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 the north and east India, especially Punjab, Bihar, and UP.
What makes barley so popular?
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:
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. Barley contains beta-glucans, a type of fibre that helps in reducing cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides.
2. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
Barley water is highly beneficial for diabetic patients as it helps stabilize blood glucose levels in the body. The beta-glucans present in barley helps 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 Prevents Atherosclerosis
In atherosclerosis, the arterial walls thicken and obstruct the blood flow. As a result, it increases the chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Barley water also helps in lowering high blood pressure, another contributing factor for 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.
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.
8. Improves Digestion
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. Regular consumption of barley water can solve all your digestive issues easily.
9. Boosts Immunity
With a plethora of nutrients and free radical fighting properties, regular consumption of barley water can boost your immunity. It is a natural source of iron, zinc, vitamins, and minerals that help to improve immunity and keep infections at bay.
10. Prevents Body Heat
Replace your nimbu pani with a glassful of chilled barley water and see 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 to keep one full for a long time. Consuming this a pre-meal drink prevents overeating and aids weight loss by maintaining smooth bowel movement.
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
- Pearl barley – 1 cup
- Water – 1.5 litres
- Juice of lemon – 1
- Honey, cinnamon stick, root ginger (optional) – One tablespoon
- 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
- Barley chooses either pot barley, hulled barley, or pearl barley
- Rock salt or salt as per taste
- Lemon juice
- Honey (optional)
- 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!
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.
- Barley – The Super Grain: Connecting the Classroom and the Cafeteria by Steffanie Sandoval, University of Idaho
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
A. Barley is rich in fibre. As a result, excess barley can cause stomach cramps, aches, bloating, gastrointestinal issues, and constipation.
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.
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.
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.
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.