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GI ~ 25


A 5-Star Performer- A Great Choice For Those With Insulin Resistance or Diabetes

  • This grain was classed as a 5-Star performer with oats in ‘Star Foods’ (McMillan-Price 2008).
  • It is one of the most ancient cultivated grains in the world. (Murray, Pizzorno et al. 2005)This grain is not only a good source of soluble fibre but also selenium. This is a low GI food with a GI below 30 for most forms. This grain [like oats] is high in beta glucan discussed under oats. 

Lowering Cholesterol through Beta Glucan

  • Beta glucan binds to bile salts which are then excreted in the faeces. (Murray, Pizzorno et al. 2005). Bile salts are formed from cholesterol and when excreted, more cholesterol needs to be used to make up for the loss thus helping to utilize and lower cholesterol levels in the body.


  • Barley contains four [x4] times more magnesium [Mg] than calcium [Mg] (Murray, Pizzorno et al. 2005). Magnesium is needed for a multitude of biochemical reactions and energy production in the body. According to Rosemary Stanton, “Low magnesium levels were never a problem when people cooked and ate fresh foods, but many highly processed foods lack magnesium.” (Stanton 2007).

Fibre - The Importance of Soluble Fibre Has Been Understated

  • In a large study of over 10,000 Americans, it was shown that those with the highest intake of fibre [a mere 21 grams per day] had a 12 percent reduction in heart disease. Even more important is that the study showed the importance of soluble fibre with 15 percent lower coronary heart disease and a 10 percent reduction in cerebrovascular disease. One study stated that “Consumption of dietary fiber from cereals and fruits is inversely associated with risk of coronary heart disease.” (Pereira, O'Reilly et al. 2004). In other words the more fibre you consume the lower your risk of heart disease and plaque related stroke.
  • The soluble fibre component in barley has been shown to decrease insulin responses significantly and even more so than oats. In one study the conclusion stated “Particle size of the oats or barley had little effect on the glycemic responses. Both oat and barley meals reduced glycemic responses; the high soluble fiber content of this barley appeared to be a factor in the greater reduction observed.” (Behall, Scholfield et al. 2005).
  • The importance of soluble fibre in many diseases has been understated and authors such as the Nutritional Anthropologist, Geoff Bond emphasize that soluble fibre intake should be the focus to obtain optimal health. (Bond 2007).


  • Barley provides cancer protection in many ways. The selenium is an important component of glutathione peroxidase a powerful antioxidant that is heavily dependent on selenium. Oxidative damage to cells and DNA is an important factor in the genesis of cancer.

Plant Lignans

  • Barley also provides plant lignans which through gut derived enterolactone is protective of glandular tissues such as breast and prostate. (Johnsen, Hausner et al. 2004). Ensuring normal bowel motions [and not constipation] can also be protective of cancer by ensuring inactivated toxic metabolites are excreted and not reabsorbed through the entero-hepatic circuit.
    Less processed grains are the most healthful. (Atalah, Rivera et al.)

Tutorials: Lignans’ ‘Estrogen Metabolism

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