BARLEY (Hordeum Vulgare)

Barley is a versatile grain that has made an appearance in recorded history as far back as ancient Egypt. One of the reasons for its long term popularity is the fact that it is a highly-adaptable crop, growing as far north as the Arctic circle and as far south as Ethiopia. Barley was introduced to the Americas in 1494 by Christopher Columbus. While it hasn’t gained the same popularity as oats or wheat, the numerous nutritional benefits of barley are helping it gain ground among health conscious people.

Barley has the most fiber of any whole grain. It is also high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Barley contains beta-glucans, which can help the body stand up to treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. A regular diet of barley can help reduce high blood pressure, lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar. Barley assists with weight loss by reducing visceral fat, particularly in the waist.

Barley is available in a variety of forms, including hulled kernels, pearls, grits, flakes and ground flour. While whole grain barley kernels contain the most fiber and nutrients, pearled barley has been scrubbed of the nutritious husk and bran layer during the refining process. Hulled barley retains all the nutrients in the husk and bran layer, but is coarser and nuttier. Cooked barley can be a delicious addition in casseroles, stews, salads and soups. Barley flakes can make a cereal similar to oatmeal or cream of wheat. Barley flour substitutes for wheat flour in bread and baked desserts.

Learn more about other Whole Grains:  [button color=”red” size=”small” link=”” target=””]Grain Education[/button]

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