29 Benefits Of Barley You Probably Never Knew

Barley is a simple grain which most of us have in our pantries, yet very few of us know its many health and beauty benefits. Barley is relatively low in calories, high in fiber, and packed with vitamins and nutrients. Hulled barley is especially beneficial, due to its bran content.

Here are 29 amazing health and beauty benefits of barley:

Health Benefits

1. Great for Breakfast

Barley is nutrient rich and makes a satisfactory meal. It is packed with fiber and essential minerals such as: selenium, copper, tryptophan, and manganeseIt gives you energy and keeps you feeling satisfied for a good part of the day. The manganese in barley helps you to feel happy and energetic; it also calms your nervous system.

Harvard researchers studied the effects of consuming a grain breakfast on a daily basis. This study found, over a period of 19 years, that men who enjoyed a daily morning bowl of whole grain cereal had a 29% lower risk of heart failure. Not bad for a simple grain!

2. Helps You Lose Weight

Barley helps to reduce weight, partially because of several kinds of essential amino acids, and partially because of its fiber content. Barley modulates your blood sugar levels, thus avoiding the sugar peaks and drops usually associated with the fat storage process.

Barley, compared to other grains, is low in calories and at the same time it makes a satisfactory meal, helping you feel full longer, so you don’t need to eat as frequently.

3. Helps to Stabilize Blood Pressure

A five week long study compared different grain combinations; it showed that adults who increased their intake of barley experienced a reduction in blood pressure.

4. Reduces Risk of Cancer and Heart Disease

Barley is rich in plant lignans which protect against breast and other hormone-dependent cancers as well as heart disease. By reducing free radicals and visceral fat, and stabilizing the blood pressure, barley minimizes our chances for cancer and heart disease.

5. Reduces Symptoms of Arthritis

Barley has Copper, which may also be helpful in reducing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Copper disarms free radicals, thus helping cell regeneration. Copper is essential in cross-linking collagen and elastin, making bones and joints flexible.

6. Helps Develop and Repair Body Tissue

Barley is also rich in phosphorus which aids in cell regeneration. Phosphorus helps in forming bone. It is an essential building block of the genetic code and plays an important role in healthy cell membranes and our nervous system.

7. Great Source of Niacin

Barley is a great source of niacin (vitamin B) that provides numerous benefits to our cardiovascular system. Niacin can help reduce bad cholesterol, lipoprotein (a), and free radicals. It also lowers the risk of blood clots.

8.  Reduces Visceral Fat

A Japanese study followed 44 men with high cholesterol and found that adding barley to their diet significantly reduced serum cholesterol and visceral fat, known contributors to cardiovascular risk.

9. Lowers Bad Cholesterol

The propionic acid produced from barley’s insoluble fiber may also be partly responsible for its cholesterol-lowering properties. It lowers the activity of HMG-CoA reductase enzyme and helps lower blood cholesterol levels.

10. Inhibits Formation of Gallstones

Barley helps reduce levels of triglycerides. Some may avoid gallstones with an increased intake of Barley. Also, barley is rich in insoluble fiber. There is a hypothesis that insoluble fibre reduces the secretion of bile acid which contributes to gallstone formation.

11. Indispensable for Woman

 UK researchers looked at how fiber intake affects pre-menopausal women. They found that a diet rich in fiber from whole grains, such as barley, offered up to a 50% reduction in breast cancer.

 Yet another study looked at postmenopausal women and showed a reduction in risk of 34% for breast cancer in women who consumed whole grains, such as barley.

12. Barley Grass Juice is Great for Digestion

Barley grass juice helps digestive juices work harder. It increases your metabolism and makes you feel lighter. It is especially beneficial for people who feel bloated.

13. Improves Immunity

 Barley is rich in plant lignans, which are good for friendly flora in your intestines. In turn, barley supports your immunity.

Additionally, barley is high in vitamin C, which also supports your immune system. Barley makes you feel full, satisfied, and relaxed.

