Barley- Types, Advantages and Uses
Barley is not as popular as other grains but it was known as the king of grains once. After all, it contains all the minerals, vitamins and many other essential nutrients. Therefore, barley is considered good for curing many health problems.
What is Barley?
Barley is a type of food grain belonging to the grass family which has been produced since ancient times. Barley is mostly used for animal feed. Due to its medicinal properties and health benefits, some people also use it as a food diet. Barley contains minerals like iron, carbohydrates, magnesium, calcium, protein, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin C and phosphorus. Today, barley has little less popularity than paddy and wheat, but it is still used for health benefits. This is the reason why it is cultivated even today in countries like India, America, Germany and Russia. The scientific name of barley is Hordeum vulgare and in Sanskrit, it is known as Yava. Barley yields are highest in temperate climates.
Effect of Barley
Barley has a cold effect which has a relieving effect on stomach problems. Apart from being cool in effect, it is also a good source of many minerals and nutrients which works to remove many health problems. So drinking barley sattu in summer is considered to be good for avoiding heat and getting many other health benefits.
Types of Barley
Barley Flour: This is the ground form of barley which is used as flour. Thus, it is used for making rotis of barley.
Grits: This is also barley flour, but this dough is slightly thicker than normal. The top layer of barley seeds is removed to prepare this dough.
Pearl Barley: This form of barley is mainly used in salads and soups. This is like a shining pearl in appearance. Its seeds are white and uniform. Therefore, this form of barley is also called the most beautiful form of Barley.
Flax: This is a common type of barley. It is prepared by flattening Barley seeds. This form of barley can be consumed in both cold and hot forms. It can also be eaten like oats.
Huld: It is also called the whole form of barley because to be used, it is simply cleaned lightly. Hence, it is one of the nutritious types of barley.
Benefits of Barley
To reduce the intensity of thirst-
Consuming barley in summer is good for the body because barley grass is rich in vitamin C and E. Apart from this, in Ayurveda, it is considered necessary to consume certain foods to remove pitta dosha (causing bile discoloration, which can also increase the heat in the body) and these foods include barley. Barley acts to provide coolness to the body due to its antioxidant effect and also controls the problem of intense desire to drink water again and again. On this basis, consuming barley is a good remedy to reduce the intense desire of thirst in summer.
The use of barley and its leaves work to increase the body's immunity. A barley- related NCBI report states that barley contains an element called beta-glucan and is found to have immunity-promoting properties in its leaves. On this basis, barley is considered good for increasing physical immunity.
Barley extract is considered a traditional medicine for cold and cough because the medicinal properties of barley are helpful in removing the problem of common cold and cough.
For digestive power and constipation-
Barley flour proves beneficial in increasing digestive power. According to the NCBI report on barley, dietary fiber present in barley is good for the health of flour. At the same time, extracts of fermented barley have a laxative (relieving constipation) effect which works to overcome the problem of constipation. Therefore, it is advisable to consume barley to increase digestive power and relieve constipation.
For weight loss-
Eating barley porridge helps control the weight gain because barley contains elements such as resistant starch, beta-glucan, tocols, polyphenols, dietary fiber, phytosterols and polysaccharides. Due to the presence of these elements, the antiobesity (weight reducing) effect is found in the properties of barley. At the same time, an element called beta glucan (a type of soluble fiber) present in barley works to control appetite by which weight can be prevented from increasing. Therefore, barley is good for weight loss.
Lack of iron in the body is considered to be the main cause of anemia (deficiency of red blood cells). Since barley is considered an iron-rich grain. Therefore, its intake eliminates the risk of anemia, meeting the iron deficiency in the body. For this, barley flour, porridge, sattu etc. can be used.
Barley is beneficial to keep the liver healthy for a long time because barley contains elements such as hepatoprotection (liver-protecting), phenolics, pentosan, and beta-glucan which have positive effects on liver health.
For cardiovascular health-
The NCBI report related to barley states that barley contains a specific element called beta-glucan which works to reduce high BP by controlling increased cholesterol. At the same time, due to the problem related to the arteries, it also reduces the risks of heart disease. Therefore, barley is also considered beneficial for heart health.
Beneficial in pregnancy-
It is very important to have calcium, iron and folic acid in the body during pregnancy because iron is good for the physical and mental development of the fetus. Folic acid reduces the risks of birth defects in children. Calcium works to control preeclampsia (high blood pressure disorder) and diabetes in a pregnant woman. Therefore, it is good for a woman to consume barley during pregnancy because in barley, calcium, iron and folic acid are found in sufficient quantities.
For type-2 diabetes-
Barley flour is beneficial to overcome the problem of type-2 diabetes. Barley has phenolics, beta-glucan and antidiabetic (blood sugar lowering) effects which provide relief in type-2 diabetes.
Beneficial in UTI-
According to barley's NCBI report, the medicinal properties of barley have an antibacterial effect which helps to cure bacterial infections related to the urinary tract. In addition, the report also stated that the anti-inflammatory effect present in barley also helps in reducing inflammation of the bladder. Therefore, people suffering from urinary tract infection (UTI) are advised to use barley.
Uses of Barley
- Barley sattu is drunk to avoid heat and also to boost digestion.
- Roti made of barley flour is consumed.
- Bread made of barley flour is consumed.
- Barley porridge (sweet or salty) is eaten as a snack.
- Barley seeds can be consumed as a soup.
- The juice of barley leaves is used for drinking.
Side effects of Barley
- Since barley has antidiabetic properties. Therefore, people taking diabetes medicine should use it with caution.
- Since barley has laxative properties, excessive intake of it can cause diarrhea.
- Since starch is present in barley. Therefore, excessive intake of it can cause constipation problems.
- Some allergic effects are also found in barley. Therefore, some people may have allergic problems due to its consumption.