Barley is Canada’s newest homegrown super food. It is Canada’s fourth largest crop, after wheat, canola and corn. It’s delicious, easy to use, locally grown and has tremendous health benefits. It is very high in fibre and proven to lower cholesterol. In fact, last year, barley was approved for a health claim by Health Canada, which states that eating barley helps to reduce blood cholesterol, a risk factor for heart disease.
What is barley?
Barley is an ancient cereal grain that has been grown and consumed for thousands of years. In North America, barley is a major crop used for animal feed as well as for malt for brewing beer. Barley is becoming increasingly popular as a healthy, locally produced grain.
What is a whole grain?
Whole grains contain all the essential parts and naturally occurring nutrients of the entire grain kernel in their original proportions. If the grain has been processed (e.g., cracked, crushed, rolled, milled), the product should deliver the same rich balance of nutrients that is found in the original kernel. This means that 100 per cent of the original kernel — all of the bran, germ and endosperm — must be present to qualify as a whole grain. The outer bran layer of whole grains is composed of carbohydrates that are not digestible. The inner layers contain soluble fibres and many other nutrients. In addition to dietary fibre, whole grains are important sources of many nutrients that help to prevent disease.
Where can I buy barley?
Various forms of barley can be purchased at most grocery and health food stores. Barley is often found in the bulk foods section or as a packaged product.
How do I incorporate barley into my diet?
Barley has a wonderful nutty flavour and appealing texture. Pearled barley can be easily added into soups, salads and main course dishes, and can be cooked on the stovetop or in a rice cooker, oven or slow cooker. When cooking pearled barley, make some extra to use in other dishes; cooked barley can be frozen in an airtight container and kept for up to three months. Barley flour is another versatile option — depending on the recipe, barley flour can completely or partially replace all-purpose wheat flour.
What are the health benefits of barley?
Barley has many health benefits. Barley has some of the highest fibre content of the food grains. Dietary fibre intake reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome. High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease and cardiovascular disease, and the fibre in barley helps lower cholesterol. Barley fibre absorbs water, which helps create a feeling of fullness after eating that helps with weight management. A daily intake of approximately three servings of whole grains helps to reduce body weight. Barley has the lowest glycemic index of the food grains. Low-glycemic-index foods may help in the treatment and prevention of diabetes.
Barley also promotes gastrointestinal health. High-fibre foods are recommended for reflux disease of the gastrointestinal tract, duodenal ulcers, inflammatory bowel syndrome, diverticular disease, constipation and hemorrhoids. The gastrointestinal tract, which is made up of the stomach and the intestines, is the largest immune organ in the body and is key to overall health. High fibre intake improves the health of the gastrointestinal tract and the immune system.
Barley lowers your cholesterol
The health benefits of barley are amazing. It is very high in fibre and proven to lower cholesterol. In fact, last year, barley was approved for a health claim by Health Canada, which states that eating barley helps to reduce blood cholesterol, a risk factor for heart disease.
Barley is a Canadian product
Barley is Canada’s third largest crop, after wheat and canola. While barley is grown throughout Canada, Alberta produces the most barley of all the provinces. Some of the barley products available in Canada include pearl and pot barley as well as barley flakes and flour.
It's easy to use and tastes great
Barley has a wonderful nutty flavour and mouth feel. It adds great texture to soups, stews and salads and its subtle nutty profile blends so well into main dishes, sides and desserts. Turn your soup into a nutritional powerhouse by throwing a few handfuls of barley into it.