • Protein – 5 grams
  • Fat – 0.5 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 37 grams
  • Fibre – 7 grams
  • Sugar – 0 grams 

Barley Water Contains:

  • Iron
  • Folate
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Selenium
  • Vitamins
  • Zinc

11 Health Benefits of Barley Water

1. Lowers Cholesterol

High in insoluble fibre, barley water can help cut blood cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of developing heart diseases.

Studies show that barley contains beta-glucans, a type of fibre that helps in reducing cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides by binding to bile acids. This in turn prevents its formation to an extent and increases its excretion.

2. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels

A recent study by Lund University, Sweden, proved that barley water is highly beneficial for diabetic patients as it helps stabilize blood glucose levels in the body.

The beta-glucans present in barley help slow down the absorption of glucose after a meal, reducing the rise of glucose and insulin. As a result, it helps to improve insulin resistance.

3. Helps Prevent Atherosclerosis

In atherosclerosis, the arterial walls thicken and obstruct the blood flow. As a result, it increases the chances of developing cardiovascular disease.

Research states that barley water helps in lowering high blood pressure, another contributing factor to cardiovascular disease and stroke.

4. Prevents UTIs

Drinking barley water is an excellent natural remedy for urinary tract infections (UTIs). It is a natural diuretic; it increases urination and helps flush toxins and infection-causing bacteria from the body. 

5. Improves Kidney Health

It helps cleanse the kidneys and helps treat issues such as cystitis, kidney stones, and high creatinine levels. A form of water it helps to keep the body hydrated. It also helps the kidney to flush out toxins from the body.

6. Aids Healthy Pregnancy

Barley water is full of nutrients, and it is a perfect health drink for pregnant women. It is ideal as it promotes digestion, prevents constipation, and eases morning sickness.

In addition, its diuretic nature helps treat water retention during pregnancy. The FDA recommends eating barley as one of the main whole grains during pregnancy since consuming fortified cereals may sometimes not be enough

7. Gives Clear Glowing Skin

Drinking barley water flushes toxins from the body, giving you clear and glowing skin. The presence of a compound called azelaic acid helps treat mild-to-moderate acne.

The antioxidants in barley water help fight free radicals and reduce the signs of ageing. Furthermore, the selenium present in barley provides proper elasticity to the skin and prevents damage by free radicals. It has been scientifically proven that barley water hydrates the skin and fights skin-ageing signs like wrinkles and fine lines.

When applied directly to the skin, it brightens the skin and fights infections. Zinc present in barley heals wounds and other skin damages. 

8. Improves Digestion

Barley has the highest fibre content among all food grains. A cup full of barley water aids the digestion process and stimulates the metabolism of fats. Thus, it is beneficial to treat digestive problems such as constipation, haemorrhoids, and gastritis.

Acting as a probiotic, it promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria. Regular consumption of barley water can solve all your digestive issues easily.

The Maharishi University of Management, an ayurvedic institute recommends adding barley to our daily diets for better bowel movements.

9. Boosts Immunity

With a plethora of nutrients and free radical fighting properties, regular consumption of barley water can boost your immunity, as stated in this research.

It is a natural source of iron, zinc, vitamins, and minerals that help to improve immunity and keep infections at bay. Furthermore, iron in barley improves blood volume and tackles issues like low haemoglobin and anaemia.

10. Prevents Body Heat

Replace your nimbu pani with a glassful of chilled barley water and observe the difference in your health. Apart from hydrating the body, it helps reduce internal body heat, thanks to its natural cooling and soothing properties. Add fresh lemon juice and rock salt to enhance the flavour. 

11. Promotes Weight Loss

Barley is rich in fibre that helps keep one full for a long time. Consuming this pre-meal drink prevents overeating and aids weight loss by maintaining smooth bowel movements.

Barley Water Recipes

Nowadays, everything is available readily. However, a store-bought bottle of barley water lacks the nutrition of homemade barley water. So if you want the nutrition quotient of your barley water to remain intact, do try this simple recipe at home.

Recipe – 1 Barley Water with Lemon

Ingredients:

  • Pearl barley – 1 cup 
  • Water – 1.5 litres 
  • Juice of lemon –  1
  • Honey, cinnamon stick, root ginger (optional) – One tablespoon  

Method:

  • Boil the water along with the barley
  • Let the pot simmer for at least 30 minutes
  • Then let the water cook
  • Strain the concoction
  • Add honey, lemon juice, or ginger as per taste
  • You can store your homemade barley water in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

Recipe 2 – Barley Sharbat

Ingredients:

  • Barley (pot barley/hulled barley/pearl barley)- 1 cup
  • Water- 1.5 cup
  • Rock salt or salt as per taste
  • Lemon juice- 1 tbsp
  • Ice
  • Honey (optional)

Method:

  • Wash and soak the barley overnight or at least for 8 hours
  • Drain the water completely
  • Now to cook barley, add barley and water to a cooker or a pot.
  • Pressure cook barley until it turns soft and mushy
  • You can also cook it in a pan, but it is more time-consuming, especially hulled barley, which takes almost an hour to cook and needs a lot of water.
  • After cooking the barley, let it cool for some time at room temperature.
  • Strain the mixture 
  • Now add rock salt or salt, lemon, and ice as per your taste.
  • If you like it sweet, you can also add a little honey.
  • Voila! Your healthy homemade barley sharbat is ready.
  • Serve it chilled, and enjoy!

