A unique grain, barley is filled with benefits manifold. Extremely low in calories it acts as a wonderful diet supplement and helps maintain a slim stature. Being low in cholesterol, it is known to reduce cholesterol levels.
The core ingredient in this highly useful grain is beta-glucan that is also found in oat bran. Explaining it's benefits nutritionist Aruna Kulkarni elaborates, "Barley is packed with insoluble fibre which retains water. So it flushes out intestinal contents with great speed. This also minimises the risk of cancer, since the possibility of harmful elements accumulating in the intestines is less. It is also a good cure for digestive problems like constipation."
While the market is filled with varieties like pearl, pot or whole hulled barley, the latter is known to possess the maximum health benefits. Being from the brown family, whole hulled barley has twice the fibre and vitamins compared to the other varieties. Although the pearl variety is the most refined, it contains ample quantity of iron and fibre.
Barley water is a boon for kidneys as well. It can combat arthritic and rheumatic problems if consumed in large quantities. It is advisable to prepare your own barley water rather than picking up the readymade stuff as it is known to be laded with excess preservatives and sugar. Kulkarni shares with us the recipe of making an ideal glass:
- Boil 1 kg of barley until soft
- Strain the extract
- To make it tasty mix fresh lemon or orange juice
- One can add Demerara or golden sugar if required
- Can be used for longer periods if refrigerated
If stored in a dark place, away from the light, barley pods can last up to one year. So, make this wonder grain a part of your daily diet regimen. Include it in soups, cereals, salads or have it plain, and raise a toast to your good health.