Health Benefits of Barley

Barley health benefits have been well-known since the days of old.

Modern society has likewise taken cognizance of these benefits and has in fact classified barley as a ‘superfood‘.

Barley is a type of whole grain that is cultivated for food as well as for a variety of other purposes.

The crop is believed to have come from either Ethiopia or Southeast Asia where it has been grown for tens of thousands of years.

Barley grain has long been used in human and animal diet, as well as in the production of alcoholic beverages.

Barley grain extracts have likewise been utilized for medicinal purposes since the olden days.

In 2005, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the health claim of coronary heart disease risk reduction for barley.

The following are the food nutrients found in barley:

  • Soluble and insoluble fiber
  • selenium
  • vitamin B
  • vitamin E
  • folic acid
  • amino acids

Barley grain is available to the public in whole or dry milled forms, such as barley flakes, grits, flour, and barley meal.

Barley grain is often used as cereal or as additive to various food dishes.

Meanwhile, the young grass of the newly-sprouted barley seed also exhibits health benefits.

In fact, it has been used in Chinese medicine to treat disorders of the spleen (those related to poor digestion), as well as “stagnation of the liver,” (conditions characterized by the inability to cope with emotional distress, usually after chronic anger or disappointment).

Barley grass is grown by soaking the seeds in water until they sprout and grow shoots approximately 2 inches long.

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The following are the food nutrients found in barley grass:

  • glutamic acid
  • methionine
  • vitamin C
  • valine
  • calcium
  • vitamin E
  • beta-carotene
  • biotin
  • copper
  • iron
  • lutein
  • magnesium
  • niacin
  • riboflavin
  • thiamine
  • alpha-linoleic acid
  • potassium
  • selenium
  • zinc

Barley grass is not recommended to be taken by nursing or pregnant women as it may stop lactation.

The following are the health benefits attributed to barley:

  • Barley grain and grass may help lower bad cholesterol levels and thus help in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
  • It helps stabilize blood sugar levels and thus help in the prevention of diabetes.
  • Barley grain and grass may help enhance the immune system and thus help in fighting off viruses and cell damage.
  • Barley grain may help aid in the excretion of waste products from the body.
  • It may help in weight loss.
  • Barley grass may help relieve nervous anxiety and calm the nerves.
  • Barley grass may help in detoxification of harmful toxins from the body.

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