The benefits of barley tea are multifaceted, with impressive health advantages such as aiding in Parkinson’s disease prevention and enhancing antioxidant activity.
From its humble origins in Eastern Asia to its rising popularity worldwide, barley tea, also known as mugicha in Japan and boricha in Korea, holds a prominent place in the history of traditional beverages.
Our discussion in this post will cover a variety of aspects related to barley tea, including its origin and preparation, the health benefits of barley tea, optimal ways to enjoy it, and potential side effects.
We hope you’ll join us, cup in hand, as we dive into the rich world of barley tea benefits!
What is Barley Tea and How is it Made?
Barley tea is a refreshing, caffeine-free beverage made from roasted barley grains. This popular drink is common in Korea, Japan, and China, and is enjoyed either hot or cold, depending on the season.
There are two main types of barley tea: roasted barley tea and Japanese barley tea, each offering unique flavor profiles. We invite you to read our complete guide on barley tea to discover more about these fascinating varieties.
How to Make Barley Tea
Making barley tea is an easy process that can be done with either roasted grains or tea bags.
- Boil some water.
- Add 1 teaspoon of barley tea (mugicha) to a cup (or 1 barley tea bag)
- Steep for 3-5 minutes.
Mugicha barley tea is best when cold brewed, but can also also be enjoyed hot. For a cold brew, just :
- Pour 1 liter (1 quart) of cold water over the barley tea (mugicha) in a large pitcher.
- Steep in the fridge for 2 hours.
Barley tea is naturally caffeine-free, making it an excellent choice for those sensitive to caffeine or looking for a calming, late-night drink.
Now, let’s explore the wide-ranging benefits of drinking barley tea.
List of Benefits of Barley Tea
Thanks to its nutrient-rich composition, the benefits of barley tea offer a wealth of health perks.
1. Parkinson’s Disease Prevention
The benefits of barley tea include the prevention of Parkinson’s disease, which involves reducing the risk of developing this chronic, degenerative neurological disorder. Regular consumption of barley tea, as suggested by a case-control study in China, is linked to a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease (Khan & Mukhtar, 2013).
2. Obesity Prevention
Obesity prevention focuses on mitigating the risk of excessive weight gain which is linked to numerous health conditions. Research indicates that the regular intake of tea, including barley tea, might contribute to preventing obesity. Laboratory studies underscore the potential efficacy of teas such as green or black tea, and by extension, barley tea, in combating obesity (Grove & Lambert, 2010).
3. Enhances Nutritional and Sensory Qualities
Improving nutritional and sensory qualities refers to the enhancement of the nutrient content and the taste and aroma of a food or beverage. The shade treatment used in the production of green tea, which is similar to the process for barley tea, has been observed to amplify the nutritional and sensory characteristics of the tea, offering an enhanced drinking experience (Lee et al., 2013).
4. Delivers Distinct Flavor Characteristics
Barley tea provides unique flavor characteristics, significantly contributing to its appeal and enjoyment. A deep understanding of the flavor compounds in barley tea is critical for maintaining high-quality products that consumers love. These distinct flavor profiles contribute to the overall experience and benefits of barley tea (Zhai et al., 2022).
5. Increases Bioavailability of Proanthocyanidins
Bioavailability refers to the proportion of a substance that enters circulation in the body and so has an active effect. Barley tea is rich in proanthocyanidins, bioactive molecules with potential health benefits. A study discovered that a food-grade method could enhance the levels of low molecular weight proanthocyanidins in barley tea, improving their potential intestinal bioavailability (Iannuzzo et al., 2022).
6. Cardiovascular Disease Prevention
Preventing cardiovascular disease is an important aspect of overall health. Green tea, which has similar properties to barley tea, has been found to have beneficial effects on cardiovascular health. It can lower inflammatory markers and improve lipid profiles, thereby potentially reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease (Chen et al., 2020).
7. Blood Cholesterol-Lowering Effects
The benefits of barley tea include lowering blood cholesterol is critical for cardiovascular health. Barley, a key component of barley tea, contains high levels of β-glucans. These compounds are significant contributors to dietary fiber and have notable blood cholesterol-lowering effects (Altan et al., 2008).
8. Potent Antioxidant Activity
Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit oxidation, a process that can produce free radicals, which can lead to cellular damage. Barley tea, particularly when it’s roasted, demonstrates potent antioxidant activity. This activity can alleviate oxidative stress and reduce inflammation in skeletal muscle, contributing to overall health and well-being (Nie et al., 2022).
9. Cancer Prevention
Cancer prevention is a significant area of health research, and certain foods and drinks can play a part in this prevention. Like many types of tea, barley tea has been associated with cancer prevention. This tea has shown antioxidative properties that protect against oxidative damage, a key factor in the development of cancer (Khan & Mukhtar, 2007).
10. Nutritional Value
Nutritional value refers to the health benefits a food or drink provides based on its nutrient content. Barley is a nutritious grain that contains an array of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. By consuming barley tea, you’re adding a valuable source of essential nutrients to your diet, supporting overall health (Rahman et al., 2018).
Now that we’ve covered all the key benefits of drinking barley tea, remember that while it’s a healthy addition to your daily routine, it’s most effective when consumed as part of a balanced diet and active lifestyle. If you’re passionate about other types of teas, don’t forget to check out our comprehensive article on the “health benefits of drinking tea“!
What’s the Best Way to Take Barley Tea?
There’s no one “right” way to enjoy barley tea. You can drink it hot or cold, depending on the season, and it pairs well with a variety of dishes, including sushi, stir-fries, and salads.
Potential Side Effects and Considerations of Barley Tea
While barley tea is generally safe to consume, it’s important to be aware of potential allergic reactions, especially if you have a known allergy to cereal grains. Remember, the quality of your tea matters. Ensure you’re sourcing high-quality, organic barley to reap the full benefits of barley tea.
In our exploration of the benefits of barley tea, we’ve uncovered a variety of potential health benefits, including the prevention of diseases such as Parkinson’s and obesity, the enhancement of nutritional and sensory qualities, and impressive antioxidant activity. We encourage you to try barley tea and discover its remarkable benefits for yourself.
Once you’ve had a chance to enjoy it, we invite you to share your experiences and be sure to check out our review post about the best barley teas!
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