Barley: Good for the gut

By 24. February 2016Blog, Health, Nutrition

Barley, not only the base for one of the best types of drinks around, it turns out that it can help against obesity and metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic what? I suspect some of you are asking, (I know I was). This is the terms given to a cluster of conditions including increased blood pressure, increased blood sugar and low HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol) all of which increase the chances of heart disease and diabetes.

So how can barley help? According to a paper published in the British Journal of Nutrition it’s all about the indigestible carbohydrates (IC). There are a number of types such as what we normally call roughage or fibre, or for instance starchy food that has been cooked and allowed to cool such as pasta, potatoes or rice (See the blog).

In this case barley kernels were the source of the IC. It was put into bread and middle aged volunteers were given either the barley kernel bread or a normal white flour based bread.

The researchers found that after 3 days the subjects that ate the barley kernel bread has improved markers of blood sugar control, increase levels of hormones that control appetite, the metabolism and maintenance of the gut barrier. Basically improvements all round.  They believe that the improvement in gut barrier maintenance is due to the action of good gut bacteria on the IC.

Sounds very similar to a paper we blogged about that gave volunteers oats to eat. Another feather in the cap then for wholegrain.

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