Name a health benefit and chances are it’s a benefit which can be found in the barley grain. Cultivated over 10,000 years ago, first in Ethiopia and then in parts of Asia, the earliest man used barley for food, making alcoholic beverages and for medicinal purposes. Cooking with this power-packed whole grain offers the following benefits to boost your health and fill you up:
- Helps weight loss – Barley acts as an appetite suppressant. When you consume it, you’ll fill up and keep that feeling for a long period of time. It also helps to remove fat from the body.
- Antioxidants and nutrients – There are nutrients and antioxidants galore in just a cup of barley. It’s also high in manganese, lutein, copper and zeaxanthin—all of which play a huge role in your continued good health.
- Cholesterol – Lowers LDL cholesterol in your blood by provided “beta-glucan,” a fiber that can effectively reduce the bad cholesterol causing devastating health problems such as heart attacks and strokes.
- Fiber – One of the most potent sources of fiber (soluble and insoluble), barley is also rich in minerals, antioxidants and vitamins. The soluble fiber helps to detoxify the body and soluble fiber helps to release fats from the body.
- Prevents colon cancer – You can protect yourself from colon cancer by adding barley to your diet. It’s a grain that contains the good bacteria keeping the large intestine functioning properly.
- Blood glucose levels – Keep your blood glucose levels stabilized by consuming barley. Those with diabetes improve by ingesting barley since it causes the stomach to digest food more slowly and also slows down absorption of carbs.
- Protects against atherosclerosis – This grain is a good source of the B-vitamin, niacin. Niacin protects against cardiovascular risks, reduces bad cholesterol and provides fiber for additional health benefits.
- Post-menopausal health for women – Consuming whole grains, such as barley, can prevent high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease that sometimes occurs in post-menopausal women. It slows the progression of plaque that narrows the blood vessels and the progression of stenosis (narrowing of arteries).
Barley has a wonderful, nutty flavor and a pasta consistency, so it adds variety to your recipes besides having some of the best health benefits of any grain. You can sprout barley too. Sprouted barley is high in maltose, a sugar used (when fermented) as an ingredient in alcoholic beverages such as beer.
A big pot of soup with the addition of barley is an especially good meal for a cold winter day and it can improve the nutrition in whatever soup you’re cooking. Its robust flavor and texture can improve almost any dish.
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