Here’s How Barley Water Can Help Balance Blood Sugar, Lower Cholesterol and Boost Gut Health

Being the Parent

Most people find themselves drinking more water during the hotter summer months, and this particular summer has been no exception. Aside from all that thirst quenching H2o keeping you cool and hydrated, there are a bunch of other ways you can get even more benefits when you choose to infuse your water with some extra perks!

While most people think of infused water as simply adding certain fruits and vegetables to your water to get the best health benefits, what many don’t realize is that choosing barley is a much better bet. According to historian and author Rachel Laudan, who wrote the book Cuisine and Empire: Cooking in World History, she shared on her blog that drinking barley water has apparently been in practice since all the way back in Ancient Greece. 

Barley water is simply made by boiling barley grain in water and then straining it. Laudan explains that it will be “milky in color” as well as “so mild in flavor as to be almost tasteless.” 

But what exactly is the reason why it’s been around for so many centuries? Most of the evidence that supports drinking barley water, as well as its health benefits, are mostly based on unscientific stories – since they’ve been passed down through generations all over the globe. Yet there are a few studies that have been done to help back up this supposed beneficial technique.

In 2014, a study published by the NCBI explains that barley is a grain known for its powerful antioxidants that aid in fighting off chronic inflammation. According to the study’s researchers, “the levels decrease slightly when boiled in water, but still pack a pretty potent punch.”

And the 2014 study is not the only one that has been done that has investigated the positive effects of barley. Another one produced in 2013 discovered that those that “consuming barley aided in balancing blood sugar.” Meanwhile, there was a 2016 study that found out that taking barley can also “ward off harmful lipids.”

It was because of those particular outcomes that has led researchers to the conclusion that “barley has even more potential to keep cardiovascular disease at bay,” which roughly translates as helping lessen the risk of potential strokes and heart attacks in patients that are diagnosed with high levels of cholesterol or diabetes.

Much like other grains, barley is a well-known source of fiber which works to aid in digestion and gut health, even when it’s been boiled with hot water and strained. It would seem that for this reason alone, people have been brewing barley water to drink all throughout history.

Some of Chef Alton Brown’s fans could tell you that he dedicated one of the episodes of his series, Good Eats, precisely to talk about barley and why people should eat it. In fact, he even showed his viewers how to make their very own barley water – all the while pretending to be a doctor that hilariously prescribes it to his patient precisely for its digestive and anti-inflammatory benefits. 

Brown also suggests that people make big batches by boiling at least two quarts of water per one cup of hulled barley. He then says to add the zest and juice of two lemons and an additional ¼ cup of honey to add some sweetness to the mix. Only after should you strain the barley from the water then put it in the fridge to chill. See full recipe here.

If your neighborhood grocery doesn’t sell pre-hulled barley, you can actually find it on Amazon for around $14.99. Why not order some today and make a batch to see if it’s something you might see yourself enjoying so that you too, can get the full health benefits of barley water.