As a food grain, barley is often used in bread, beverages, and as a base or additive to other dishes. It has a long history as a filling, nutritious food. And it turns out that that history comes with some good reasons. When consumed as a whole grain, barley offers fiber, vitamins, minerals, and beta glucans, all of which impact health. Studies have shown that a whole grain rich diet, and specifically barley, may help reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic health concerns. This article takes a closer look at what barley contains that makes it so beneficial.
To begin with, barley is loaded with vitamins and minerals. Barley is a rich source of B vitamins, including niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine. B vitamins are used in the body to promote cell health, and they impact energy and cognitive functions. But that isn’t all of the vitamins barley has. The impressive grain also contains beneficial amounts of potassium, folate, iron, and vitamin B-6 content, contributing to why barley is considered a health food. These vitamins and minerals facilitate oxygen movement and immune system responses.
Barley is also a good source of fiber, which helps manage blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Barley contains beta-glucan fiber that reduces “bad” cholesterol by absorbing them.
But what else can barley do? Barley also contains phosphorus, calcium, copper, magnesium, and zinc. These minerals contribute to improved bone structure and strength.
Other health benefits of barley include its anti-inflammation properties. Barley contains selenium and betaine, which the body can convert to choline. Selenium also acts as an antioxidant. Both of these aid in preventing and reducing inflammation.
All of the fiber in barley promotes fullness and sustained satiety, which decreases overeating. The high fiber content also promotes a healthy digestive tract. This additional fiber facilitates effective weight management can also help reduce obesity and related complications, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other health issues.
So the next time you are looking for a snack or new meal idea, be sure to consider adding barley to your diet. This healthy, delicious grain is a wonderful staple.