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Articles Fitness Nutrition

The Nutrition of Pearled Barley

Aug 16, 2010

Pearled barley is a nutritious grain that supports a healthy lifestyle. It is processed a step further than other types of barley. All barley must have the hull removed to make it edible. However, the bran is also removed from pearled barley. This makes it easier to prepare as it cooks faster. It is also more palatable than barley that retains most of its bran. It is an excellent low fat, low cholesterol food. One cup of the cooked grain provides 193 calories with 6 from fat. It is a good source of dietary fiber, energy, protein, vitamins and minerals.

Dietary Fiber

One cup provides 6 grams or 24 percent of the recommended daily value. Fiber adds bulk to food which facilitates proper digestion and healthy bowel functions. When you consume foods with high fiber levels, you feel full faster. This lowers food consumption. The reduced calorie intake supports weight loss goals. High fiber diets also help to prevent obesity. Research has established that fiber plays a vital role in disease prevention and management. It binds to cholesterol and toxins in the digestive tract and assists the body in their elimination. This helps to prevent rectal cancer and colon cancer.

Protein

Virtually all bodily functions require protein. It occurs in all areas of the body and supports various functions. Proteins are a source of energy and help in the distribution of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. They help to repair and build damaged or worn out body tissues. Proteins also assist in the formation of new cells. Many enzymes and hormones utilize protein as one of their fundamental components. Proteins also play a vital role in the body’s immunity, since they fight infections and diseases. Barley is a good grain source of protein. One cup provides 4 grams or 7 percent of the recommended daily value.

B-Complex Vitamins

Barley is an excellent source of several of the B vitamins. It contains good amounts of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and B9. These vitamins play a vital role in metabolism and energy production. Vitamin B3 facilitates energy production at the cellular level. Vitamin B6 facilitates the break down of proteins. This enables various growth and repair functions in the body to be undertaken. Vitamin B9 or folic acid is a vital nutrient especially for pregnant women. It helps in the healthy development of the fetus. It also reduces the risk of birth defects. Along with vitamin B6, B9 also supports formation of red blood cells. B vitamins facilitate the activities of various enzymes in the body. They promote healthy skin and proper functioning of the nervous system.

Iron

Iron plays a vital role in the formation and functions of red blood cells. This is because it is a fundamental constituent of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen to tissues and organs throughout the body. Iron facilitates the activities of many enzymes that play a role in energy production. It is also believed to have anti-cancer properties, which boosts the immune system. One cup of cooked pearled barley provides 12 percent of the recommended daily value.

Selenium

This trace mineral supports the immune system and activities of the thyroid gland. Selenium deficiency increases susceptibility to viral infections. It can also trigger thyroid disorders. One cup of cooked pearled barley provides 20 percent of the recommended daily value.

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