Part of a Healthful Diet
Food barley is considered a “super grain” because of its health and nutrition benefits which have been well-documented by scientists and nutritionists. These health benefits include:
Barley contains key components like soluble beta-glucan fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals, proteins, vitamins, and minerals that provide specific nutrional benefits for human health.
Since 2006, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has determined that soluble fiber from barley, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and total cholesterol levels. Whole grain barley as well as dry milled barley products, such as pearled barley kernels, flakes, grits and flour that provide at least 0.75 grams of soluble fiber per serving, qualify under this new health claim.
There are two main types of dietary fiber – soluble and insoluble. The main difference between the two is how they move through the digestive tract. Insoluble fiber, also known as roughage, moves through the digestive tract mostly undisolved.
Studies show that insoluble fiber is beneficial in lowering the risk of bowel disorders and colon cancer.
Barley Contains Fiber Throughout the Entire Kernel!
Processed barley products such as flour, flakes or pearl barley, retain at least 50% of their original fiber content even after the bran or outer layer of the barley kernel is removed. In most grains, fiber is found only in the bran or outer layer of the kernel.
Not enough fiber in your diet? Just 1 cup of cooked pearl barley provides 20-25% of daily fiber needs.
Soluble fiber (beta glucan) mixes with liquid and binds to fatty substances to help remove them from the body.
Studies show that soluble fiber (beta-glucan) is effective in lowering blood cholesterol and has also been shown to be beneficial in slowing the absorption of sugar, which, for people with diabetes, may help decrease the need for insulin. Barley and oats are the only two edible grains that contain significant levels of beta-glucan.
The combination of barley’s high soluble fiber and total dietary fiber (the highest fiber of any grain!), low glycemic index and antioxidants are all key to achieving these significant health benefits. Nutritionists recommend that women consume 25 grams of fiber and men consume 38 grams of fiber daily.