14. Helps to Prevent Osteoporosis

 Barley and barley grass contains manganese, phosphorus, and copper, which are good for healthy bones. Barley juice is very high in calcium, making your bones stronger.

15. Promotes Optimal Health

Fiber in barley minimizes the amount of time food stays in your colon. In addition, it is a good source of selenium, which has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer. Selenium is an essential component for thyroid health. It is also an antioxidant defense and an immune builder. Selenium has also been shown to repair damaged cells in the body.

16. Helps to Cure Anemia

The iron contained in barley increases the blood volume, which prevents anemia and fatigue.

17. Slows Arteriosclerosis

Barley slows atherosclerosis, which is the plaque build-up that narrows blood vessels.  It is a good source of vitamin B (niacin). Niacin may help prevent free radicals, while reducing bad cholesterol and blood clots.

18. Supports the Kidney

Barley facilitates proper kidney function.

19. Healthy Bones

Barley and barley grass contains phosphorus and copper which are good for the overall health of bones. Barley juice is much higher in calcium than milk.

20. Healthy Teeth

Barley is rich in phosphorus, calcium, and Vitamin C. These are great contributors to healthy bones and teeth. Barley juice especially, is high in calcium. It also contains manganese, phosphorus, and copper which are good for your bones and teeth.

Beauty Benefits of Barley:

21. Contributes to Healthy Skin

Barley is packed with vitamin C, antioxidants, and minerals. All these are excellent for your skin. It has been proven to reduce inflammation in the body. You know the expression: healthy body, healthy skin.

22. Has Healing Properties

Barley is rich in zinc, which promotes healing.

23. Improves Skin Elasticity

Barley is rich in selenium. Selenium preserves skin elasticity. Selenium also improves many functions in your body, which are often reflected by your skin.

24. Creates Pleasant Skin Tone

Barley tightens skin and eliminates toxins, making your skin silky and pleasantly toned.

25.  Has Anti Aging Properties

The antioxidants in barley help make you look younger. Barley helps to eliminate toxins from the body, giving you the appearance of younger and healthier skin.

26. Healthy Hair

Nutritional deficiencies are often reflected in your hair. Barley contains vital minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants needed for the production of healthy hair.

27. Promotes Hair Growth

Barley is rich in nutrients and minerals such as thiamin, niacin, and Procyanidin B-3. These promote and stimulate hair growth.

28. Combats Hair Loss

 Barley contains iron and copper. It enhances production of red blood cells, and reduces hair loss.

29. Restores Hair Color

The Copper in barley helps create pigment for hair color.

Bringing Benefits of Barley to Your Table

You can increase your barley consumption in more than one way:

  • Make a tasty breakfast porridge
  • Use barley flour for baking
  • Add barley to your soups, stews, and salads
  • Use barley malt as a sweetener
  • Choose barley pasta
  • Add barley powder to your smoothie
  • Try barley grass juice

Organic Barley is available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on LifeHack

10 Best Barley Benefits

If you are having a difficult time suffering from asthmaarthritis, impotence, skin problems, anemia, obesity, constipationdiabetes, hypertension, kidney problems  or heart disease, perhaps it’s time for you to learn about the health benefits of barley. The benefits are mostly attributable to the eight essential amino acids which it contains, meaning that it represents a complete protein in our diet. Recent research says that consuming whole grain barley also regulates blood sugar to a great extent.

There are so many rampant ailments in recent years, which proves even more that our regular diets lack important nutrients. One of the most important nutrients that we often tend to neglect is fiber. Barley is an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which assures you good overall health over the long term. Before we move on to the health benefits, you will be pleased to know that you can consume it in many kinds of preparations like salads, soups, stew, and even with chicken, mutton or in the tandoori style. Therefore, it will not add value just to your health but also to your palate.

