There are numerous barley tea health benefits that make drinking it worthwhile. Findings has shown it may helps to enhance circulation, address skin conditions, prevent chronic illnesses, and sooth the stomach.
Further evidence has shown it could contribute to promoting male fertility, averting diabetes, facilitating weight loss, purifying the blood, and fortifying the immune system. Continue reading to discover more about the health benefits of barley tea, how to brew it and many more.
What Is Barley Tea?
Barley tea, also recognized as Korean barley tea or roasted barley tea, enjoys popularity as both a hot and cold beverage in Asian cultures. In Korea, it is known as boricha (bori denoting barley and cha meaning tea). Meanwhile, in Japan, it’s referred to as mugicha, and in China, it’s called damai cha or mai cha. The key ingredient in barley tea is, without a doubt, roasted barley. Barley, a globally cultivated whole grain, is favored among health-conscious individuals due to its considerable fiber content and mild taste.
This versatile grain finds its way into various recipes and is utilized in the creation of bread and cereal, as well as fermented for the production of alcoholic beverages like beer and distilled drinks. The taste profile of barley tea is often characterized as gentle and nutty.
Nonetheless, some Korean tea artisans add roasted corn to their blend to enhance its sweetness. When corn is included, the concoction is termed oksusu bori cha. Barley tea is not classified as true tea, akin to white tea, green tea, or black tea, as it does not comprise tea leaves.
Furthermore, it’s distinct from herbal tea, being categorized as a tisane derived from roasted grains. This infusion is crafted using roasted seeds from the barley plant. Being a staple whole grain, barley finds its way into an array of foods and beverages, including beer, courtesy of its rich fiber content and mild flavor. While commonly enjoyed cold for its refreshing nature, barley tea can also be prepared hot, catering to personal preferences.
Predominantly cultivated in Japan and Korea, barley tea has gained immense popularity as a year-round beverage in both regions. The barley tea harvest occurs in early summer, primarily utilizing roasted, unhulled barley seeds. In the early 1980s, barley tea bags gained traction in Japan and are now the standard method of brewing. In Korea, it is known as boricha, while Japan refers to it as mugicha and in China as Damai cha. So deeply rooted is barley tea in Korean culture that it frequently replaces water in restaurant settings.
Barley tea offers a gentle flavor profile with a toasty essence accompanied by subtle bitter notes. Often characterized as nutty and light, certain Korean blends incorporate roasted corn, enhancing the barley tea’s natural sweetness. With no caffeine content, barley tea emanates a golden hue reminiscent of honey.
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Barley Tea Nutrition Facts
The many health benefits associated with barley tea is due to its rich content of vitamins A and C, antioxidants, amino acids, selenium, melatonin, and tryptophan.
Additionally, its minimal caffeine content makes it a viable choice for individuals seeking to reduce caloric intake while promoting overall well-being. Barley tea is a rich source of carborhydrates, protein, fatty oils, vitamins and fiber. The nutritional information of barley tea reveals that it contains:
- Calories: 118
- Protein: 1.87 grams
- Fat: 2.3 grams
- Carbohydrate: 23 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Sugar: 0 grams
Barley Tea Health Benefits
Barley tea boasts an array of vitamins, nutrients, and biological compounds, which are attributed to its positive impact on health. The presence of vitamins A and C, antioxidants, amino acids, and melatonin in barley tea contributes to its potential health benefits.
1. Boosts Your Immune System
Abundant in vitamin C, barley tea could play a pivotal role in fortifying the immune system against diseases, potentially shortening the duration of common colds and flu. Vitamin C stimulates the production of white blood cells, enhancing the body’s ability to combat infections (Source). Barley tea’s antioxidant content aids in neutralizing free radicals, which can induce cell death, leading to premature aging and serious conditions like cancer.
A study featured in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry identified five phenolic compounds in barley tea, including quercetin. This phenol counteracts oxidation-related cell death and targets peroxynitrite, a contributor to cardiovascular and neurological diseases.
