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Pregnancy can be a daunting phase when the expecting mother is confused about what is best for her to consume. One such inhibition surrounds the subject of consumption of barley. Barley water can be a great supplement during pregnancy when consumed in the right quantity.
Is It Safe To Eat Barley During Pregnancy?
Barley kanji or barley water is a healthy drink made with Pearl barley. Barley has a nutty flavour and barley water for pregnant ladies is beneficial to 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 too.
However, there are many conflicting views around the intake of barley kanji during pregnancy, due to certain conditional risks which are addressed below.
Health Benefits Of Drinking Barley Water
There are a lot of uses of barley water. Barley water can be prepared easily at home, has 100% natural ingredients and is safe for anyone. It is a natural medicine for several diseases and helps in prevention of many others as well.
- Barley is a source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron which is essential during pregnancy 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 digestion. Niacin also helps in blood clotting which is helpful during caesarean or normal delivery of the baby.
- The glycaemic index present in barley maintains blood sugar levels and prevents gestational diabetes.
- Barley grains are rich in folic acid, which prevents neural tube defects like cleft lip, 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 lowers stomach inflammation and flushes toxins out of the body safeguarding it from various infections.
- Having barley water helps to deal with nausea and it offers a lot of relief from stomach cramps and irritations.
- While your belly grows, barley can perform tissue repair and aids growth of cells which is helpful for the belly.
- Barley has lactogenic properties which help in secretion of more breast milk.
- It lowers cholesterol levels reducing chances of cardio vascular diseases.
It is highly recommended that pregnant women consume barley tea because it has 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 side effects:
- Some women may be allergic to barley, and it’s consumption could trigger itchiness, shortness of breath and rashes.
- If barley is consumed in large amounts or sprouted barley is eaten, it can lead to miscarriage or birth defects. Not more than 6 glasses of barley water are advisable in a day.
- Barley dust could cause sinus irritation, pain in 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, since it contains gluten.
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 and 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 or added to smoothies.
Conclusion: Both barley water and grains are beneficial for pregnant women. The abundance of nutrients in barley ensures a healthy pregnancy. However, one should be cautious which purchasing it, and ensure that the barley picked is authentic and fresh. Barley should not be consumed in excess and one should always adhere to the instructions of a doctor in case of any discomfort.