Health Benefits Of Barley

People use barley for preserving skin elasticity and preventing disorders such as osteoporosisgallstones, and diabetes. Let us look at the benefits in detail:

Keeps Intestine Healthy

Barley, being an excellent source of fiber, keeps your body toxin-free. Its grass, which is rich in dietary fiber, acts as a fuel source to the friendly bacteria of our large intestine. These bacteria help in fermenting the fiber content of the barley, thereby forming butyric acid, which is the primary fuel for intestinal cells. It is greatly effective in maintaining a healthy colon. By keeping the intestine in proper health, it helps you to decrease the movement time of feces and keeps your stomach clean. It greatly reduces the chances of colon cancer and hemorrhoids as well.

Protects against Gallstones

Barley effectively helps women avoid developing gallstones. Since it is rich in insoluble fiber, it actually helps you to reduce bile acid secretion, thereby increasing insulin sensitivity and lowering the levels of triglycerides. Reportedly, in an article of the American Journal of Gastroenterology, women have a 17% lower risk of having gallstones as compared to others not consuming a fibrous diet.

Prevents Osteoporosis

The phosphorus and copper content in barley grass guarantees overall good health of bones. The phosphorous content present in it effectively cures bone and tooth ailments. If you have osteoporosis, it can be your natural remedy. Barley grass juice is known to have 11x greater calcium content than milk. Calcium, as we know, is one of the key components in protecting bone health.  The manganese content found in it works in association with B-complex vitamins, thereby keeping the overall health intact. We need manganese for normal bone production, as well as in cases of iron deficiency

Boosts Immune System

Being highly nutritious, barley is particularly helpful as it strengthens your immune system and reduces the chances of cold and flu. Iron improves the blood volume and prevents anemia and fatigue. It aids in proper kidney functioning and the development of body cells. Furthermore, it contains copper, which forms hemoglobin and red blood cells.

Preserves Skin Elasticity

Barley is a good source of Selenium, which helps you to preserve skin elasticity, thereby protecting it against free radical damage and loosening. Moreover, it also improves our heart, pancreas, and immune system functioning. A deficiency of selenium can lead to cancers of the skin, colon, prostate, liver, stomach, and breast.

Controls Blood Cholesterol Levels

Barley’s insoluble fiber yields propionic acid that helps keep the blood cholesterol levels low. It, being an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fibers, is also specifically recommended by doctors for its naturally low-fat content and zero cholesterol properties.

barleyinfographicManages Diabetes

Barley works effectively on Type 2 diabetes. However, we can prevent this type of diabetes by losing weight, getting involved in vigorous physical activity and including abundant whole grains in our diet. Therefore, high fiber foods like barley should be included in the daily diet of diabetic patients. Its grain has all the essential vitamins and minerals, particularly beta-glucan soluble fiber, that slows down glucose absorption.  The December 2006 edition of Nutrition Research has proved that insulin-resistant men who consumed barley beta-glucan soluble fiber had significantly reduced glucose and insulin levels as compared to others test subjects.

Cancer Prevention

Barley contains certain types of phytonutrients known as plant lignans, which are transformed by friendly flora in our intestines into mammalian lignans. One of these new lignans is called enterolactone, which helps us to prevent breast and other hormonal cancers as well as coronary or heart disease.

Protects Against Heart Diseases

Atherosclerosis is a condition when the artery walls thicken due to the coagulation or deposition of fatty materials like cholesterol. Barley contains niacin (a B vitamin complex) that reduces the overall cholesterol and lipoprotein levels and minimizes cardiovascular risk factors. Postmenopausal women having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or cardiovascular diseases are specifically recommended to have it at least 6 times a week.

Prevents Asthma

14.5 kDa is a barley endosperm protein and a major allergen in baker’s asthma disease. This is an airborne occupational ailment, mostly prevalent in confectioneries and bakeries. It proves to be very effective preventative measure for such kinds of major wheat-flour allergens.

When you think of buying it, you first need to decide what form you should buy. It is found in various forms, and each of them has varied nutritional value. Whole grain barley has the ultimate nutritional value, found in its grain, leaves and even the extract of the grass.