2. Improves Blood Flow and Circulation
Regular consumption of barley tea may enhance blood fluidity and offer protection against severe cardiovascular ailments such as heart attacks and blood clots.
Research published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology revealed that higher concentrations of barley tea consumption (250 milliliters) correlated with improved blood flow. Utilizing a microchannel analyzer, scientists measured blood fluidity, noting reduced passage time for whole blood with barley tea consumption.
This positive impact on blood flow can be attributed to the presence of the flavonoid alkylpyrazine. As blood experiences smoother circulation through arteries and veins, the risk of blood clot formation diminishes with consistent barley tea consumption. This, in turn, aids in averting heart attacks and heart diseases associated with clotting and arterial blockages.
3. Prevents Tooth Decay
Barley tea’s composition of antioxidants and polyphenols equips it with the ability to combat tooth decay. These potent compounds also contribute to shielding teeth from plaque buildup, a potential precursor to cavities. In a study published by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, beverages derived from roasted barley demonstrated antiadhesive properties that could protect against plaque and prevent tooth decay.
Utilizing ceramic beads to mimic tooth enamel, the study observed a reduction in bacteria growth on ceramic beads treated with a roasted barley coating. The efficacy of barley tea’s antibacterial properties is attributed to the antioxidant melanoidin and other polyphenols inherent in roasted barley grains.
Notably, these antioxidants were not found in unroasted barley grains, implying that the roasting process imparts tooth decay-fighting attributes to barley tea.
4. Helps You Unwind.
Compounds like melatonin and tryptophan present in barley tea can contribute to improved sleep quality. These constituents trigger neurotransmitters in the brain, promoting relaxation and inducing sleepiness.
A study highlighted the presence of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in barley powder derived from the leaves and stems of barley seedlings. This powder exhibited 6.5 times more GABA content than rice. GABA acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter, aiding in achieving restful sleep.
Notably, barley tea offers a healthier alternative to potent anti-anxiety and insomnia medications that increase GABA levels. Further research shows more, barley tea contains melatonin, a key component for regulating the body’s internal clock and sleep cycles.
Produced by the pineal gland, melatonin’s levels rise post-sunset, promoting sleepiness and tranquility. This attribute can be beneficial for individuals grappling with insomnia or restless sleep.
5. Increase Weight Loss.
With its naturally low calorie content, barley tea presents a flavorful substitute for plain water. It serves as an excellent replacement for sugary beverages that contribute to weight gain, though moderation in sweeteners is advised.
The low sugar content makes barley tea a viable choice for diabetics, mitigating concerns about elevated blood sugar levels. The substantial fiber content in barley tea induces a prolonged feeling of fullness, curbing the impulse to snack and consume excess calories. Moreover, barley tea’s antioxidants can potentially enhance metabolism and facilitate weight loss by curbing overeating.
6. Boosts Fertility in Men
Barley grains boast elevated levels of selenium, a mineral associated with male fertility. A study published in the International Journal of General Medicine established a link between regular selenium consumption and improved fertility in men who experienced infertility for a year or more.
The study examined 690 infertile men who were administered a combination of selenium and vitamin E over 100 days. As a result, 52% of participants witnessed enhanced sperm motility, with 10% experiencing spontaneous pregnancies compared to those not receiving selenium.
While further research is necessary, barley tea emerges as a hopeful aid for fertility. Consistent consumption of barley tea is required to harness these potential health benefits.
7. Prevents Inflammation
Barley tea’s anti-inflammatory compounds could provide relief for joint pain, arthritis, gout, oxidative stress, and various inflammatory conditions across the body.
The antioxidative properties of barley tea may hold potential benefits for a wide range of inflammatory issues, including those impacting chronic and neurodegenerative diseases.
8. Helps Pregnant Women
Although many herbal teas are typically discouraged for pregnant women, barley tea might offer a substantial supply of crucial nutrients like potassium, niacin, iron, calcium, folic acid, and more—vital for pregnancy. Furthermore, it could aid in preventing gestational diabetes, promote blood coagulation to mitigate excessive bleeding during delivery, and potentially prevent specific birth defects like spina bifida and neural tube defects according to this source.
