Unexpected Benefits Of Drinking Barley Tea

When you think of barley, you may think of a hearty whole grain used in soups or as a stand-in for oats at breakfast. But it's also the star ingredient in barley tea, a popular drink throughout East Asia, according to Healthline.

Barley tea is made with roasted barley kernels, giving the drink an earthy and sometimes bitter flavor. It's typically enjoyed without sweeteners or other added ingredients, and it naturally contains no caffeine (per Sencha Tea Bar). Instead of sugar and caffeine, it includes powerful antioxidants. Barley also contains a variety of B vitamins, potassium, folate, and iron, among other vitamins and minerals (per Medical News Today). However, it's unclear how much of these nutrients remain when the grain is steeped to make tea.

Simple barley tea may be a staple in countries, like Japan and China, but it's not as well known in Western countries. Nevertheless, with a wide range of potential health benefits, it might be time to take note of this amber-colored beverage.

Barley tea has high levels of antioxidants

Traditionally, barley tea has been said to treat a variety of ailments, ranging from sleep issues due to its high concentration of natural melatonin to acne, says WebMD. However, only some of the purported benefits are backed by science.

One 2006 study, published in the journal New Microbiologica, found some oral health benefits of regularly drinking barley tea. Experts found that people who consumed barley tea had less plaque and lower levels of problematic bacteria in their mouths.

Another study suggested a possible correlation between barley consumption and low rates of cancer mortality. The 2015 study, published in BioMed Research International, found that areas of China that produced certain anticancer crops, including barley, had the fewest cancer-related deaths. Meanwhile, areas with less barley production and consumption had the highest rates of cancer mortality. While the study can't prove causation, it may indicate a relationship between barley intake and cancer prevention.

The tea is also known to contain high levels of antioxidants (via WebMD), which neutralize damage caused by free radicals (per Medical News Today). In general, antioxidants are known to protect against oxidative stress, which has been associated with cancer, clogged arteries, vision loss, and possibly other health conditions.

More research is needed to understand the full range of benefits associated with barley tea, as per WebMD. Even so, there are minimal risks of sipping this grainy drink, making it worth a try next time you're in need of hydration.