Barley is an excellent source of dietary fibre. It is a nutrient-dense alternative to rice in a weight-loss diet.
Compared to other whole-grain options, barley is lower in fat. You can use barley in preparing bread, soups, and stews and as a malt source for alcoholic beverages, most notably beer.
Of all the available barley forms, barley water is the most beneficial. Barley water is an ancient Greek remedy that is still prevalent today. It cleanses the body of toxins while improving metabolism and digestion.
What is Barley Water?
Barley water is a traditional drink enjoyed in many cultures worldwide. To prepare barley water, boil barley grains in water and then simply strain it. You can also add other ingredients like grated ginger, cinnamon sticks or lemon juice to the water while it’s boiling to add flavour.
Barley water has a mild, nutty taste with no distinct flavour, so people often add other juices or sweeteners. However, adding sugar or sweeteners to barley water will negate its benefits as a wellness drink for weight loss.
Just like barley grains, barley water also contains essential vitamins and minerals. It is a replenishing drink full of electrolytes, making it a good drink for athletes, anyone who is dehydrated, and those who are ill.
Therefore, barley water is a healthy substitute for energy drinks, juices, lemonade, or sports drinks. Depending on the amount of unsweetened citrus juice you use to flavour the barley water, it can be a good source of vitamin C.
The nutritional profile of unstrained, unsweetened barley water is as follows:
- Vitamins: Vitamin B complex
- Minerals: Manganese, selenium, phosphorous, iron, calcium and zinc
- Dietary fibres
Barley Water Benefits for Weight Loss
Here are a few ways by which barley water helps you lose weight:
High in Fibre
Barley water contains dietary fibre. It helps you feel fuller for longer and reduces cravings. Satiety prevents you from overeating or eating junk food.
When you are hungry, you tend to eat whatever is available. When your stomach is full, you are less likely to snack on unhealthy foods or eat mindlessly. So if combined with a healthy diet, barley water can help you lose weight.
Keeps You Hydrated
Barley water keeps you hydrated. Staying hydrated is necessary since studies have shown a significant association between inadequate hydration, elevated BMI and obesity.
Apart from that, the electrolytes and minerals in barley water make it a beverage suitable for post-workout replenishment.
Maintains Blood Sugar Levels
Weight gain and diabetes have a strong correlation. A study shows that glucose level fluctuations in diabetes and prediabetes conditions often trigger insulin resistance.
Poor insulin sensitivity or high insulin resistance can make it harder to lose weight. So, stabilising blood sugar levels is necessary for weight management.
Barley water is a low glycemic drink with high fibre and negligible fat. As a result, it helps to lower high blood sugar levels. Also, it prevents further weight gain related to the condition. However, diabetic people should drink barley water with no sugar or sweeteners.
Research shows that barley and its food products help stabilise your post-prandial blood glucose. Therefore, drinking barley water after your meal curbs potential blood sugar spikes.
If you wonder how different foods impact your blood sugar, the HealthifyPRO CGM can help. It tracks your real-time glucose response to everything you eat throughout the day. So you can see how different foods affect your blood sugar levels.
According to Ayurveda, barley water is a digestive tonic. It can treat stomach and intestinal issues. It is due to the high amount of fibre present in barley water.
In addition, the beta-glucans in the barley’s cell walls cleanse the body by flushing out toxins. Therefore, detoxification and a well-functioning digestive system are necessary for weight loss. Barley water is also a light beverage and easy on the stomach.
The HealthifyMe Note
Barley water is rich in fibre and very low in fat. Therefore, it increases your satiety. As a result, it lowers your overall calorie intake. The fibre in barley also promotes better digestion and cleanses your body of toxins. Moreover, it helps manage blood sugar. Consequently, barley water can prevent weight gain related to insulin resistance. But this does not mean you can indulge in an unhealthy diet and expect barley water to work its magic. It is still essential to eat a balanced diet.
How to Make Barley Water for Weight Loss?
Making barley water at home is healthier and more affordable than purchasing it from a store. You can use either hulled or pearl barley. However, hulled barley is more nutritious than polished pearl barley. Hulled barley is a whole grain, while pearl barley is not.
Pearl and hulled barley have similar tastes, but their textures are different. The grains of hulled barley stay tougher and chewier, while pearl barley gets soft with cooking.