9. Barley Tea Health Benefits – Aids in Skin Care
Barley tea’s multifaceted antioxidants might combat oxidative stress within the body, addressing concerns such as premature aging, wrinkles, and age spots. These beneficial compounds may enhance skin elasticity and contribute to a more youthful appearance!
10. Aids Digestion.
Barley tea, functioning as a natural antacid, can potentially restore gut balance and counteract acid reflux symptoms. Barley tea, being a natural antacid, might alleviate the discomfort associated with heartburn and acid reflux disease.
With their high fiber content, barley grains could effectively alleviate constipation and encourage regular, healthy bowel movements. The antioxidants inherent in barley tea might offer relief from stomach cramps and nausea.
For optimal digestive results, savor a cup of barley tea approximately 30 minutes prior to each meal. Furthermore, the rich fiber content present in barley and barley tea may alleviate constipation, hemorrhoids, bloating, cramping, and stomach discomfort, thereby promoting digestive health.
11. Helps in Sound Sleep
The presence of tryptophan and melatonin in barley tea could position it as a potential sleep aid. For those grappling with insomnia, restless nights, or interrupted sleep, these compounds could facilitate neurotransmitter release in the brain, fostering uninterrupted sleep and a refreshed awakening.
12. Might Help with Diabetes
Barley tea’s remarkably low sugar content, coupled with its natural sweetness, might contribute to regulating blood sugar levels and insulin equilibrium in the body.
A recent study in the Journal of Food and Drug Analysis highlighted the high antioxidative activity of phytochemicals present in barley, suggesting its potential as a natural means of diabetes prevention.
Beyond antioxidant properties, barley’s phytochemical compounds might also exert potent anti-inflammatory actions, possibly lowering risks of diabetes and obesity.
13. Relieves Stress Through its Antioxidant Capacity
Barley tea may contain a variety of antioxidant compounds and essential minerals like selenium, which could counteract oxidative stress and potentially avert chronic health conditions. Barley tea stands as a rich source of antioxidants.
Antioxidants, plant compounds that combat free radical damage, play a vital role in preventing cellular dysfunction and inflammation if they accumulate in the body. Barley tea encompasses several antioxidants, including chlorogenic and vanillic acids. These antioxidants could enhance fat metabolism at rest, contributing to weight management.
Furthermore, they exhibit anti-inflammatory effects. Additionally, barley tea contains quercetin, a potent antioxidant that could potentially enhance heart health, regulate blood pressure, and support brain health.
14. May Have Anti-Cancer Properties
As an antioxidant-rich whole grain, barley might offer potential cancer prevention benefits. A study exploring regional barley cultivation and cancer mortality in China discovered a correlation between lower barley consumption and higher cancer mortality.
However, this doesn’t imply a direct causation between reduced barley intake and cancer occurrence. Nonetheless, more research is warranted to comprehensively understand the potential anti-cancer properties of barley tea.
Side Effects of Barley Tea
Despite the potential anti-cancer benefits, barley tea contains trace amounts of acrylamide, a potentially cancer-causing anti-nutrient.
Research on acrylamide’s health effects has yielded mixed outcomes, necessitating ongoing investigations for a clearer understanding. While one meta-analysis suggested no direct link between dietary acrylamide intake and the risk of common cancers, another study hinted at an elevated risk of colorectal and pancreatic cancer in certain subgroups with high acrylamide consumption.
To minimize acrylamide content, roast barley to a deep, dark brown shade before steeping, as barley tea bags and lightly roasted barley release more acrylamide. Additionally, moderate the addition of sugar and cream to prevent excessive calories, fat, and added sugar.
Notably, barley tea is unsuitable for individuals adhering to a gluten- or grain-free diet due to its gluten-containing nature. As a grain-based tea, it might pose risks for individuals with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
Diabetics should also exercise caution, as barley tea might interact with specific medications often prescribed for diabetes. I
ndividuals with Celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or grain allergies should steer clear of barley tea. Certain barley tea blends might even incorporate corn, necessitating caution for individuals allergic to corn.
