Tips and techniques

Health news: the benefits of barley

Barley has been shown to provide significant, and rapid, health benefits in a recent study carried out by Sweden’s Lund University.

The unique blend of dietary fibres found in barley can reduce blood sugar levels and, in turn, the risk of diabetes, as well as reducing appetite and the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Participants in the study were asked to eat bread composed mainly of barley kernels three times a day, for three days; they were then examined for risk indicators of diabetes and cardiovascular disease between 11 and 14 hours after their last meal.

The results showed that metabolisms in participants improved for up to 14 hours, with increases in insulin sensitivity and better appetite control.

Anne Nilsson, one of the researchers on the project and associate professor at the Food for Health Science Centre, explained the outcome of the study.

“After eating the bread made out of barley kernel, we saw an increase in gut hormones that regulate metabolism and appetite, and an increase in a hormone that helps reduce chronic low-grade inflammation… In time, this could help prevent the occurrence of both cardiovascular disease and diabetes.”

With soaring rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes, researchers hope that the outcomes of studies like this will increase the public’s knowledge about the impact that specific dietary fibres can have on people’s health.

By Deirdre Fogarty

Not only is barley good for you, it’s seriously tasty; try a pearl barley and cherry breakfast bowl or barley risotto with wilted kale, or check out the recipes below.

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