, a member of the grass family, is a major cereal grain
. Important uses include use as animal fodder, as a source of fermentable material for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various health foods. It is used in soups and stews, and in barley bread of various cultures. Barley grains are commonly made into malt in a traditional and ancient method of preparation.Barley beer was probably one of the first alcoholic drinks developed by Neolithic humans. Barley later on was used as currency. Alongside emmer wheat, barley was a staple cereal of ancient Egypt, where it was used to make bread and beer.
Health Benefits of Barley :
Barley is a good source of nutrients and antioxidants. In fact, a cup of this whole grain contains 22 grams of protein, 61mg of calcium, 245mg of magnesium, 486mg of phosphorus, 832mg of potassium and 69mcg of selenium. It is also rich in copper, manganese, lutein and zeaxanthin. All these nutrients and antioxidants play an important role to your health. Selenium, for example, protects skin from free radical damage and improves the immune system. Phosphorus is vital for proper formation of teeth and bones and corrects cell growth. Copper aids in the formation of red blood cells and hemoglobin.
This whole grain is not only packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but is also one of the richest sources of fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber helps in the detoxification of the body, while soluble fiber attaches to fats to aid them in getting out of your body.
Beta-glucan, a form of fiber found in the body, is effective in lowering blood LDL cholesterol levels. LDL, which stands for low-density lipoprotein, is more commonly known as bad cholesterol. According to a study made by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2004, consuming diets with 3 to 6 grams of beta-glucan soluble fiber effectively reduces 6 to 8 percent of LDL cholesterol. Low cholesterol levels significantly reduce the risks of various health problems such as strokes and heart attacks.
Barley also helps in the stabilization of blood glucose levels. In short, eating barley is good for people with diabetes. This is because fiber found in barley can cause a delay in the stomach emptying and can slow down the body's absorption of carbohydrates from foods. Barley should be included in the diet of a person suffering from this health problem.
Barley can aid in weight loss, as it serves as an appetite suppressant. This means that if you consume barley, you feel full afterwards for a longer period. The fiber in barley also aids in the removal of fat substances from the body.
Barley is said to be helpful in protecting against certain forms of cancer, specifically colon cancer. This is because the dietary fiber found in this whole grain provides the good bacteria in the large intestines that can help promote proper functioning and health.
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