Health Benefits of Roasted Malt Barley Drinks

A June 2008 report in the “Journal of Nutrition” described the positive health effects of eating barley. Manufacturers turn barley into malt by letting the grain germinate in warm water. They stop this process by drying the barley with hot air. Light roasting produces a coffeelike flavor that beverage makers use in drinks, according to a January 2011 review in “Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek.” Speak with your doctor before consuming barley beverages as they can cause allergic reactions.

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Fights Cavities

Cavities have become the most common infectious disease in the world, according to a July 2010 paper in “Acta Medica Portuguesa.” The addition of fluoride to drinking water has reduced the incidence of cavities, but they still remain prevalent. Including other beverages in your diet might decrease your chance of getting cavities as well. An October 2011 review in “Current Opinion in Biotechnology” stated that drinking coffee made from roasted malt barley helps fight cavities. The melanoidins contained in this increasingly popular beverage appear to mediate these effects.

Lowers Cholesterol

Cholesterol remains a problem for many Americans. At least 26 percent of U.S. adults have elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein, according to an April 2008 report in “Current Medical Research and Opinion.” Having high levels of this “bad” type of cholesterol places you at risk for heart attack and stroke. Maintaining a proper diet and including beverages such as barley drinks should help reduce your risk. An experiment described in the June 2008 issue of the “Journal of the American College of Nutrition” tested this hypothesis in adults with high cholesterol. Extracts taken from roasted malt barley beverages lowered cholesterol and suppressed appetite without causing side effects.

Increases Circulation

Poor circulation can prevent red blood cells from reaching the smaller blood vessels present throughout your body, according to a December 1998 review in “Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation.” This change increases your chance of experiencing cardiac arrest, kidney failure and dementia. Scientists continue to invent medications to address this problem, but most of these drugs remain in development. Readily available beverages might provide an alternative. An April 2002 report published in the “Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology” explored this possibility in healthy volunteers. Drinking a single cup of tea made from roasted malt barley increased blood flow. Alkylpyrazines present in roasted barley appeared to be responsible for the observed effects.

Contains Antioxidants

You experience oxidation -- the biological equivalent of rust -- each day. This change leads to the gradual decay of your body. Certain chemicals, known as antioxidants, can slow this process and thereby delay aging. Antioxidants might underlie the positive effects of barley drinks. A December 2004 paper in “Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry” explored this possibility using biochemical assays. Results indicated that barley contains a large number of antioxidants. It remains unknown, however, if processing barley changes its antioxidant profile. A study presented in the 2009 volume of “European Food Research and Technology” addressed this question. The data showed that hot air roasting actually increased the amount of antioxidants present in barley.