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Know Your Grains (KYG): Barley "the wonder grain"!

January 23, 2017

Know Your Grains (KYG): Barley

Know Your Grains (KYG): Barley, the wonder grain.  

Hi There,

Welcome to the KYG series and today we will talk about the blue pearl from the Near East, it is also called Barley or Jaun (in Hindi).

One of the first cultivated grains of the Fertile Crescent, barley was domesticated about 8000 BCE from its wild progenitor. Today it is the fourth most widely consumed grain in the world after wheat, rice and corn.

Barley is highest in fiber of all the whole grains, with common varieties clocking in at about 17% fiber, and some, such as the varieties having up to 30% fiber! For comparison, brown rice contains 3.5% fiber, corn about 7%, oats 10% and wheat about 12%.

But the goodness of whole grains comes from more than fiber. Whole grain barley is high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals essential to health, too. In scientific studies, barley has been shown to reduce the risk of many diseases, and to provide important health benefits. Barley offers many of the same healthy vitamins and minerals as other whole grains, but many think its special health benefits stem from the high levels of soluble beta-glucan fiber found in this grain. Some key benefits include,

  • Barley, like all whole grains, reduces blood pressure
  • Eating barley has been shown to lower LDL “bad” cholesterol and may help reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Recent research indicates that barley’s ability to prevent gallstones and overall digestive system health
  • Barley has more protein than corn, brown rice, millet, sorghum, and is higher in fiber and lower in soluble (starch) carbohydrates than almost all other whole grains
  • Barley may help you feel full longer, and thereby help you control your weight.

You may be surprised to find that it’s endlessly versatile grain and can be cooked as porridge for breakfast, baked into barley bread or grounded to into flour and blended with your regular wheat atta to add that extra punch!