If you're looking for new ways to add more nutrients to your diet without adding more stress, consider adding barley. When speaking of superfoods like acai berries and bok choy, barley might not be on your radar. If it's not, here are four ways your health could potentially improve if you add barley to your diet.
A Little About Barley
Before getting into the health benefits you can get from barley, let's start with a little overview. Like quinoa, barley is a whole grain that has quite an impressive number of nutrients. It includes things like fiber, antioxidants, and minerals such as niacin, selenium, and tryptophan. It's also a low-calorie food. Now let's talk about the health benefits you can get from barley.
Assists With Weight Maintenance
Whether you're looking to lose weight or maintain your current weight, barley could help. Foods that are high in fiber, like barley, stay with you longer than easy-to-digest foods like simple carbs and sugar. Because of that, you feel full longer and are less likely to snack between meals. Plus, barley is naturally low in sugar and high in protein. By using a powdered barley product, you can easily add it to your existing diet without much effort.
Helps Your Body Have Better Digestion
If you have any issues with constipation, barley is your friend. Because of the high amounts of fiber in barley, eating it on a regular basis can help keep things moving through your digestive tract. Barley also encourages healthy bacteria to thrive in your digestive system for the right balance of bacteria.
Decreases Chance of Gallstones
If you've ever experienced pain caused by gallstones, you know how truly miserable it can be. Although gallstones can cause no symptoms at all, if you do experience these painful episodes on a regular basis, it could mean surgery.
There is hope, however. According to a study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology in August 2007, Dr. Michael Leitzmann et al. showed that a diet high in magnesium (400 milligrams or more a day) helped reduce the likelihood of developing gallstones by 28 percent. Additionally, foods high in insoluble fiber can also help reduce the chances of gallstones. Barley is high in both fiber and magnesium, so it helps in two ways.
Prevents Heart Disease
Barley contains key nutrients that are instrumental in lowering cholesterol and lowering high blood pressure, both of which are risk factors for heart disease. In the November 2004 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a study by Kay M. Behall et al. found that participants with diets that included 3 or 6 grams of β-glucan/d, which is found in barley, significantly lowered total cholesterol.
Plus, barley is easy to add to your diet. By getting barley in powder form, you can add it to great-tasting recipes like yogurt smoothies and chocolate lattes.
Barley is not a common grain found in the standard diet for most Americans. Adding it to your diet is a great way to stay healthy and provide your body with the nutrients it needs.