Forms Of Barley Nutrition

Barley Grass is the seedling of the barley plant. This grass is usually harvested about 200 days after germination, while the shoots are not even a foot tall. People consume it in this form because the young leaves are rich in minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and amino acids. Although its grains have much more dietary fiber in comparison, the grass has high levels of chlorophyll that detoxifies your body from harmful toxins.

Hulled Barley is also known as covered barley and is usually eaten after removing the inedible, fibrous outer hull. It is a great source of healthy nutrients. It takes a long time to soak when used in regular cooking. However, the time is worth it, considering the utility of dehulled barley when you’re finished. Once the hull is removed, it’s known as dehulled, pot or scotch barley, which is commercially popular, and is a very marketable product. The process of removing the bran and polishing is known as “pearling”.

Pearl Barley is easily available in the grocery stores and probably one of the most common ingredients for breakfast and snacks recipes all over the world. These are actually hulled barley that is processed and the bran is removed. This is processed into a host of products like flours and flakes, which resemble oatmeal or grits.

Barley Green Powder is well known for its medicinal benefits. It is actually the powder form of barley grass, sometimes mixed with additional vitamins and minerals is sold by many companies. These grasses are found in a variety of flavors and have superior solubility. Therefore, you can also consume them as barley juice.

Barley Flour is often used alternatively as wheat flour or cake flour. The flour obtained from grinding whole barley is richer in nutrition than the pearl variety flour since the bran in the former form remains undamaged. It contains some gluten and has been very popular in confectioneries that tend to experiment with alternate kinds of flours. It has a mild, nutty flavor, and this flour has comparatively lower rates of calories and higher levels of fiber.

Barley Water is effective when your kidneys need rest from excessive stress. People suffering from kidney and bladder ailments can take barley water for therapeutic uses.

Barley is widely available as a commercial product all over the world in various forms. You need to know the exact form that will cater best to your needs. The pearled, flaked and hulled forms have different utilities, so decide what you want to make before making the purchase. It is found both in bulk containers and packaged form; ensure its freshness before taking it home. If you buy it in containers, check the date and also be sure that it’s sealed properly. Even a small amount of moisture content in packaged barley can spoil the cereal, so be careful if buying it in containers. Store it in clean, glass containers having air tight covers and place it in a cool, dry place. During the summer, it’s advisable to keep it in the refrigerator.

Organic Grain is available to purchase at SFMart.com

This article is originally posted on Organic Facts

18 Health Benefits of Whole Grains

You’ve heard whole grains are healthy. But why? Here’s the lowdown on why you should be eating them.

Good-for-you grains

Some popular diet books say you should ditch wheat or gluten to shed pounds. But the USDA recommendseating grains daily, and at least half of those should be whole grains. Unless you have celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or another reason to cut back, you don’t want to miss out on the health benefits of whole grains. “You’re getting fiber, a healthy plant-based protein, vitamins, minerals, and a variety of phytochemicals that will improve your health,” says Lilian Cheung, DSc, RD, a lecturer in nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. So read on to find out what exactly is considered a whole grain, how to find them, and why you should eat them.

What are whole grains, anyway?

Whole grains have all of the parts of the original kernel—bran, germ, and endosperm—in the original proportions, explains Keri Gans, a registered dietician in New York City. In refined grains, the bran and germ are stripped away. (Look for the word “whole”—either whole grain or whole wheat.) Also make sure the grain is one of the first three ingredients listed on the label, advises Wesley Delbridge, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. A “whole grain” stamp from the Whole Wheat Council indicates there’s at least half a serving of whole grain inside. And don’t be fooled by bread that looks healthy because it’s brown. It may just be colored with molasses or brown sugar.

