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Health Benefits Of Barley

Medical Daily logo Medical Daily 18-08-2019 Seema Prasad

Barley is one of the most cultivated and mass-produced whole grain varieties in the world.

a close up of a dry grass field © Photo courtesy of Pixabay, public domain

It is a versatile grain that can be grown in various climates across geographies. Originally, barley's production goes back to ancient Egypt and the Mesopotamian era. But for the year 2017-18, the European Union (EU) was recorded as the number one producer of the grain worldwide. The global production of barley was 142.37 million metric tons that year.

Barley is also popularly used as an ingredient to ferment alcohol, such as whiskey and beer. It can be incorporated into various meals and is available in various forms like flakes, flour, grits. Pearled and hulled forms are available too, according to The Whole Grain Council.  

The type of barley that is most healthy is the hulled variety. It’s found beneath the outer hull, after removing the inedible part of the grain. This leaves the bran and germ components behind and it is therefore still considered a whole grain. On the contrary, pearled barley is dehulled, processed and lacking nutrients as the bran is removed. The pearled barley is found in flakes, grits and flour. 

Since the grains are rich in vitamins and minerals. Many health benefits are provided by its regular consumption. Some of them are listed below. 

Digestion

Barley contains fiber needed to regulate bowel movement and reduce diarrhea by adding bulk to the stool. It helps maintain gut health by balancing good bacteria by feeding itself to the probiotic bacteria. One study conducted in 2003 showed that women who consumed barley for four weeks improved metabolism and bowel function. 

The amount of fiber in barely can even prevent colon cancer effectively, some research said. The anti-inflammatory properties help fiber treat Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). 

Weight Loss

Fiber reduces appetite by making the person feel fuller, thus reducing weight. One study in 2008 said that consuming barley for six weeks, reduced weight and levels of hunger by inducing satiety. As a bulking agent, it automatically reduces overall calorie intake, as well.   

Cardiovascular Trouble

The nutrients present in barley are vitamin B3 niacin, thiamine, selenium, copper and magnesium. This mineral content is useful in bringing down cholesterol and reducing blood pressure, both factors that play a role in heart disease.  

Barley helps clear blood vessels and reduce inflammation. The minerals protect the health of the arteries and prevent blood clotting to enable key cardiovascular functions like the consistent rhythm of the heart. 

Cancer 

A mineral rarely found, known as selenium, is found in barley. This is a boon to good health since it can mutilate some cancer-causing compounds. It is also crucial for liver-enzyme function. 

Selenium helps the immune system function efficiently by activating the T cells when necessary. Fiber from plant-based sources is associated with the lowering risks of colorectal cancer and shrinking or preventing the growth of tumors. 

Bone Health

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a quarter cup of hulled barley contains 45 percent of the Required Daily Intake (RDI) of manganese, 15 percent of the RDI of magnesium and 12 percent of daily phosphorus needs. All these minerals contribute to good bone structure, bone building and overall bone strength, according to Medical News Today.

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(Provided by: Lovefood)

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are the author's own and MSN does not endorse them in any way. Neither can MSN independently verify any claims made in the article. You should consult your physician before starting any weight loss or health management programme to determine if it is right for your needs.


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