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The Health Benefits of Cooking with Barley

Barley is a type of whole grain that was first cultivated about 10,000 years ago in Ethiopia and in some parts of Southeast Asia. It was used by our ancient ancestors not only for food and for creating alcoholic drinks, but also for medicinal purposes. Eating barley has different benefits. Here are some of those that you would enjoy if you cook using this whole grain.

Packed with Nutrients and Antioxidants

Barley is a good source of nutrients and antioxidants. In fact, a cup of this whole grain contains 22 grams of protein, 61mg of calcium, 245mg of magnesium, 486mg of phosphorus, 832mg of potassium and 69mcg of selenium. It is also rich in copper, manganese, lutein and zeaxanthin. All these nutrients and antioxidants play an important role to your health. Selenium, for example, protects skin from free radical damage and improves the immune system. Phosphorus is vital for proper formation of teeth and bones and corrects cell growth. Copper aids in the formation of red blood cells and hemoglobin.

Rich in Fiber

This whole grain is not only packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but is also one of the richest sources of fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber helps in the detoxification of the body, while soluble fiber attaches to fats to aid them in getting out of your body.

Lower Cholesterol Levels

Beta-glucan, a form of fiber found in the body, is effective in lowering blood LDL cholesterol levels. LDL, which stands for low-density lipoprotein, is more commonly known as bad cholesterol. According to a study made by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2004, consuming diets with 3 to 6 grams of beta-glucan soluble fiber effectively reduces 6 to 8 percent of LDL cholesterol. Low cholesterol levels significantly reduce the risks of various health problems such as strokes and heart attacks.

Stabilize Blood Glucose Levels

Barley also helps in the stabilization of blood glucose levels. In short, eating barley is good for people with diabetes. This is because fiber found in barley can cause a delay in the stomach emptying and can slow down the body's absorption of carbohydrates from foods. Barley should be included in the diet of a person suffering from this health problem.

Aid in Weight Loss

Barley can aid in weight loss, as it serves as an appetite suppressant. This means that if you consume barley, you feel full afterwards for a longer period. The fiber in barley also aids in the removal of fat substances from the body.

Protect against Colon Cancer

Barley is said to be helpful in protecting against certain forms of cancer, specifically colon cancer. This is because the dietary fiber found in this whole grain provides the good bacteria in the large intestines that can help promote proper functioning and health.

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