Health

Impressive Health Benefits of Barley Tea .

Barley tea is a popular drink in Korea, Japan, and China and is widely believed to provide health benefits including weight loss, blood sugar regulation, relieving digestive problems and even improving male fertility.

What Is Barley Tea?

Barley tea—also known as Korean barley tea or roasted barley tea—is a popular hot and cold drink in Asia. In Korea, the drink is called boricha (bori meaning barley and cha meaning tea). In Japan, the drink is called mugicha and in China, the drink is called damai cha or mai cha.

The primary ingredient in barley tea is (of course) roasted barley. Barley is a whole grain that is grown around the world.

Barley is popular with healthy eaters because of its high fiber content and mild taste. The grain is easy to use in recipes and is used to manufacture bread, cereal, and is also fermented and used in the production of some alcoholic drinks such as beer and distilled beverages.

The flavor of barley tea is often described as light and nutty. However, some Korean tea makers include roasted corn in their recipe to boost sweetness. When corn is added, the tea is called oksusu bori cha.

How to Make Barley Tea.

The easiest way to make barley tea at home is to purchase barley tea bags or prepared roasted (ready to brew) . If you choose to make barley tea from scratch, you’ll begin by roasting barley. You can roast barley on the stove top in a pan (without oil) or in a preheated oven. Roast the grain until it is lightly brown but not too dark.

To prepare barley tea:

▪️ Add about two tablespoons of the roasted barley to a medium pot (eight cups) of water and bring to a boil.

▪️ Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to cook for 15 to 20 minutes depending on your taste. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

▪️ Reheat the barley tea to serve as a warm tea drink or refrigerate the barley water and serve cold.

▪️ Some tea drinkers add a small amount of lemon or sweetener (like honey or sugar) to the tea for added flavor.

Spices such as cardamom can also be added to the hot or cold beverage.

Does Barley Tea Contain Caffeine?

Barley tea is not a “tea” in the traditional sense and is not made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, like black tea or green tea. It is brewed just from barley, which does not contain any caffeine. Therefore barley tea is completely caffeine-free.

Impressive Health Benefits of Barley.

Here are 8 evidence-based health benefits of barley.

1. Rich in Many Beneficial Nutrients.

Barley is rich in vitamins, minerals and other beneficial plant compounds.It’s available in many forms, ranging from hulled barley to barley grits, flakes and flour.

Almost all forms of barley utilize the whole grain — except for pearl barley, which has been polished to remove some or all of the outer bran layer along with the hull.

When consumed as a whole grain, barley is a particularly rich source of fiber, molybdenum, manganese and selenium.

It also contains good amounts of copper, vitamin B1, chromium, phosphorus, magnesium and niacin .

Additionally, barley packs lignans, a group of antioxidants linked to a lower risk of cancer and heart disease .

However, like all whole grains, barley does have antinutrients, which impair your body’s digestion and nutrient absorption.

Try soaking or sprouting the grain to reduce the antinutrient content. These preparation methods make barley’s nutrients more absorbable .

Soaking and sprouting may also increase vitamin, mineral, protein and antioxidant levels .What’s more, you can use sprouted barley flour for baking.

2. Reduces Hunger and May Help You Lose Weight.

Barley may reduce hunger and promote feelings of fullness — both of which may lead to weight loss over time.

Barley lessens hunger largely through its high fiber content. A soluble fiber known as beta-glucan is particularly helpful.

That’s because soluble fibers, such as beta-glucan, tend to form a gel-like substance in your gut, which slows the digestion and absorption of nutrients. In turn, this curbs your appetite and promotes fullness .

A review of 44 studies found that soluble fibers, such as beta-glucan, are the most effective type of fiber for reducing appetite and food intake .What’s more, soluble fiber may target belly fat associated with metabolic disease .

3. Insoluble and Soluble Fiber Content Improves Digestion.

Barley can boost your intestinal health.Once again, its high fiber content is responsible — and in this case, particularly its insoluble fiber.

Most of the fiber found in barley is insoluble, which — unlike soluble fiber — does not dissolve in water. Instead, it adds bulk to your stool and accelerates intestinal movement, reducing your likelihood of constipation .

In one four-week study in adult women, eating more barley improved bowel function and increased stool volume .

On the other hand, barley’s soluble fiber content provides food for friendly gut bacteria, which, in turn, produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs).