Summary

Barley is truly a superfood. Try to include barley in your diet in some of the other forms to reap all its benefits. Apart from drinking barley water, you can add grain to salads, stews, and steamed vegetables. While consuming barley water, keep in mind that barley water is a diuretic, so do not drink more than six glasses a day.

Too much of anything is harmful, and excess barley water may cause stomach irritation and loose bowels in some cases. Barley is not gluten-free. Therefore, people who have gluten intolerance or wheat allergy should avoid consuming barley water. Though fibre is essential to maintain good gut health and bowel movement, an excess can irritate the stomach.

Barley is a rich source of essential nutrients that help to keep the body fit and healthy. Drinking barley water every morning helps flush out all toxins from your body and improves your overall health. However, remember that barley water alone cannot make you slim or cure all your health problems. Therefore, consume it in moderation and consult your doctor if you face any allergic reactions or health issues.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. What are the side effects of barley water?

A. Barley is rich in fibre. As a result, excess barley can cause stomach cramps, aches, bloating, gastrointestinal issues, and constipation.

Q. How long can you store homemade barley water?

A. You can easily store homemade barley water for up to three days in the refrigerator. Just remember to keep the water in a glass jar. Avoid plastic or metal jars for storing barley water.

Q. Do you need to soak barley overnight before use?

A. Pearl barley is the most common barley that does not need any soaking and becomes tender during cooking. However, if you use pot barley, then soak it overnight and cook it in three parts liquid to one part of grain for best results.

Q. Does barley have anti-inflammatory properties?

A. Yes, barley has anti-inflammatory properties and helps to heal the intestinal lining. Regular consumption of barley water in moderation can help reduce inflammation in the body.

Q. Is barley water good for acid reflux?

A. Barley is a natural antacid. It helps to relieve acidity and heartburn. The rich fibre content in barley helps to promote healthy bowel movement and absorbs excess acid in the body. It is also rich in antioxidants that help to flush out harmful toxins from the body.

Q. What is barley water good for?

A: Barley water is an ancient remedy for a number of conditions. It helps regulate cholesterol and blood sugar levels and improves kidney health. Barley helps prevent and treat UTIs and atherosclerosis. It also boosts immunity and assists in weight loss. Barley is great for women trying to conceive or already expecting to help both the mother and the child. 

Q. Can we drink barley water daily?

A: While barley water is a magical health potion. Excess consumption may lead to digestive and other health complications. Thus, it’s better to have it twice or thrice a week only. 

Q. Does barley water dissolve kidney stones?

A: Yes. Barley water helps cleanse the kidneys and helps treat issues such as cystitis, kidney stones, and high creatinine levels. A form of water it helps to keep the body hydrated. It also helps the kidney to flush out toxins from the body.

Q. Is barley water good for urine infection?

A:  Yes. Drinking barley water is an excellent natural remedy for urinary tract infections (UTIs). It is a natural diuretic; it increases urination and helps flush toxins and infection-causing bacteria from the body. 

Q. What are the side effects of barley?

A: Being rich in fibre, barley may cause intestinal gas. Additionally, the high fibre may also damage your food pipe. When preparing your drink, be mindful to add enough water to extract the malt failing which you may face difficulty swallowing it which may block or rupture the oesophagus. Barley water is known to lower blood sugar levels. However, it may sometimes cause it to drop too low so it’s advisable to keep a tab on your glucose levels when consuming barley water regularly. Excess barley consumption may either lead to constipation or an upset stomach coupled with cramps. 

Q. When should I drink barley powder?

A: The best time to have barley water is in the morning on an empty stomach.

Q. How long do you soak barley?

A: The most common practice is to soak barley overnight which is roughly 7-8 hours. 

Q. Is barley better than oats?

A: Both oats and barley have different properties and varying benefits. One may choose either based on their requirements.  

Q. Can I drink barley on an empty stomach?

A: Yes. The best time to have barley water is in the morning on an empty stomach.

Q. Does barley cause frequent urination?

A: Yes. Barley water hydrates the body and helps cleanse the kidneys and treats issues such as cystitis, kidney stones, and high creatinine levels. It creates bladder pressure which increases the frequency of urination and flushes out toxins from the body.

Q. Can barley reduce creatinine?

A: Yes. Barley is a kidney-friendly food which supports better kidney health and wards off ailments like kidney stones and is even known to bring down creatinine levels. 

Q. Is barley hot or cold food?

A: Barley has a cold potency and is excellent for the stomach. 

Q. Can we drink barley water at night?

A: Yes, you can have barley water any time of the day however it is advisable to have it on an empty stomach in the morning to reap the best of its benefits and give a nutrient-rich start to your day. 

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