I want to say a big thank you to you all for all the messages you sent on our anniversary. Thank you very much.
Recently, someone very dear to me had cataract surgery. I was on standby on the day of the surgery and I watched doctors spring into action. By the second day when the plaster on the eye was removed, my dear one started seeing clearly and she told me that “the eye is bright like a fluorescent light bulb”.
Like I always say, this platform is a bridge between herbal and medical science. We identify with doctors all the time. Although I cannot start mentioning the names of the doctors who performed this surgery, from the deepest part of my heart, I say to doctors all over the world whose tremendous skills have saved lives that they are truly amazing, compassionate and brilliant human beings. Can I still go back to school to study medicine?
I am still on the grain and seed series. This week, I will discuss barley, which is botanically known as Hordeum vulgare. It is commonly used as a source of malt for alcoholic beverages, especially beer. Traditional Roman athletes consumed barley for strength and energy. South America was introduced to this cereal in the 16th century by the Spanish and it reached the United States in the 17th century. Barley can be a delicious and healthy addition to your diet, thanks to the array of nutrients present in it, such as carbohydrates, soluble and insoluble fibres, sodium, B vitamins including niacin, thiamin and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), minerals, calcium, phosphorous, amino acids and fatty acids. It has moderate quantities of protein. It is also cholesterol-free.
It contains beta-glucans, a type of fibre that scientists have linked to various health benefits. Hulled barley is the true whole-grain form with only the outermost hull removed, whereas pearled barley is polished to remove the bran layer and often the inner endosperm layer. Though pearled barley is still a good source of some nutrients, hulled barley is the healthier option.
When consumed as a whole grain, barley is a particularly rich source of fibre, molybdenum, manganese and selenium. It also contains good amounts of copper, chromium and magnesium. Additionally, it packs lignans, a group of antioxidants linked to a lower risk of cancer and heart disease. However, like all whole grains, barley does have anti-nutrients, which impair your body’s digestion and nutrient absorption. Try soaking or sprouting the grain to reduce the anti-nutrient content. These preparation methods make barley’s nutrients more absorbable. Soaking and sprouting may also increase vitamin, mineral, protein and antioxidant levels.
A small Swedish study shows that eating barley bread reduced blood sugar quickly. Researchers at Lund University recruited 20 middle-aged men and women and asked them to eat bread made from barley at breakfast, lunch and dinner for three days.
The researchers examined the participants between 11 and 14 hours after their final meal of the day for risk factors indicating diabetes and cardiovascular disease. They reported that the participants’ metabolism improved for up to 14 hours, their blood sugar and insulin levels dropped and their appetite was reduced. The team credited these positive changes to an increase of beneficial bacteria in the gut stimulated by the fiber in barley. They also found that the barley prompted the release of hormones that regulate metabolism and appetite and an increase in a hormone that helps reduce chronic low-grade inflammation. Over time, all of these effects could help prevent diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
An earlier study from the Sweden’s University of Gothenburg found that barley fibre increases the numbers of Prevotella copri, gut bacteria that help regulate blood sugar and decrease populations of unhealthy gut bacteria. The researchers wrote that the effects of barley are influenced by the composition of an individual’s microbiota. People with low concentrations of Prevotella copri received less benefit from eating this grain.
Barley is known to contain arginine and nitric oxide, both of which are responsible for penile erection and can treat penile dysfunction. Arginine is also known to increase sperm and egg cell production. When barley grains are included in a diet on a regular basis, it can stimulate sexual performance in both men and women. Young barley, which is the young leaf part, seems to be a promising material for use as nutricosmetic due to the presence of many biologically active compounds. So, a study was done to evaluate the effect of the plant extracts on human skin fibroblasts exposed to ultraviolet radiation B radiation. I am going to cite the study.
Barley tea is a blend made of roasted barley seeds. To make the tea, the plant’s roasted kernels are boiled in water. The powder is also available in pre-made tea bags. Popular in East Asian countries, this drink is favoured in countries like Taiwan, South Korea, China and Japan. Barley kernels are dried and ground to make flour. It can be added to stews, salads, soups or cooked as whole grains. Cooked barley makes a nice change from the usual oatmeal. You can use it as a side dish instead of couscous or white pasta. It is also a great alternative to white rice dishes. You can also simply buy whole-grain bread that contains barley. There is also barley green powder made from the plant’s grass. Barley broth (Talbinah) is prepared by combining barley syrup, milk and honey. The Prophet Mohammad recommended Talbinah for sadness and heart relief in sorrow.
Let us see more benefits:
High in fibre: Most of the fibre found in barley is insoluble, which unlike soluble fibre 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 fibre content provides food for friendly gut bacteria which in turn, produce short-chain fatty acids. Research shows that SCFAs help feed gut cells, reducing inflammation and improving symptoms of gut disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
- Reduces hunger and may help you lose weight
- May prevent gallstones
- Helps lower cholesterol
- May reduce heart disease risk
- May protect against diabetes
- May help prevent colon cancer
- Good for digestive health
- Barley helps in preventing Osteoporosis
- Boosts immune System
- Decreases inflammation.
In a study titled ‘Chemical composition and protective effect of young barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) dietary supplements extracts on UV-Treated human skin fibroblasts in In Vitro Studies’ by Gromkowska-Kępka et al, the results indicate that young barley extracts, due to protective as well as restorative effect, could potentially be used in the production of nutricosmetics and skin care products.
2: In a study titled ‘Nutritional and therapeutic properties of barley broth (Talbinah): recent updates’ by Muhammad Afzaal et al, conclusively, Talbinah as functional food could be a way of preventing various health maladies.
Last week, we made a pact not to quarrel on local names. So, just ask me, “How can I get barley”, not what is the local name.
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