Originally published July 6 2009
Discover the Benefits of Barley
by Sheryl Walters
(NaturalNews) Nothing helps beat off the winter blues quite like a big bowl of chunky, hot vegetable soup. Not only does it warm your belly, but it also provides you with a stack of nutrients to help your body combat any viruses that might slow you down. But there is one ingredient that many people rarely think to add that will give your soup a beautiful distinctive flavor and turn it in to a super food.
Barley is one of the most cultivated grains in the world. It has a nutty flavor, a texture not dissimilar to pasta and as with all grains it is very versatile. It can be used as a rice substitute and tastes great when served with a curry or stir fry. But you really can't beat making it a vital ingredient in your winter soups.
By far the greatest health benefits of barley can be found in its high dietary fiber content. Just 200gms of barley can contain 55% of the recommended daily fiber intake. That is more than most people consume from the average diet.
Dietary fiber is essential in making your digestive system run smoothly. A sluggish digestive system is one of the main causes of colon cancer, so staying regular is vitally important to your health. A regular intake of barley has also been found to help the body create two chemicals known as short-chain fatty acids. These acids are called propionic and acetic acid and are used as fuel by the cells that make up the liver and muscles.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently published a report that said barley's high fiber content also has multiple beneficial effects on cholesterol. This is because dietary fiber is high in beta glucan, which connects tightly to bile acids and helps remove them through the feces. Bile acids are made up from cholesterol so when they are passed out through feces the body must make up more, therefore using up unwanted cholesterol.
Barley has also been found to have significant cardio vascular benefits especially in postmenopausal women. It took a three year study of over 220 postmenopausal women with cardio vascular disease to fully understand the full benefits of barley. The results were published in the American Heart Journal, and showed that adding barley to your diet slowed progression of atherosclerosis, which is the build-up of plaque that narrows the blood vessels.
It doesn't take much; just throw a hand full of barley in to your soup and you too can reap all the benefits.
About the authorSheryl is a kinesiologist, nutritionist and holistic practitioner.
Her website www.younglivingguide.com provides the latest research on preventing disease, looking naturally gorgeous, and feeling emotionally and physically fabulous. You can also find some of the most powerful super foods on the planet including raw chocolate, purple corn, and many others.
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