Barley is one of the healthiest cereals we have for its potential health benefits. Thus, barley water is also popularly consumed by many, as a healthy and refreshing beverage.
Barley water is made by cooking barley in water. After cooking, either the grains are strained or they are stirred in. When it is strained the calorie load and fibre content decreases, but unstrained barley water is comparatively rich in calories. To enhance the taste, usually, barley water is combined with few drops of fresh lemon juice or rind.
Let’s understand why barley water is one of the healthiest beverages we have.
1. Barley water helps in managing blood cholesterol levels. It contains tocols which has been shown to suppress the levels of bad or LDL cholesterol. In addition, antioxidants present in barley also protects us from free radical damage. Hence barley water keeps our heart healthy and reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disorders.
2. Unsweetened barley water keeps a check on our blood glucose levels, prevents insulin spikes and risk of type 2 diabetes.
3. Unstrained barley water is also good for weight loss. The dietary fibre content of barley keeps our digestion healthy, helps maintain gut health, alleviates indigestion issues like constipation and promotes weight loss. It reduces unwanted food cravings as barley water takes time to digest and keeps us full for long.
4. Barley water is packed with nutrients like iron, copper, manganese, folate, magnesium, selenium, antioxidants and many vitamins.
5. Being rich in antioxidants, barley water is also anti-cancerous. It scavenges free radicals which might harm our healthy tissues and promote tumour formation. Several studies have shown the efficacy of barley water in reducing colon cancer risk.
6. Barley water is good for our immune health. It promotes the functioning of immune cells which can also be enhanced by combining it with citrus or vitamin C rich foods.
To sum up, barley water is nutritious, healthy and easy to make. It can be easily included in the diet. To enjoy its maximum health benefits, one should preferably opt for the unsweetened one. It can be consumed multiple times per week to promote weight loss and combat the risk of diseases like diabetes and cancer. People who are allergic to gluten should refrain from consuming barley water as this grain is not gluten-free. It can cause rashes, abdominal cramps, vomiting, diarrhoea and indigestion among people with wheat or gluten allergy and celiac disease.