How to cook Barley for Maximum Health Benefits?
Barley, if consumed properly, has endless health benefits as proved by recent studies. Therefore, in this article, we will talk about how to cook barley for maximum health benefits.
Before we proceed to learn how to cook barley, let us first have a basic idea of what is barley and what are its health benefits.
Let’s get started!
What is Barley?
Barley is one of the most popular cereals in the world. Its scientific name is Hordeum Vulgare L. It belongs to the family of grasses just like rice. Barley has recently gained immense popularity across the globe for its numerous health benefits. It is the largest consumed cereal in the USA and is the fourth most grown cereal in the world.
Barley supplies us with a lot of nutrients as given below:
- Vitamin B complex
Let us now have a look at the types and proven health benefits of barley in the following paragraphs before proceeding on to how to cook barley.
Types of Barley and Which Type has the Maximum Health Benefits?
This basically refers to the various forms in which barley is available to us. They are basically:
- Hulled (covered) barley
- Un-hulled barley
- Pearled barley
- Flour of barley
Hulled barley retains the inedible, fibrous hull of the barley grain whereas pearled barley is a more polished and processed form of barley. Consequently, hulled barley is richer in nutrients than pearled barley. This is because while processing, pearled barley loses the bran and nutritious layer.
However, hulled barley is harder to obtain as compared to pearled barley which is readily available in the market. Pearled barley also takes lesser time to be cooked.
Health Benefits of Barley
Given below are some of the most important health benefits of barley:
- It is a rich source of many nutrients: As discussed under the subheading ‘What is Barley?’, barley contains a huge number of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. These are helpful to help your body to function properly.
- Reduces appetite: Barley when consumed reduces your hunger. It is also a healthier option as it has lesser calories and more protein than oats. This, in turn, helps you lose weight over time.
- Improves digestion: Barley is very rich in fibers. Fibers are not digested in the body and as such, they increase the bulk of your feces. Thus, barley also helps to prevent constipation and so we can say, it improves digestion.
- It prevents gall bladder stones: This is also due to the fiber content of barley. The fibers present in barley help your gall bladder function normally and reduces the chances of formation of any stones.
- Lowers cholesterol: On recent studies performed by scientists, barley had lowered LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglyceride levels and increased HDL (good cholesterol) levels. This is because of the beta-glucans present in barley. They decrease the production of bile acids and felicitate their excretion, thereby decreasing the overall cholesterol level in your blood.
- Reduced incidence of heart diseases: By reducing cholesterol levels as discussed above, barley also reduces the incidence of heart diseases.
- Provides antioxidants: Barley provides us with lignans. Lignans are antioxidants obtained from plants that help your body fight against cancer, heart ailments, and harmful chemicals.
- Keeps your blood sugar in check: Barley reduces the level of sugar in your blood by inhibiting glycogenolysis. Thus, it helps prevent diabetes.
- Protects against colon cancer: Wholegrains like hulled barley have compounds in them that effectively help your body fight against colon cancer.
- It can be easily incorporated in your diet: This is probably the best advantage of barley. It can be easily incorporated in our day-to-day foods and it is healthier than, any other food item as well.
How to Cook Barley?
Let us now arrive at the main point of this article, i.e., how to cook barley as a side dish, main dish, breakfast, and others.
Cooking barley first involves selecting and buying the right type of barley first. Ideally, you should buy hulled barley but un-hulled is also okay. Pearled barley is not recommended as such.
Always soak and sprout hulled barley grains to maximize their health benefits. This serves two purposes:
- Sprouting helps your body absorb the nutrients better.
- It also lowers the levels of phytic acid, thus helping your body to absorb and digest the barley better.
Wash the barley properly before cooking them. Make sure the grains don’t contain hulls as these may contain bacteria.
The proper way to cook barley is taking barley and water in a 3:1 ratio and boiling it. After the mixture starts boiling, lower the flame and simmer for 60 minutes if its pearled barley and 90 minutes if its hulled barley. Serve hot!
You can also try the following recipes:
- You can add it to your soups and stews for its nutty flavor. Tap to try these soup preparations.
- For breakfast, you can try a delicious Porridge recipe.
- If you are looking for how to cook barley as a side dish, you might want to replace rice with barley.
- Interestingly, you can also cook barley and lentils together. This is how to cook barley and lentils together.
- You can also make barley bread.
So, by now I am sure I could help you with your question of how to cook barley for maximum benefits. Select your own favorite barley recipe today and eat healthily!