Barley is a whole grain containing both soluble and insoluble fibre. It’s a great addition to soups, stews, cereals and breads. We should be aiming for 2-4 servings of grains per day, so for example 1 serving of grains would be equal to the following:

  • 1 slice of bread

  • ½ cup of cooked cereal

  • ¾ cup of dry cereal

Incorporating some barley into your meal plan will provide you with the following important nutrients:

  • fibre

  • manganese

  • selenium

  • copper

  • zinc

  • iron

  • calcium

  • protein

  • carbohydrates

  • potassium

  • Vitamin E

  • B Vitamins

  • ….among others

In addition it also contains the following important phytochemicals:

Some of the potential health benefits of incorporating barley into your diet include:

  • aiding bowel regularity due to its high fibre content (approximately 13.6 grams per 1 cup)

  • providing food for our “good” bacteria in the large intestine (again the high fibre content); helping to maintain a healthy colon

  • stimulation of the liver and the lymphatic system; helping to expel toxins from the body

  • beta-glucans have been found to:

-prevent the absorption of dietary fats and cholesterol in the intestines

-improve glucose control in those with Type II diabetes; the high fibre

content can also help prevent blood sugar levels from rising too high

The grain of barley is used to make medicines and is used for a number of things including:

  • Orally for bronchitis, gastritis, inflammatory bowel conditions (among others)

  • Topically for treating boils

When purchasing barley it is best to choose “whole hulled” barley (the outermost hull of the grain). Sometimes referred to as “dehulled” barley, this form is considered a whole grain and has a higher nutritional value then some of the other forms (pearl, flakes, grits).

Barley is available both pre-packaged and in bulk; when purchasing bulk be sure that it has been stored in a closed/covered bin and that you are purchasing from a store with high turnover to ensure a fresh product.

At home store barley in a tightly covered glass container in a cool, dry place. In warmer weather you can store it in the refrigerator in a tightly covered container.

Prior to cooking be sure to rinse it well, removing any dirt/debris. When you are ready to prepare it, boil water and add the barley (1 part barley to 3.5 parts water), return to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer until done.

For some great recipes click here

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