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Barley, Health Food in a Grain

Healthy Barley

If you’re looking for health food in a grain, barley qualifies. It looks a lot like wheat berries, and has a rich nutlike flavor with an appealing, chewy, pasta-like consistency. It’s a very good source of fiber and selenium, and also has a lot of phosphorus, copper and manganese.

The fiber in barley is good for lowering cholesterol and it also provides insoluble fibers to feed the friendly bacteria in the digestive tract. It helps decrease the risk of Type II Diabetes, prevent gallstones, and is protective against breast cancer.

Field of Barley

I could fill pages with barley’s health attributes.

Sprouted barley is naturally high in maltose, a sugar that serves as the basis for malt syrup. When fermented, barley is used as an ingredient in beer and other alcoholic beverages.

If the outer husk is removed, the grain is termed Scotch milled or pot barley, while if the entire fibrous outer coat of the grain is removed, it’s called pearl barley.

Barley flour, owing to the fact that it contains so small a proportion of gluten, needs to be mixed with wheat flour for bread-making purposes. When added in small quantity to whole-wheat bread, it has a tendency to keep the loaf moist, and is thought by some to improve the flavor.

Also sold as flakes, similar to rolled oats, barley flakes can be made from hulled, hulless or pearl barley, so the nutrient content can be significantly different, depending on how much of the whole grain was used.

You can find barley in some regular grocery stores, as well as health food stores.  It’s also available on-line, with Bob’s Red Mill Barley, Pearled and many other types of barley products.

It’s a great health food to add to your diet, worthy of the Superfoods List!

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