Barley is one of the most popular cereals in the world. And it is very versatile.
Southest Asia and Ethiopia are claimed to be the place where people first cultivated barley about 10,000 years ago.
Its various applications have been recorded since ancient civilizations.
For ancient Greek, barley was a necessary ingredient to produce bread.
During this time, athletes also used barley often to improve their physical strength.
Then, this tradition was practised by Roman athletes as well.
Ancient Chinese people considered barley as the token of male virility because of its heavy heads and number of seeds.
In the Middle Ages, Europeans used barley to make bread, instead of wheat, so that they could save more money.
Barley made its appearance in America in the 16th and 17th century thanks to Spanish explorers.
Nowadays, Canada is the leading producer of this cereal. The United States, Germany and France also appear in the list of top
Barley is an impressively high calorie cereal with about 352 kcal per 100 grams of raw barley (1).
Nearly 10 percent of its content is protein and the amount of fiber is particularly high as well.
While the amount of fat stands at only slightly over 1 gram, carbs make up for a considerable proportion with more than 77 per 100 grams of barley.
One of the most notable features in barley nutrition facts is the richness of minerals.
Potassium, magnesium and phosphorus are minerals that exist with remarkable amounts in barley.
This cereal is also an excellent source of manganese and selenium.
Another important barley nutrition fact is its substantial number of vitamins which are responsible for many barley health benefits.
Health Benefits of Barley
Barley has a long tradition throughout human history. In any period, barley still remains one of the most important parts in human diet.
This popularity might not only come from its low cost and various applications, but also result from its effects on our health.
Here are top 8 health benefits of barley which may make you fall in love with this cereal immediately.
1. Prevent Atherosclerosis
One of the most important health benefits of barley is to protect you from cardiovascular threats, namely, atherosclerosis.
This property attributes to the richness of niacin, a type of vitamin B in barley.
Consisting of fat and protein, Lipoprotein is as harmful as LDL cholesterol which is one of the most common causes for heart diseases.
In addition, niacin plays an active part in the fight against free radicals which aim to oxidize LDL in the body (5).
This process might have negative impacts on your blood vessel walls.
Plus, niacin contributes to the prevention against platelet aggregation which may form blood clots.
Bottom Line: With a high amount of niacin, barley is beneficial for your cardiovascular health in many aspects.
2. Prevent Gallstones
Thanks to its fiber-rich nature, one of the best health benefits of barley is to protect women from gallstones (6).
The American Journal of Gastroenterology also supported this statement in its studies.
Insoluble fiber plays an essential role in lowering the secretion of bile acid. As a result, the triglyceride level might experience a significant reduction (7).
Researchers from the Nurses Health Study examined nearly 70,000 women consuming fiber-rich foods for 16 years.
The result showed that they were less exposed to gallstones by 13 percent than those receiving less fiber in their diet.
Bottom Line: Barley which is rich in fiber will be a great support for women in the prevention against gallstones.
3. Against Cancer
In the long term, you will find out that barley is extremely helpful because benefits of barley on the cancer prevention are real.
This cereal provides a number of phytonutrients which are plant lignans.
You can find a great number of lignans not only from grains, but also from many other types of foods, such as seeds or berries.
Bottom Line: With many phytonutrients in its content, barley is powerful enough to lower the risk of breast cancer and some other types.
4. Arthritis Treatment
Copper exists in barley nutrition with a significant amount.
And this element is mainly responsible for benefits of barley in the treatment for arthritis (Read more about Copper Health Benefits).
With a cup of barley, you will receive 32 percent of an ordinary person’s daily need of copper.
5. Tissue Growth
Another mineral that constitutes one of the best barley health benefits is phosphorus.
It is an important component of all cells in our body.
Furthermore, it participates actively in forming our bones.
6. Prevent Asthma
The American Lung Association claims that asthma affects the lives of nearly 20 million Americans.
This problem results in an annual loss of 16.1-billion-dollar.
In fact, to prevent this problem and its consequences is much simpler than people thought.
A diet which consists of more healthy foods, like fish and whole grains, is one of the most effective methods.
When researchers examined children with a regular and irregular consumption of whole grains and fish.
They found out that the risk of asthma in the group with the regular consumption reduced to only 2.8 percent.
Meanwhile, the risk for the other group of low intake was 16.7%.
Bottom Line: Like other whole grains, barley is a credit to the prevention against asthma.
7. Intestinal Protection
With its abundance of fiber, it is undeniable that one of top benefits of barley is to promote the intestinal health.
Dietary fiber from barley serves as an excellent source of food to support the growth of bacteria that are friendly to our large intestine.
The bacteria, in turn, contributes to the formation of butyric acid which the intestinal cells need to function properly.
This process guarantees a healthy colon and a clean stomach.
Bottom Line: Barley plays an important role in maintaining your healthy intestine and colon.
8. Cholesterol Level
The last one in the list of top health benefits of barley is related to cholesterol reduction.
Some studies have proved that dietary fiber has cholesterol-lowering quality (19). And barley is full of fiber.
Its low-fat nature is another advantage in the fight against high level of cholesterol.
Barley is a popular and nutritious cereal in the world. It brings many health benefits to human beings.
Nevertheless, another thing that you had better pay close attention to is the fact that barley has some unwanted effects as well.
For example, the excessive use of barley will lead to an overload of fiber, which triggers some digestive issues, such as gas, cramping or abdominal bloating.
Besides, due to its gluten content, barley is not suitable for those with gluten intolerance.
Disclaim: The effectiveness from using these foods on certain problems and diseases will be depended on the body condition of the applicant.