Whole grains can contain a lot of fiber

Fiber is one big reason to eat whole grains. Adults need about 25 to 35 grams of fiber daily, and whole grains contain two types—soluble and insoluble—which are both beneficial to your health. You’ll get 5.8 grams of fiber in two slices of dark rye bread, but only 1.9 grams from the same amount of white bread. And you’ll get 5.5 g of fiber per 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice compared with 2 grams in uncooked white rice (which is not a whole grain), and only 0.7 in a serving of instant rice. Because it digests slowly, fiber also helps you feel fuller longer. And fiber’s health benefits are well known—it can help control blood sugar, lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol, and reduce colon cancer risk. Not all whole grains are high in fiber, though. Focus on oats, barley and bulgur, says Delbridge.

They help digestion

Whole grains have other digestive benefits as well. The fiber content keeps bowel movements regular (studies have shown that people who eat more fiber need fewer laxatives). And they help ward off diverticulosis, the condition in which little pouches form in the colon wall, causing inflammation, constipation, diarrhea, and pain. Fiber is responsible for much of the benefit, but whole grains also contain lactic acid, which promotes “good bacteria” in the large intestine. These organisms aid digestion, promote better nutrition absorption, and may even beef up the body’s immune system.

They can help lower cholesterol

Whole grains not only help prevent your body from absorbing “bad” cholesterol, they may also lower triglycerides, both of which are major contributors to heart disease. In fact, whole grains lower the risk of heart disease overall. One study found that women who ate 2-3 servings of whole grain products daily were 30% less likely to have a heart attack or die from heart disease compared with women who ate less than one serving a week. “Any form of whole grain—including whole wheat, oats, brown rice, barley, corn, quinoa, rye, buckwheat, and millet—will confer benefits for heart health,” says Cheung. “When it comes to oatmeal, steel-cut is better than instant.”

They lower blood pressure

The heart benefits of whole grains don’t stop with cholesterol and triglycerides. They also lower blood pressure, one of the most important risk factors for heart disease. One study found a 19% lower risk of hypertension among men who ate more than 7 servings of whole grain breakfast cereal a week compared with those who ate one or less. A study of women also found a benefit. “Eating whole grains instead of refined grains substantially lowers blood cholesterol…triglycerides, blood pressure, and insulin levels,” says Cheung. “Any of these changes would be expected to reduce the risk of heart disease.”

They can help control weight

People who eat a lot of whole grains are more likely to keep their weight in check and less likely to gain weight over time than those who eat refined grains. In one study, women who consumed the most wheat germ, brown rice, dark bread, popcorn, and other whole grains had a 49% lower risk of “major weight gain” over time compared with women who favored doughnuts and white bread. Over the span of 12 years, middle-aged men and women who ate a diet high in fiber gained 3.35 pounds less than those with who went for refined products.

They redistribute fat

Even if eating whole grains doesn’t actually make you lose weight, studies have shown that it can help you cut down on the amount of body fat you have and lead to a healthier distribution of that fat. Specifically, eating whole grains can leave you with less belly fat—what scientists kindly call “central adiposity”—which increases your risk of diabetes and other health woes.

They make you feel full

One way whole grains may help you control your weight is by making you feel fuller than refined grains such as cookies or white bread. “Whole grains take longer to digest and have a more satiating effect,” says Gans, who is also author of The Small Change Diet. This could also help keep your portions under control. Try rye or protein-packed quinoa to get maximum fullness.

They help regulate blood sugar

One of the main benefits of whole grains is that compared to refined grains, they help keep your blood glucose from spiking, which can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, among other things. Women in one study who ate 2-3 servings of whole grains a day had a 30% lower risk of diabetes than women who ate little or no whole grain products. One analysis found a 32% lower risk of diabetes in people who ate 3 or more servings a day of whole grains versus a 5% risk reduction in those who ate refined grains. Something as simple as swapping one third of a serving of cooked white rice a day (about 2 ounces) for brown rice was associated with a 16% decline in type 2 diabetes risk. “Eating whole grains has been proven to have a protective effect against type 2 diabetes, so they are a smart choice for people with pre-diabetes or high risk of diabetes,” says Cheung.

