What is barley?
Barley also known as the ‘food of gladiators’, is a cereal grown in temperate climates. It is known to be one of the first cultivated grains mainly in Eurasia. Barley is being cultivated since ancient times. It is used as food or for beer or distilled beverages. But another major use of this cereal is the various health foods that it is a part of. It has been used in soups and stews across various cultures. The grain of barley is commonly converted in to malt and then used in the preparation.
Barley is nutty in flavor and chewy in texture. It is abundant in nutrition and when it comes to glycemic index- it has the lowest in comparison to other grains.
1 cup of cooked hulled barley primarily has approximately:
- 217 calories
- 7 g proteins
- 1 g fat
- 10 g fibre
- 1 mg manganese
- 0.3 mg copper
- 0.4 mg B1 vitamin
- 8 mg vitamin B3
- 23 mg selenium
Barley is extremely rich in Vitamin- niacin, K, thiamin, pantothenic acid, B6, Choline, riboflavin, A, folate and lutein & zeaxanthin
It also has Minerals- manganese, selenium, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, copper, potassium and calcium.
All these benefits definitely prove that barley is a super -grain and can extremely benefits when added not just to normal diet but in foods that control diabetes.
Type of barley
Before jumping on to the benefits of adding it to a diabetic diet, it is important to know what all types of barley are there.
- Flaked: They resemble rolled oats. They are flattened and are usually cooked and served as hot cereal but can also be baked. Ideal type in food for diabetic patient.
- Flour: This type contains moderate amounts of gluten and cannot be baked.
- Grits: Barley grits are made by first toasting it then cracking it making it suitable for replacement of rice or other breakfast cereals. Even this type is good in food for diabetics.
- Hulled: Not as widely available as other types but is higher in nutritional content. In this type only the outer inedible hulk is removed but the bran is intact.
- Pearled: In this barley grains are scoured approximately 6 times which completely removes its outer layer and the bran layer. This process unfortunately though strips off its nutritional value.
- Unhulled: This type is great for making barley sprouts.
Benefits when added in diabetic diet foods
When added to the diabetic diet barley offer various health benefits. Food for diabetics need to be low in GI, high in fibre, rich in nutritional value – and barley is all of this and more.
Barley in diet to control diabetes can battle diabetes as it is:
- High in soluble fibre: Each cup of barley provides 6 grams fibre. Insoluble fibre aids glucose metabolism and overall heart health. Also high fibre foods in diabetic diet help you keep full longer.
- Improve digestion: Barley helps maintain healthy bacteria in the digestive tract. It can help prevent digestive problems.
- Control blood sugar levels: Barley helps reduce rate at which sugar is released into the bloodstream. Barley also contains essential amino acids which act as the building block of protein.
- Lower cholesterol: Barley helps reduce the bad cholesterol in the body and increase good cholesterol. Barley inhibits enzymes that are involved in production of cholesterol by liver.
All this makes it an excellent food to control diabetes.
Adjusting diabetic food and taking timely medication is important. But it is also important to understand what effect this food has on your sugar levels. Therefore, monitoring is essential. Invest in a glucometer which helps you take sugar readings from the comfort of wherever you are and instantly shows you how your glucose levels are doing. You could buy a glucometer online after comparing price of glucometer or you could talk to your pharmacist about the same.