Barley is a cereal grain with a rich nutlike flavour and a chewy pasta-like consistency. As with most grains, it’s in season in Autumn.
It can be eaten in various forms, such as barley flakes in porridge, hulled barley, or pearl barley in soups, stews & casseroles. Compared to many other grains, barley is higher in dietary fibre.
Pearl barley is one of the most refined forms of barley and has the least nutritional value.
Hulled barley is the most nutritionally rich but needs cooking the longest and is one of the hardest forms to digest, due to having more fibre.
Barley sprouts are considered even richer in vitamins and minerals, due to the process of them sprouting into young plants.
Natural barley water is also a good source of nutrients and helps flush toxins through urine, soothes UTI’s, supports the digestive system & lowers blood sugar & cholesterol.
Barley provides a range of important vitamins and minerals including:
- Fibre: normalises bowel movements by increasing the weight and size of your stool and softening it
- Manganese: aids in the formation of connective tissue, bones, blood-clotting factors, and sex hormones. It also plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation and is necessary for normal brain and nerve function.
- Selenium: needed for proper thyroid and immune system function.
- Vitamin B1: important in the breakdown of carbohydrates from foods into products needed by the body.
- Folate: a B vitamin which supports the making of DNA and other genetic material, which supports egg and sperm quality. It is also needed for healthy cell division.
- Copper: plays a role in making red blood cells, maintaining nerve cells and supports the immune system. It also helps form collagen, absorbs iron, and plays a role in energy production.
- Chromium: works with insulin in the body to metabolise carbohydrates.
- Phosphorus: is important in cell division and for the development of new tissue.
- Magnesium: supports bone health & helps calcium absorption.
In Chinese Medicine Barley is used to:
- Regulate Fluids
- Strengthen digestion
- Clear Heat & Detoxify
Barley is great for people who retain too much fluid and have a slow or sluggish digestive system.
It’s also helpful for people who have occasional inflammatory symptoms with toxicity, such as acne, boils, abscesses, and any other type of swollen painful skin issue.
Gynecologically Chinese medicine uses barley to clear excessive fluids in the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. It is therefore often found in herbal medicine prescriptions for reducing and clearing cysts and other forms of fluid accumulation in the reproductive system.
For anyone struggling with PCOS barley is an excellent grain to use due to its fluid balancing properties, and its ability to regulate blood sugar – a common imbalance that’s involved with PCOS.
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