Apparently, Barley is the hottest thing since sliced bread! Our old folks can’t get enough of it and us, young folks can’t either! In fact, it seems history won’t be complete without all the great talks about Barley. Everywhere is barley-buzzing and here’s why!
First of all, what do you Know about Barley?
This grain has been around for thousands of years and yes, it is one of the first grains ever cultivated and eaten in our planet. Botanically referred to as Hordeum vulgare, Barley is a member of the grass family and a nutrient-filled grain that is useful in the treatment of a number of health conditions. It is an edible grass that is grown and harvested annually.
Barley has been used as staple food for centuries. In the medieval times, it was the go-to grain for peasant farmers. Guess what? It is still part of the everyday diet in many African, European and Middle Eastern communities. Barley is best harvested in springtime.
Just how Long has it Been Around?
Remember I mentioned that Barley has been around for thousands of years? Well, I wasn’t bluffing. In fact, the plant was first cultivated in Eurasia about ten thousand years ago! Now, that is a lot of time. The plant has also been cultivated for hundreds of years in other temperate climes globally. It is also referred to as spring barley or winter barley.
What Does it Look Like?
Barley does not differ much in appearance from other grains. The grain is a tall grass plant that grows to about eighty to a hundred centimeters in height. Each barley plant has nearly six stems and each of these stems is slightly hairy and erect and has small spike-like hairs at the head. The barley grains are produced at the plant’s inflorescence. Twenty or more of barley grains may be produced by a single inflorescence.
Originally, barley was meant for the wild alone until some folks in the Middle East decided to bring this great grain to their gardens. Hence, we have the farmers of the Middle Eastern Fertile Crescent to thank for bringing barley into our home gardens.
So, What’s the Big Deal about Barley?
Good question! Apparently, there are so many health-related benefits you can get from having barley in your diet regularly. I’ll share seven of them with you!
Something for Weak Bones
Here’s one for the elderly and every other person that may be suffering from osteoporosis, which is the brittle bone disease. Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones get weaker and get be easily broken. It often results in nutrients deficiencies or old age.
If you fall into this category, Barley is your superhero! This is because barley contains a number of essential minerals that can keep your bones healthy and strong. It is rich in phosphorus, copper, and calcium. In fact, nutritionists say that Barley contains nearly eleven times more calcium than is found in milk! Of course, we know that calcium is an essential bone nutrient that ensures bone health and protects your bones from damage.
It is also responsible for regenerating and maintaining your body’s bone cells. In addition, barley is also rich in manganese; an essential nutrient that aids bone cells production and helps to prevent iron deficiency. Manganese also aids the maturation of collagen
All these work to ensure the overall health of your bones.
A Healthy Skin
Forget cosmetics, a regular inclusion of barley in your diet is all you need to maintain a healthy skin glow. Barley is rich in selenium, an essential nutrient that helps to prevent the elasticity of the skin. Selenium also protects the skin from free radical damages and prevents the slackening of the skin.
Let’s Talk about your Digestive System!
A more effective digestive system is one of the sure benefits that come with a barley-rich diet. Barley has lots of dietary fiber which helps to free up your digestive system and aids the digestion process. Fiber also helps to detoxify your digestive system, leaving it toxin-free.
In addition, fiber reacts with the friendly bacteria in your large intestine, and this reaction leads to the production of butyric acid which fuels the activities of intestinal cells.
Barley also cleanses the colon and reduces your risk of having colon cancer and hemorrhoids. It is extremely useful in preventing constipation and other gastrointestinal infections.
Eating barley regularly reduces your risk of having different types of cancer especially colon, skin and liver cancers. Barley is rich in selenium a nutrient that helps to detoxify your liver and mop up a number of cancers- causing compounds that can be found in your body.
Nutritionists also suggest that a regular barley diet may help to prevent cell inflammation and slow down the growth of malignant body cells. In cases of tumors, eating barley is believed to slow down the growth rate of tumor cells. It also helps to strengthen your body’s immune system and speed up the production of killer T cells.
Doing Away with Excess Calories
Fat and excess calories can be a real pain in the neck, and doing away with them can be a rather herculean task. However, the right amount of barley in your diet can make weight loss a whole lot easier to achieve. As a result of its high fiber content, Barley serves as a bulking agent in your digestive system.
It also helps to improve the satisfaction you derive from your meal and slows down your food cravings. This helps to reduce your overall calorie intake and drives weight loss away.
Barley helps to manage blood sugar levels in the body. Regular consumption of diets rich in barley may slow down the release of sugar into your bloodstream.
Nutritionists say that the essential amino acids contained in barley can help to balance insulin and body sugar levels. It also improves insulin sensitivity and reduces lipid accumulation.
A Healthy Heart
Keep your heart functioning at a hundred percent with Barley! This wonderful grain helps to improve the optimum functioning of your heart. Barley contains essential compounds that help to lower blood cholesterol and high blood pressure; which are factors that lead to a variety of cardiovascular conditions. It also aids a number of heart functions like blood circulation and heartbeat rhythms.
Any Side Effects?
Barley is great for you! However, there may be a few exceptions when it comes to who should have this great grain in his or her diet. Persons who are allergic to grains like wheat and corn are advised to stay off Barley. Pregnant and nursing mothers are advised to consult their healthcare providers before incorporating barley into their diets. Barley flour may cause asthma or worsen conditions of patients with celiac disease. In addition, persons who are scheduled for surgeries are advised to eliminate barley from their diets at least two weeks before the surgery, as barley may reduce blood sugar levels and affect blood sugar controls before and after the surgery.
If you do not fall into any of the already identified categories, then feel free to incorporate barley into your diet when and how you wish.
Now, you know why everyone is Barley-Buzzing! It’s time to enjoy my barley enriched diet. I do hope you do same.