Some grains deliver calcium

Although whole grains aren’t generally an abundant source of calcium, one grain—a form called teff that is common in Ethiopia—does provide some calcium. One cup of cooked teff has about 123 milligrams of calcium, similar to a half cup of cooked spinach. Also look for calcium in broccoli, milk, yogurt, and cheese and in fortified juice and cereals. Adult men and women should get 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day, according to the National Institutes of Health. Calcium is important for bone health.

Some grains offer vitamin C

As with calcium, whole grains aren’t your first go-to source for vitamin C, but you can get some of your recommended daily allowance from the whole grain known as amaranth. This grain, originating in Mexico and Peru, is also high in other vitamins and minerals including iron and packs a lot of protein, keeping you full longer. As for other sources of vitamin C, load up on cantaloupe, citrus fruits, broccoli, and tomatoes.

They are a good source of B vitamins

Whole grains are rich in the B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, all of which are involved with metabolism. Another B vitamin, folate (folic acid), helps the body form red blood cells and is critical for preventing birth defects in babies. Whole grains can help, but women who are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant need to take a multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid a day. Bran is one good source of B vitamins, says Delbridge, who holds an adjunct faculty position at Arizona State University.

They deliver essential minerals

Along with vitamins, whole grains are a great source of the minerals our bodies need to stay healthy. These include iron, which transports oxygen throughout the body and helps prevent anemia; magnesium, which builds bones; and selenium that protects against oxidation. They also contain zinc, necessary to keep your immune system in fighting shape.

They may reduce asthma risk

Eating whole grains early in life may ward off asthma and other allergic conditions. One study found that children who were introduced to oats as infants were less likely to have asthma or allergic rhinitis by the time they turned five. A Dutch study reported similar findings among children aged 8-13. An overall healthy diet with more whole grains, fruits and vegetables and less meat, and refined foods may reduce asthmatic wheezing, says Delbridge.

They cut markers of inflammation

Asthma is one inflammatory condition that may be eased by consuming whole grains, but there could be others as well. One study found that whole grain barley, brown rice, or a combination of the two reduced markers of inflammation in the gut. Whole grains may also cut levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation that has been linked not only with heart disease and type 2 diabetes but also problems in pregnancy such as premature birth, preeclampsia and fertility problems.

They may even lower cancer risk

Evidence is emerging that whole grain consumption may lower the risks of certain cancers, such as colorectal, breast, and pancreatic cancer. Although the evidence is mixed at this point, what will definitely lower your risk of cancer, says Delbridge, is eating a diet that includes not only whole grains but lots of fruits and vegetables and not a lot of meat or processed foods.

They may protect your teeth and gums

In a study of almost 35,000 male health professionals aged 40-75, participants who consumed the highest amounts of whole grain were 23% less likely to get gum disease than those who stayed away from whole grains. This was true even after taking into account other factors like smoking, age, and body size. Since gum disease is linked to inflammation and other health conditions like heart disease, this is about more than just a pretty smile.

They may help you live longer

Not only will whole grains help you live better, they may also help you live longer. One study of more than 40,000 postmenopausal women found that women who consumed 4-7 servings a week of whole grains had a 31% lower risk of dying from causes other than cancer or heart disease when compared with women who had few or no whole grains in their diet. And it worked in men, too, with another study finding that men who consumed 1 or more servings a day of whole-grain cereal had a 17% reduced risk of dying than those who never or hardly ever ate it.

They contain Resistant Starch

Carbs can be good for you. The trick is to find the right kind of carb and Resistant Starch is one. It’s a carb that acts more like a fiber. Because it’s not easily digested, it moves slowly through your digestive system burning more fat, stoking the hormones that make you feel full, maintaining your insulin in good working order and keeping blood sugar and cholesterol levels down. Try for 10 to 15 grams daily. Oatmeal, pearl barley and brown rice are all good whole grain sources of Resistant Starch, which is also found in green bananas and other non-grain foods.