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Barley is a widely grown cereal grain. Barley water has been used for many centuries in places like Greece, Britain, and East and Southeast Asia. The Greeks make a drink using mint and barley called kykeon. During the yearly tennis tournament at Wimbledon, athletes are served fruit-flavored barley water for hydration.
Barley is a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Research shows this grain helps fight diabetes by slowing glucose absorption and also reduces the risk of heart disease due to its ability to lower both cholesterol and blood pressure.
Barley water has a mild taste that can be enhanced with different spices and fruits to create a nutritious and delicious drink. It is very economical, as organic barley usually costs about $5 for 20 ounces.
When shopping for barley, you will see names like pearled barley and hulled barley. Hulled barley is the whole-grain form of barley, and with only the outermost hull removed, it’s the healthiest. Pearled barley cooks more quickly, but it contains fewer nutrients because the bran layers and outer husks have been removed.
You should consider this ancient superfood as a staple in your home. Barley water can be served hot or cold and is easy to prepare.
Try barley water yourself with this recipe:
“B-Glucan from Barley and Its Lipid-Lowering Capacity: A Meta-analysis of Randomized, Controlled Trials” by S.S. AbuMweis, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 10/6/10
“Diets Containing Barley Significantly Reduce Lipids in Mildly Hypercholesterolemic Men and Women” by K.M. Behall et al., Am J Clin Nutr, 11/04
“Health & Nutrition,” www.BarleyFoods.org