Barley…The Underrated Grain

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When it comes to whole grains, not many can offer the same nutritional value, while offering a wide variety of tasty cooking uses, that barley can. This ancient grain packed with essential vitamins and nutrients is becoming a big hit amongst the currently popular ‘Health Conscious’ fad.

This underestimated whole grain is also pumped up with both soluble and insoluble fibres which may reduce blood cholesterol levels and lowers the risk of heart disease.

Studies show that a healthy diet for the heart should consist of a high fibre intake (which barley offers in excess!) while avoiding foods that contain cholesterol such as liver and egg yolks, saturated fats in fatty cuts of meat or chicken and also trans fats, which are found in foods that contain hydrogenated vegetable oils such as cookies, baked goods and, of course, fried foods.

Research shows that the soluble dietary fibre, found in high percentages in barley, effectively reduces cholesterol levels by attaching themselves to fatty substances and removing them. Soluble fiber also slows the blood absorption of sugar which decreases the body’s need for insulin, this is especially beneficial for those suffering from diabetes.

Health & nutrition professionals recommend that whole grains, such as barley, be eaten every day to boost your body’s fiber intake levels (recommended at 25-38 grams per day). Barley, with its soluble and insoluble fibres, is not only an excellent dietary choice, but it is also extremely versatile with its ability to be used in a variety of recipes including baked goods, salads, casseroles and as a substitute for many rice-based dishes.

Dr. Sherif Azmy
Nutrition Consultant
At Nasser Institute