In winters, the weather is wet, cold and heavy; dominated by the water element. These qualities aggravate kapha in our body. The onset of winters also intensifies the digestive fire. We tend to enjoy fuller quantities of our favourite dishes. However, over-eating can stifle the digestive fire, leading to sloth, decreased immunity and depression.
Kapha pacifying foods do us good during winters. Thick, salty & sweet foods increase kapha; whereas, light, dry, stimulating, & warming foods help balance it. Barley is a whole grain which balances kapha & pitta and aids in various internal processes in our system. It does not produce excessive mucus in the body – a quality which makes it preferable during wintertime.
A Light Food
Barley is comparatively lighter for digestion than other whole grains. Yet, as an excellent source of fiber, it satiates you for long and helps check over-eating. Its digestive qualities stimulate the metabolism of fats. Additionally, barley is rich in proteins, fibers, essential vitamins & minerals and low in cholesterol, fat & sugar. Its soluble fibers make their way straight to the intestines and hamper the absorption of fats & cholesterol into the blood. In this way, this wonderful food helps you in managing your weight.
Barley helps purify the whole of your system. When taken regularly, beta-glucans present in barley dispel toxins from the body through the urinary tract.
Helpful in UTI
Ayurveda deems barley as an amazing diuretic, useful in urinary tract infections. You can subside a UTI by gulping a few glasses of barley water on a daily basis. It helps restore electrolyte balance during infections and is also a good remedy for kidney stones. Further, it keeps your system cool during summers.
Barley is great for those with sluggish digestive fire and works well as a cure for diarrhoea, constipation and other digestive issues.
Packed with Essential Nutrients
Barley is a good source of essential nutrients, such as soluble & insoluble fibers, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The minerals in barley like calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, zinc & copper, along with its phytochemicals, reduce the risk of diabetes and heart diseases.
At the same time, the soluble fibers and beta-glucans in barley make it capable to control blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Barley inhibits the absorption of LDL and triglycerides from food, thereby, keeping a check on blood cholesterol. And, it enhances insulin resistance to prevent any increase in blood sugar.
Protects Vital Organs & Systems
The anti-inflammatory properties of barley protect your heart against a range of cardiovascular diseases. It also protects your kidneys, liver, bones and joints, enabling their optimal functioning.
You can consume barley in multiple forms. Barley flour is used in baking breads and preparing chapatis. You can top your barley chapati with honey and cinnamon to amplify its kapha-balancing effect.
Barley water is another amazing recipe to explore. It is an ancient remedy included by our ancestors in their daily diet. You can drink barley water as your daily health beverage, much like tea, soup or juice. It can be enjoyed hot or cold and flavoured with lemon or sugar, if you like.
For a steaming, nutritious bowl of barley soup, boil fresh winter veggies and barley together. It is a good idea to enjoy this stomach filling delicacy in dinner or as refreshment, between meals.
Barley can also be used to top your salads, in stir-fries, curries, stews or cooked into a porridge, or khichdi. Mix and match it with other grains, veggies and spice your dish with warm herbs like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, fennel, pepper, ginger, nutmeg, mustard seeds and honey. Honey is great for mucus cleansing and pacifies kapha, as well.