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Pregnancy is a daunting phase for the expecting mother, especially because there’s always a fear around what is best for her to consume – one such thing on the list is barley water.
Is It Safe to Eat Barley During Pregnancy?
Barley kanji or barley water is a healthy drink made using pearl barley. Barley has a nutty flavour, and barley water for pregnant ladies is beneficial as it helps maintain their health during pregnancy.
Drinking barley water regularly helps prevent many potential health issues and provides nourishment to the body. Additionally, you can add it to your salads, stews, and steamed vegetables.
However, there are many conflicting views around the intake of barley kanji during pregnancy, due to certain conditional risks which we will address later.
Health Benefits Of Drinking Barley Water
There are a lot of benefits to drinking barley water. Barley water can be prepared easily at home, contains 100% natural ingredients, and is safe for anyone. It is a natural medicine for several diseases and helps in the prevention of many others as well.
- Barley is a source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron, which are essential for the development of the foetus.
- It is rich in dietary fibre, which helps in preventing some common medical conditions in pregnant women (constipation and haemorrhoids).
- Barley has niacin, which helps with digestion. Niacin also helps in blood clotting which is helpful during caesarean or vaginal delivery.
- The low glycaemic index of barley maintains blood sugar levels and prevents gestational diabetes.
- Barley grains are rich in folic acid, which prevents neural tube defects like cleft lip and Spinal Bifida.
- The copper present in barley helps in maintaining the flexibility of blood vessels, bones, and joints during pregnancy.
- Barley is a diuretic agent, which makes it safe for consumption and provides relief from yeast infections and urinary tract infections.
- It reduces stomach inflammation and flushes toxins out of the body, thus safeguarding it from various infections.
- Having barley water helps with nausea and it offers relief from stomach cramps and irritation.
- While your belly grows, barley aids in tissue repair and growth of cells, which is helpful for the belly.
- Barley has lactogenic properties which help in the secretion of more breast milk.
- It lowers cholesterol levels, thus reducing the chances of cardiovascular diseases.
- Barley can help relieve swelling in the legs, which is one of the most common problems pregnant women face.
It is highly recommended that pregnant women consume barley tea because it has a minimal concentration of caffeine.
Common Risks of Barley Consumption
Barley water, when consumed by pregnant women, rarely causes any side-effects. However, some women may experience the following:
- Some women may be allergic to barley, and its consumption could trigger itchiness, shortness of breath, and rashes.
- Consuming large amounts of barley or consuming sprouted barley can lead to miscarriage or birth defects. No more than 6 glasses of barley water are advisable in a day.
- Barley dust could cause sinus irritation, pain in the eyes, or nasal congestions in some women.
- If the barley consumed is infected with fungi, you might suffer from Kashin Beck disease, a medical condition related to the bones.
- Those who are intolerant to gluten should not consume barley.
How to Prepare Barley Water
Barley kanji or barley water made at home is way healthier than the packaged version which is laden with sugar and preservatives.
How to Make Barley Water:
- Rinse the barley under running water and soak it in water for at least 3 to 4 hours.
- Strain and mix 1 cup of the barley with 3-4 cups of water.
- Leave the mixture to boil. Once it starts boiling, cover it with a lid. Leave it to simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the grains are properly cooked and soft.
- Give enough time for the mixture to cool.
- Once it’s cool, strain the barley mixture through a fine-mesh strainer or pour it into a cup and let the grains settle at the bottom.
- Consume 1 or 2 cups of this water daily. You may enhance the taste by adding some lemon juice or honey.
- The excess barley water can be stored in the refrigerator for a maximum of 3 days.
The barley grains can also be used for thickening soups or stews and can be added to smoothies.
Both barley water and barley grains are beneficial for pregnant women. The abundance of nutrients in barley ensures a healthy pregnancy. However, one should be cautious when purchasing it, and ensure that the barley picked is fresh. Barley should not be consumed in excess and one should always adhere to the instructions of a doctor in case of any discomfort.
Resources and References: Livestrong