Pearl barley contains only about one-third of the calories of white rice. Even though hulled barley is as caloric as white rice, it has more protein and dietary fibre, which makes it the more nutritious type of barley.
Here is an easy recipe for homemade barley water:
- Preparation time: 10 minutes
- Servings: 1
- Barley: 1/4 cup or 2 tbsp
- Water: 1 1/2 cups
- A pinch of salt
- Lemon juice (optional)
Method of Preparation
- Boil water and barley in a saucepan on a low flame for 15-20 minutes while stirring occasionally.
- Add salt and lemon juice to taste.
- Add a cinnamon stick or grated ginger to add more flavour to the barley water. All of these condiments are weight-loss friendly.
- Strain and collect the barley water
- Refrigerate the barley water for 30 minutes if you wish to serve cold
Best Time to Drink Barley Water and Precautions to Note
While the best time to drink barley water for weight loss is in the morning on an empty stomach, you can have a glass of barley water 2-3 times a day.
However, it is essential to note that barley water is a diuretic. So, drink at most 4-6 glasses daily. Too much barley water may result in stomach irritation and loose bowels for some people.
Also, ensure that your barley water recipe has no added sugar or sweeteners. If you want to lose weight with barley water or improve your eating habits, the certified dietitians at HealthifyMe can help.
They design a personalised diet plan that fits your lifestyle and delivers sustainable results.
Barley water is a weight-loss-friendly drink that can give you a boost of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Unstrained barley water is rich in fibre, which improves your digestion and helps you feel fuller for longer.
And because it contains very little fat and is hydrating, barley water can help you manage your weight in the long run when paired with a healthy diet and exercise.
Just like with anything else, it is important to moderate your barley water intake to avoid any side effects.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. How much weight can you lose with barley?
A. The amount of weight you lose is not determined by the amount of barley you eat or the amount of barley water you drink. Instead, it depends on multiple factors. Calorie deficit always plays a significant role. You can lose 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kilogram) weekly by following a balanced calorie-controlled diet and regular exercise.
Q. Which is better for weight loss, barley or oats?
A. You can choose oats or barley, depending on your dietary needs. Both grains have different benefits that make them ideal for particular diets. For instance, barley is lower in saturated fat and glycemic index but higher in fibre than oats. As a result, it is more effective in managing blood sugar, which makes it a good choice for diabetic people who are looking to lose weight. Additionally, hulled barley delivers 12 grams of protein per serving, while oatmeal only has half that amount. So if protein intake is your main dietary focus, barley is the better choice.
Q. When should I drink barley water for weight loss?
A. You can drink barley water anytime, but it is most effective when on an empty stomach in the morning. It allows your body to absorb the nutrients more efficiently and provides a nutrient-rich start to your day. The smart way is to drink 2-3 glasses of barley water throughout the day, spacing them out evenly.
Q. Can barley water reduce belly fat?
A. Barley water is an excellent addition to any diet if you want to lose weight. It can potentially reduce belly fat over time. In addition, its satiating properties help control hunger and cravings by making you feel fuller for longer. As a result, it leads to fewer calorie consumption and gradual weight loss. Additionally, the cholesterol-lowering nature of barley is also beneficial in the long run. Unfortunately, high cholesterol is a risk factor for developing abdominal fat. However, as with any weight loss journey, a balanced diet and moderate to high-intensity exercise are necessary for sustainable results.
Q. What is the side effect of barley?
A. Barley and its water are safe to consume in moderation. However, overconsumption can lead to digestive issues like gas, bloating, and nausea due to the high amount of fibre. In addition, barley can trigger an allergic reaction in people with gluten intolerance or hypersensitivity to other cereal grains.
Q. How do I use barley for weight loss?
A. You can make barley water for weight loss benefits. If you are looking for low-calorie and high-fibre substitutes for refined grains, barley flour is a good choice. You can also use barley flakes as a breakfast porridge, add it to soups and stews, and make a grain salad with vegetables.
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2. Al-Goblan AS, Al-Alfi MA, Khan MZ. The mechanism linking diabetes mellitus and obesity. Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2014;7:587-591. Published 2014 Dec 4. doi:10.2147/DMSO.S67400
3. Tosh, S. Review of human studies investigating the post-prandial blood-glucose lowering ability of oat and barley food products. Eur J Clin Nutr 67, 310–317 (2013).
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