Barley water has been consumed across the world for centuries. The ancient Greeks consumed kykeon, a drink made of water, barley and naturally occurring substances. The Brits’ version was made by boiling washed pearl barley, pouring the hot water over the rind or pulp of a lemon and adding fruit juice and sugar to taste. In Southeast Asia, the barley water may be drunk hot or cold and is often served with a spoon to scoop out the soft-boiled grains. India’s version, the Sattu, is extremely popular among Punjabis.
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 fiber, beta-glucans and various antioxidants.
Barley water made from a cup of raw barley (serving size of 200 grams) contains 704 calories. That may seem a lot but of the 704 calories, only 19 come from fat. More than half of the calorie content comprises complex carbohydrates. The water also contains 20 gm protein and only 2 grams of sugar. Barley contains a lot of fibre and keeps you feeling full for longer. But naturally it is an ideal drink for those trying to lose weight. Add 3 cups to your diet to get the benefits of barley water for weight loss.
But apart from the big reason – weight loss – the benefits of barley water are many:
- High in insoluble fibre, barley water can help cut blood cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of developing heart disease. Barley-derived beta-glucans (a type of fibre) have been found to be beneficial for reducing total cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides.
- Barley water is recommended for diabetics as it helps stabilise blood glucose levels. The beta-glucans help slow the absorption of glucose after a meal, reducing the rise in glucose and insulin.
- It can also help prevent atherosclerosis, a condition in which the thickening of arterial walls obstructs blood flow and increases chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Barley water can also help lower high blood pressure, another contributing factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke.
- Drinking barley water is a said to be a great natural remedy for urinary tract infections (UTIs). As it’s a natural diuretic, it increases urination and helps flush toxins and infection-causing bacteria from the body.
- It helps cleanse the kidneys and is also used for treating issues such as cystitis, kidney stones and high creatinine levels.
- Loaded with nutrients, barley water is recommended as a health drink for pregnant women. It’s ideal as it promotes digestion, prevents constipation and eases morning sickness. Its diuretic nature helps treat water retention during pregnancy.
- Drinking barley water is said to flush out toxins, giving you clear and glowing skin. The presence of a compound called azelaic acid helps treat mild to moderate acne. The antioxidants help fight free radicals and reduce the signs of aging.
- A cup full of barley water aids the digestion process and stimulates metabolism of fats. It is beneficial for treating digestive problems such as constipation, hemorrhoids and gastritis.
- With a plethora of nutrients, regular consumption of barley water can boost your immunity.
- Replace your nimbu pani with a glassful of chilled barley water is beneficial. 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.
And though it’s made of the same ingredient as beer, rest content that it won’t leave you with a beer gut!
Homemade versions of barley water score over store-bought so try this recipe:
Ingredients: 1 cup pearl barley, 1.5 litres water, juice of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon honey (optional), cinnamon stick, root ginger
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Method: Boil the water along with the barley. Let the pot simmer for at least 30 minutes and then let the water cook. Strain the concoction. Store for a couple of.
Apart from drinking barley water, you can also add the grain to salads, stews and steamed vegetables.
Keep in mind. Barley water is a diuretic so don’t drink more than 6 glasses a day. ODIng on it may cause stomach irritation and loose bowels in some cases. It contains gluten and those who are gluten intolerant should steer clear.