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Barley reduces cholesterol

  • Barley fibre helps lower your cholesterol, which is a risk factor in heart disease.

Additional barley fibre benefits

  • The grain helps you feel fuller, longer. This is known as satiety.
  • It contains both soluble and insoluble fibre:
    • The beta-glucans, a type of soluble fibre in barley, have been shown to lower blood cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease; and,
    • Insoluble fibre in barley helps maintain regularity, which promotes digestive health.

Vitamins and minerals

  • Barley is a source of many essential vitamins and minerals, including: thiamin, niacin, folate, riboflavin, iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc and selenium.
  • Barley also contains amino acids, the building blocks of protein.
  • The B vitamins in barley—thiamin, riboflavin and niacin—help make red blood cells and use energy from food.
  • The antioxidant selenium helps keep your tissues healthy by preventing cell damage.

Low in sugar, fat and salt

  • A 100 g portion of dry grain barley contains only 2.3 g of fat and 12 mg of sodium.
  • Barley is low in sugar: 1 cup of cooked, pearled barley contains less than 1 g of sugar.
  • Barley contains absolutely no cholesterol and is a healthy source of carbohydrates.

How barley lowers your cholesterol

Barley is finally getting the recognition it deserves. Years of research and documentation led to Health Canada approving a health claim linking the consumption of barley beta-glucan, a type of soluble fibre, to reduced blood cholesterol.

The health claim—which is the result of years of scientific work, including that of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) scientist Dr. Nancy Ames’ team in Winnipeg, MB—will apply to suitable foods that contain at least one gram of beta-glucan from barley grain products per serving. One gram equals 35 per cent of the recommended daily intake.

The claim is based on evidence that shows consumption of at least three grams of beta-glucan per day helps reduce cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease.

The health claim includes dehulled or hulless barley, pearl (or pot) barley, barley flakes, grits, meal flour and bran as well as beta-glucan enriched milling fractions. These ingredients can be used in a wide variety of recipes for cooking or baking.

For more information on the science behind the health claim, visit Health Canada.


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