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Advantages of Barley - Health Benefits of Barley

Barley is your answer to wholesome health. This cereal grain can in fact surprise you with its unending goodness that ensures you are protected from not just serious ailments but are also in the pink of health. Loaded with dietary fiber, selenium, tryptophan, copper, manganese, and phosphorous, barley is also high in maltose, that is an active ingredient in both malt syrup sweetener, and when fermented, in alcoholic beverages.

But it is the other nutrients in barley that really make it a health food. The dietary fiber in barley is food for “friendly” bacteria in the large intestine that ferment the insoluble fiber, in the process releasing butyric acid, propionic and acetic acid.

These short-chain fatty acids keep the colon healthy, and act as fuel for the liver and muscles cells.

Besides that, it is also rich in beta glucan that helps lower cholesterol by the process of binding itself to bile acids and eliminating them from the body via feces.  What is important to note is that barley keeps the number of friendly bacteria up in the digestive system, thus keeping at bay disease-causing bacteria from the intestinal tract. The dietary fiber in barley essentially reduces the risk of colon cancer and hemorrhoids as well.

Barley Fiber Content : Effects of Barley on health

It is not just the fiber in barley but also the selenium content that reduces the chances of colon cancer. Selenium radically ceases the proliferation of cancer cells, leading to DNA repair. This antioxidant is significant for thyroid hormone metabolism and to build a strong immune system as well.

A great source of niacin, barley plays a key role in fighting cardiovascular diseases by cutting down the accumulation of platelets that can lead to blood clotting. The presence of lignans is another advantage in the reduction of cancers (especially breast cancer) and heart ailments risk.

The goodness of phosphorous in barley helps develop and repair body tissue, over and above being responsible for the metabolism of lipids.     

Additionally, barley fights atherosclerosis in postmenopausal women; lessens risk for diabetic patients; prevents gallstones; and even helps arthritis patients in dealing with discomfort.  

A truly noteworthy benefit of barley is that it protects children from asthma especially that accompanied with bronchial hyper-responsiveness. Consumption of whole grains like barley is known to reduce asthma by 54%.

Remember to consult your physician before consuming barley if you have any wheat-related conditions such as gluten-sensitive enteropathies or celiac sprue. Or else, feel free to add barley to soups, stews, flour, salads, pilaf or whatever you like, to make up a wholesome healthy meal.

Submitted on January 16, 2014