Monday, April 13, 2009
Barley, a type of whole grain, originated in Ethiopia and Southeast Asia, where it has been cultivated for more than 10,000 years. For many centuries humans have used the barley plant's seeds and leaves as food and medicine. A source of B vitamins, vitamin E, and folic acid, barley seeds are also ground into flour for baking or processed for use as a cereal. Malt sugar, another common derivative of barley, is made and used as a natural laxative. Many people associate barley with making beer, but in other parts of the world it is a primary grain for food. In Asia, barley seeds are fermented and added to soybeans, salt, and seaweed for flavoring food.
Barley is an excellent food choice for those concerned about type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes because the grain contains essential vitamins and minerals and is an excellent source of dietary fiber, particularly beta-glucan soluble fiber.
The health benefits of Barley:
1.Barley is rich in certain vitamins and minerals like phosphorus, copper, manganese, selenium and is also rich in fiber. On this basis these are the health benefits offered by barley.
2.The dietary fiber in barley not only provides bulk, but also decreases the transit time of the fecal matter and thus decreases the risk of colon cancer and hemorrhoids. Propionic acid and acetic acid are produce during the metabolism of fiber.
3.Propionic acid along with beta glucan in the dietary fiber and niacin helps to lower cholesterol levels (especially LDL cholesterol) in the body.
4.Selenium present in barley also helps to decrease the oxidative stress in the body by scavenging the free radicals and thus creates a healthy environment internally.
5.A meal rich in barley may improve glucose tolerance and also prevent rising of blood glucose levels in people with diabetes.
6.Barleys high content of soluble fiber also helps to prevent gall stones.
7.Eating a serving of whole grains, such as barley, at least 6 times each week is a good idea, especially for postmenopausal women with high cholesterol, high blood pressure or other signs of cardiovascular disease (CVD).