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Barley is a whole grain that is rich in amino acids, dietary fiber, beta-glucans, calcium, copper, iron, vitamin B-complex, manganese, magnesium, selenium, zinc, protein, and various antioxidants.

While barley water is a drink that is made from water which has been cooked with barley. Sometimes the barley grains are strained out or they are stirred in and combined with a fruit juice or sweetener. Barley water is consumed for its health benefits.

Health Benefits of Drinking Barley Water:

1. Controls Diabetes

Barley water is good for diabetics as it helps in stabilizing blood glucose levels. The beta-glucans, which is a type of soluble fiber in barley can help reduce the rise in glucose and insulin and slow the absorption of glucose after a meal.

Various studies have reported that beta-glucans can help in improving blood glucose control and insulin resistance. Also, it reduces the risk of obesity, which is a key risk factor for Type 2 diabetes.

Also, barley is considered as a low glycemic index food. When barley is combined with carbohydrate counting, foods that are low on the glycemic index help in blood glucose management. The phytochemicals that are present in barley are also beneficial for cancer, controlling diabetes and heart disease.

2. Improves Digestion

Cereal grains such as barley contain high amounts of digestive fiber. The body needs digestive fiber to move food into your stomach and out of your bowels.

When you drink unstrained barley water, you are adding a hydration component to this high fiber concentration. What this means is that your body’s ability to process toxins and get rid of water weight is supercharged. Mayo Clinic, recommends barley as a source of soluble fiber.

3. Lowers Cholesterol

A 2010 clinical trials reported that barley may reduce the level of “bad” cholesterol or LDL in the blood.

While the results varied as it depends on the doses, quality of barley used and the participant’s overall health, the author’s concluded that drinking barley products can be considered as part of a plan to reduce total and LDL cholesterol.

4. Promotes Weight Loss

Barley is a great source of fiber, therefore, barley water retains this characteristic as well. This proves to be a great choice for those looking to lose weight as it tends to fill you up for a longer time, therefore, cutting down on your food intake.

Also, because it is good for digestion, it stimulates the metabolism of fats. But, please remember that this does not mean that you can indulge in fatty foods, and just expect barley water to work its magic.

5. Reduce Cancer Risk

Cancer research reported the importance of liefestyle and diet choices to lower your risk of cancer. The fiber present in barley can help in protect your colon by expelling toxins that are not being removed during regular digestion.

Also, barley contains ferulic acid, which may keep tumors from growing. A study also reported that colon cancer cells were stopped from reproducing by the antioxidants present in barley.

Barley Water Recipe:

Barley water is quick and easy to make. While some choose to add natural flavorings, including lemon, to barley water to give it a better taste.

You can make 6 cups of lemon barley water with the below recipe:

Ingredients:

6 cups Water
2 Lemons (juice and peel)
½ cup Honey (optional)
¾ cup Pearl barley

Directions:
1. Rinse the barley using cold water. Do this until the water runs clear.
2. Place the barley and 6 cups of water in a saucepan.
3. Boil the mixture over medium heat.
4. Simmer for 15-30 minutes and turn down the heat.
5. Strain the mixture in a bowl and discard the barley.
6. Add lemon and honey, until it dissolves.
7. Store into bottles and refrigerate until chilled.

Notes:
Honey will enhance the flavor, but, it will also add sugar. People who are looking to reduce sugar in their diet may wish to remove honey or replace honey with a pinch of stevia.

Sources:
Healthline
Medical News Today

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photo credit: facesoman