Research shows that SCFAs help feed gut cells, reducing inflammation and improving symptoms of gut disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

4. May Prevent Gallstones and Reduce Your Risk of Gallbladder Surgery.

Barley’s high fiber content may also help prevent gallstones.

Gallstones are solid particles that can form spontaneously in your gallbladder, a small organ located under the liver. The gallbladder produces bile acids which your body uses to digest fat.

In most cases, gallstones don’t cause any symptoms. However, from time to time, large gallstones can get stuck in a duct of your gallbladder, causing intense pain. Such cases often require surgery to remove the gallbladder.

The type of insoluble fiber found in barley may help prevent the formation of gallstones and reduce the likelihood of gallbladder surgery.

In one 16-year observational study, women with the highest amounts of fiber intake were 13% less likely to develop gallstones requiring gallbladder removal.

This benefit appears to be dose-related, as every 5-gram increase in insoluble fiber intake dropped gallstone risk by around 10% .

In another study, obese individuals were put on one of two rapid weight loss diets — one rich in fiber, the other in protein. Rapid weight loss can increase the risk of developing gallstones.

After five weeks, participants on the fiber-rich diet were three times likelier to have healthy gallbladders than those on the protein-rich diet.

5. Beta-Glucans May Help Lower Cholesterol.

Barley may also lower your cholesterol levels.

The beta-glucans found in barley have been shown to reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol by binding to bile acids.

Your body removes these bile acids — which your liver produces from cholesterol — via the feces.

Your liver must then use up more cholesterol to make new bile acids, in turn lowering the amount of cholesterol circulating in your blood .In one small study, men with high cholesterol were put on a diet rich in whole wheat, brown rice or barley.

After five weeks, those given barley reduced their cholesterol levels by 7% more than participants on the other two diets.

What’s more, the barley group also increased their “good” HDL cholesterol and reduced their triglyceride levels the most .

A recent review evaluating 14 randomized control trials — the gold standard in scientific research — found similar results .

Lab, animal and human studies also show that the SCFAs produced when healthy gut bacteria feed on soluble fiber may help prevent cholesterol production as well, further reducing cholesterol levels.

6. May Reduce Heart Disease Risk.

Whole grains are consistently linked to better heart health. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that regularly adding barley to your diet may lower your risk of heart disease.

That’s because barley may lower certain risk factors — in addition to reducing “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, barley’s soluble fiber may bring blood pressure levels down .

In fact, a recent review of randomized control studies observed that an average intake of 8.7 grams of soluble fiber per day may be linked to a modest 0.3–1.6 mmHg reduction in blood pressure .

High blood pressure and high LDL cholesterol are two known risk factors for heart disease. Thus, reducing them may protect your heart.

7. Magnesium and Soluble Fiber May Protect Against Diabetes.

Barley may reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels and improving insulin secretion.

This is in part due to barley’s rich magnesium content — a mineral that plays an important role in insulin production and your body’s use of sugar .

Barley is also rich in soluble fiber, which binds with water and other molecules as it moves through your digestive tract, slowing down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream .

Research shows that a barley breakfast provides a lower maximum rise in blood sugar and insulin levels than a breakfast consisting of other whole grains, such as oats .

In another study, participants with impaired fasting glucose were given either oatmeal or barley flakes daily. After three months, fasting blood sugar and insulin levels decreased by 9–13% more for those eating barley.

8. May Help Prevent Colon Cancer.

A diet rich in whole grains is generally linked to a lower likelihood of many chronic diseases, including certain cancers — especially those of the colon .

Again, barley’s high fiber content plays a central role.

Its insoluble fiber specifically helps reduce the time food takes to clear your gut, which appears particularly protective against colon cancers. Additionally, soluble fiber may bind to harmful carcinogens in your gut, removing them from your body .

Other compounds found in barley — including antioxidants, phytic acid, phenolic acids and saponins — may further protect against cancer or slow its development .

That said, more human studies are needed before strong conclusions can be drawn.

Barley Tea Side Effects.

Barley tea is most likely safe when consumed by most people and used appropriately. If you have an allergy to cereal grains, celiac disease, or sensitivity to gluten you may want to avoid any product with barley.

Reference :

Malia Frey (25-1-2019), “Barley Tea Benefits and Side Effects”، www.verywellfit.com

Alina Petre (18-09-2018), “9 Impressive Health Benefits of Barley”، www.healthline.com

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