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Barley Grass: Health Benefits and Nutrition Facts

 

Barley grain is one of the earliest cultivated in history, and it continues to be one of the most universally eaten grains. Along with several other whole-grain foods, barley has quickly gained popularity over the past few years due to the multiple health benefits it offers. Below is an in-depth discussion on everything there is to know about this grain, from health benefits to how to cook with it. 

What Is Barley

Barley is classified as a cereal grain and is loaded with essential nutrients. Like pasta, barley can double in size when cooked. Barley is generally found in two kinds: hulled and pearled. Hulled barley undergoes the marginal processing to extract the unpalatable exterior shell, leaving the essentials untouched. Pearled, on the other hand, has had the layer of bran removed along with the hull.

Pearl barley, the more traditional kind found in the United States, is a highly nutritious option for those looking to spice things up in the kitchen. It’s low-priced and easy to cook, and it can be a great alternative to rice in many meals. 

Here are a few benefits associated with barley grass. Keep reading for more details.

  • Eating barley may benefit the heart, blood pressure, as well as bones.
  • Barley may help keep a healthy weight.
  • Barley offers a large portion of the daily requirement of manganese and selenium.

Is Barley Good For You?

Unlike pearled barley, hulled barley is considered a whole grain because the unpalatable outer shell has been extracted during processing. However, the more widely available pearled barley is not considered a whole grain because the dietary fiber bran is usually removed during processing. Although pearled barley is comparatively a reliable source of nutrients, hulled barley is regarded as the healthier option.

Studies have revealed that consuming whole grains may decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes as well as obesity. The benefits of hulled barley derive from its high fiber content and its phytonutrients, which are plant compounds with helpful impacts on health.

Barley Nutrition

One cup of hulled barley typically contains:

  • 651 calories
  • 4.23 g of fat
  • 0 g of cholesterol
  • 22.96 g of protein
  • 61 milligrams (mg) of calcium
  • 6.62 mg of iron
  • 1.189 mg of thiamin
  • 35 micrograms (mcg) of folate
  • 245 mg of magnesium
  • 486 mg of phosphorus
  • 832 mg of potassium
  • 5.1 mg of zinc
  • 0.524 mg of riboflavin
  • 8.471 mg of niacin
  • 0.585 mg of vitamin B6
  • 135 g of carbohydrate
  • 31.8 g of dietary fiber

Barley Health Benefits

Barley grass boasts several health benefits, including:

May Lower Blood Pressure

Having a low sodium intake is crucial to reducing blood pressure; however, increasing potassium consumption might be just as essential. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, less than 2% of American adults meet the daily recommended value. Additionally, calcium, potassium, and magnesium, which are all found in barley, have been found to lower blood pressure naturally.

Promotes Bone Health

The nutrients such as phosphorus, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and zinc all contribute to erecting and maintaining proper bone structure and strength. A careful balance of calcium and phosphate is required for precise mineralization, and barley’s active ingredients make the ideal food for bone health.

Heart Health

Barley’s high fiber, folate, vitamin B6, and potassium content, paired with its absence of cholesterol, all promote a healthy heart. Barley is an excellent source of fiber, which aids in lowering cholesterol in the blood, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease.

A 2007 study discovered that barley consumption significantly decreased serum cholesterol as well as visceral fat, both of which are factors of cardiovascular danger. 

Furthermore, vitamin B6 and folate, help stop the accumulation of a compound identified as homocysteine. When inordinate quantities of homocysteine accumulate in the body, it can lead to blood vessel damage, and eventually, heart complications.

Cognitive Functions

Choline is an essential nutrient found in barley that aids with sleep, learning, muscle movement, as well as memory. Choline’s ability to help maintain the arrangement of cellular membranes, aid in the transmission of nerve impulses and assists in the absorption of fat make it one of the most essential nutrients found in the grain.

Digestion

Fiber is essential for proper digestion, and barley has a lot of it. Studies have confirmed that consuming barley can lessen constipation, ameliorate symptoms of some bowel ailments and even increase the number of beneficial gut bacteria.  Barley’s impressively fiber content helps forestall constipation and improve regularity for a strong and healthy digestive tract.

Weight Management

Sufficient fiber consumption is generally recognized as an influential determinant in weight loss by operating as a bulking agent in the digestive system. The fiber in barley helps to boost satiety, therefore reducing hunger, creating a sense of fullness. This can be very helpful in lowering calorie intake.

How to Cook With Barley

Barley is a versatile grain; it can be cooked in many ways and can be easily purchased in stores in pearled or hulled form. Hulled barley has a chewier texture than its brother and calls for prolonged soaking and cooking times. 

To cook hulled barley, you must soak overnight to achieve optimal zest and texture. After that, soak it in twice its quantity of water. Next step, drain it then rinse before getting to the cooking part. To cook it, combine 1 cup of barley with 3 cups of water and bring it to a low-medium boil and let it simmer for around 40 minutes.

Quick tips:

  • Barley can be added to any soup to make it healthier and tastier. 
  • Add it to your choice of broth and toss in some vegetables for a delicious risotto.
  • Simplest one yet, add it to your salad. It’ll add texture as well as flavor.

Takeaway

If you are looking to add flavor and key nutrients to your diet, barley is a perfect choice. This grain is packed with important nutrients, minerals, and fiber. More importantly, its rich nutritional profile provides various potential health benefits, including lowering blood pressure and improving digestive health.

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