Gluten intolerance: Barley tea potentially contains gluten-containing grains; hence, individuals with gluten sensitivity should avoid it.
Surgery: Its anticoagulant nature might pose concerns for those undergoing surgery, potentially leading to complications.
Hyperglycemia medication: Barley tea’s blood sugar-reducing properties might prove perilous for those already on hyperglycemia medication. Consult a doctor before adding it to your diet.
Breastfeeding: Pregnant women might benefit from barley tea, but lactating mothers should be cautious, as it could potentially slow or halt lactation.
Pregnancy: Pregnant or breastfeeding individuals should avoid barley tea due to its potential to disrupt lactation and cause complications. Always consult a doctor before consuming barley tea during pregnancy or while taking other medications.
How to Brew Barley Tea
Brewing a delightful cup of barley tea is conveniently achieved by using barley tea bags or ready-to-brew roasted barley seeds.
Barley tea bags are readily available in most grocery stores, while barley seeds can be found in health food stores, tea shops, and Asian markets.
Step 1: Prepare the Barley
For those possessing roasted barley seeds or tea bags, the brewing process can commence. Alternatively, create barley tea from scratch using unroasted barley seeds. Begin by roasting barley seeds in an oven or on the stovetop without the use of oil.
The seeds are ready for brewing once they acquire a slight brown hue. Following roasting, adhere to the general brewing guidelines outlined below.
Step 2: Prepare the Water
Employ filtered or spring water for optimal flavor extraction, as with most tea brewing methods. Distilled water lacking in taste and tap water containing chemicals that induce bitterness are best avoided.
While barley tea is often consumed cold, hot water is recommended for brewing to unlock its flavor and aroma profiles. Rinse the barley seeds with cold water and transfer them to a large pot using a strainer.
Aim to incorporate 2 tablespoons of roasted barley for every 8 cups of water. Bring the water and roasted barley seeds to a rolling boil, then let them simmer for approximately 20 minutes over medium heat.
Strain the roasted barley tea into a pitcher using a strainer, sieve, or cheesecloth. Allow the barley tea to cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Serve chilled as is or introduce ice cubes if desired.
Step 3: Customize Flavor
Enhance the flavor of barley tea by incorporating lemon, honey, sugar, or spices like cardamom and cinnamon. lemon, honey, sugar, or spices like cardamom and cinnamon. In Korea and Japan, roasted barley tea is celebrated as a summertime elixir for relaxation and health revitalization.
The toasty, nutty flavor derived from roasted barley grains is both delicate and delightful. While not a panacea for severe illnesses, barley tea can potentially enhance digestion, promote weight loss, and fortify the immune system against colds and flu.
Unwind and relish a rejuvenating moment with a glass of chilled barley tea, enriched with antioxidants and a plethora of flavors. To roast barley, place raw barley kernels in a dry, heated skillet over medium heat. Stir frequently for around 10 minutes until the barley turns brown.
Optimal acrylamide reduction is achieved by roasting barley to a deep, dark brown shade. Use 3–5 tablespoons (30–50 grams) of dried roasted barley or 1–2 barley tea bags for every 8 cups (2 L) of water. For tea preparation, steep tea bags or roasted barley in hot water for 5–10 minutes. Optionally strain out barley kernels.
Does Barley Tea Contain Caffeine?
Barley tea departs from conventional “tea” in the sense that it isn’t derived from the Camellia sinensis plant’s leaves, like black or green tea. Composed purely of barley, it remains caffeine-free, setting it apart as an entirely caffeine-free option.
Barley tea, a cherished beverage in East Asian nations, holds relevance in traditional medicine and everyday consumption alike. Calorie-free and enriched with antioxidants, it might confer some anti-cancer benefits.
However, more extensive research is required to fully comprehend its potential advantages. Notably, barley tea contains minor amounts of acrylamide, a potentially cancer-triggering compound, making it unsuitable for those on gluten- or grain-free diets. Ultimately, barley tea is a flavorsome concoction that bolsters antioxidant intake while introducing diversity to your routine.