Barley can help improve blood sugar levels and reduce appetite
Known to be a good source of dietary fiber and vitamin B, barley is a high-fiber grain that helps lower cholesterol, reduces the risk of heart disease and aids regularity. Now researchers at Lund University, Sweden, claim that barley is a super food. They conducted a study that shows barley helps improve blood sugar levels and reduce appetite. They believe consumption of barely corn based food can help reduce weight and prevent diabetes.
What makes barley special?
Researchers claim that it is the special combination of dietary fibers found in barley that makes it a one of a kind grain. This unique combination not only decreases appetite but also helps lower insulin levels and sensitivity.
The Director of the study from Lund University, Sweden, Dr. Anne Nilsson, said “it is surprising yet promising that choosing the right blend of dietary fibers can – in a short period of time – generate such remarkable health benefits.”
Study Details & Results
Dr. Anne and her co-workers conducted the study in healthy middle-aged individuals who were asked to consume bread made out of barley kernels for 3-days during breakfast, lunch and dinner. About 10-14 hours after the final meal, the participants had blood drawn to sample blood sugars and other hormones. The researchers noted that all the participants had decreases in blood sugar and elevated insulin levels for up to 14 hours after the last meal.
The researchers postulated that when dietary fibers in barley reach the intestine, it stimulates the “good” bacteria to release vital hormones. They also noted an increase in certain gut hormones that regulate appetite and metabolism, and an elevation in a hormone that helps decrease chronic inflammation. Dr. Anne believes that with time, these hormonal changes help prevent development of diabetes and heart disease.
In a previous study, the same group of researchers working with another research team from the University of Gothenburg noted that dietary fiber from barley also increased the gut bacteria, Prevotella Copri, which is known to regulate blood sugars and also decreases levels of “bad” bacteria that are considered to be unhealthy.
In another study conducted by the Agricultural Research Service at the Diet and Human Performance Laboratory in Beltsville, MD, barley was much more effective in reducing both glucose and insulin responses than oats.