Barley is a cereal grain belonging to the botanical family Poacea, which is part of the Triticae tribe and the Hordeum genus. Because of its natural adaptability, barley can grow in many different climates. In the United States, it’s grown in several states including North Dakota, Idaho, Montana, Washington, Colorado, Wyoming, Virginia, Minnesota, Maryland, South Dakota, Oregon and Utah. Worldwide, it is grown in Australia, Russia, Germany, Canada and the Ukraine.

But why should you be eating more of it? There are many compelling reasons! Here are a few of them:

It is high in fiber and has a low glycemic index. This means that if you eat barley you can be sure you’re getting a good dose of fiber without significantly elevating your blood glucose levels. This is good news for diabetics and anyone trying to manage their blood sugar levels.

Studies suggest barley combats diabetes. Barley contains beta glucan soluble fiber, and research shows that this fiber promotes healthy blood sugar by slowing glucose absorption. Findings from a clinical trial published in the December 2006 edition of Nutrition Research showed that mildly insulin-resistant men who ate muffins containing barley beta-glucan soluble fiber experienced significant reductions in glucose and insulin responses, compared to responses after eating muffins made with corn starch.

Another study published in the August 2006 edition of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition showed that subjects who ate cookies and crackers made with barley flour enriched with beta-glucan soluble fiber also experienced significant reductions in glucose and insulin responses compared to those who ate the same products made with whole wheat flour.

Barley is rich in vitamins, phytochemicals and antioxidants. Barley contains several vitamins and minerals including niacin (Vitamin B3), thiamine (Vitamin B1), selenium, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and copper. The phytochemicals in barley may decrease your risk of cancer and heart disease, and the antioxidants barley provides are essential for preventing the damage to cells caused by free radicals.

Are you looking for a natural barley supplement?