According to the Whole Grains Council, barley is highest in fiber of all whole grains. The most common varieties have nearly 17% fiber, and some varieties have nearly 30% fiber. The fiber in barley is found throughout the barley. 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 its special health benefits stem from the high levels of soluble beta-glucan fiber found in this grain. Beta-glucans reduce cholesterol, help control blood sugar, and improve immune system function. New research even indicates that beta-glucans may be radioprotective: they may help our bodies stand up better to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and nuclear emergencies.
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 control blood sugar may be exceptional, offering an important tool against rising rates of diabetes.
Barley has more protein than corn, brown rice, millet, sorghum or rye, 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. Barley may help reduce visceral fat and waist circumference.
Here is a colorful barley salad with lots of veggies, and a surprise ingredient – curry powder!
I used one cup cooked barley, diced eggplant and red bell pepper, minced ginger and garlic, chopped scallions, curry powder, cashew nuts, and red pepper flakes.
Heat some oil in a pan and add scallions followed by minced ginger and garlic. When it has softened, add the diced eggplant and red bell peppers. Add some salt and red pepper flakes. When the veggies are cooked, add half teaspoon curry powder and the cooked barley. Mix thoroughly and cook on low heat for a few minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro and cashew nuts.