Nutrition

Is Barley Good For People With Diabetes?

Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

Barley is a healthy whole grain. It has a chewy texture and nutty flavor. Barley is rich in vitamins, minerals, and other antioxidants. It also contains fiber that provides a range of health benefits. The fiber in barley stimulates the good bacteria in your gut while reducing unwanted bacteria. The good bacteria in the gut regulate blood sugar levels. If you are wondering “Is barley good for diabetes patients?” read on to learn about the benefits of adding barley to your diet. 

Nutritional Profile

Barley has a mild flavor and taste. It consists of many beneficial vitamins, protein, minerals, and antioxidants.  Barley’s low glycemic index score of 28 reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity. One cup of uncooked barley consists of: 

  • Calories: 354
  • Carbohydrates: 73.5 grams 
  • Fiber: 17.3 grams 
  • Fat: 2.3 grams 
  • Protein: 12.5 grams 
  • Thiamine: 43% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Riboflavin: 17% of the RDI 
  • Niacin: 23% of the RDI 
  • Vitamin B6: 16% of the RDI 
  • Folate: 5% of the RDI 
  • Iron: 20% of the RDI 
  • Phosphorus: 26% of the RDI 
  • Magnesium: 33% of the RDI 
  • Phosphorus: 26% of the RDI 
  • Potassium: 13% of the RDI 
  • Zinc: 18% of the RDI 
  • Copper: 25% of the RDI 
  • Manganese: 97% of the RDI 
  • Selenium: 54% of the RDI  

Benefits for Diabetes

Barley has the following health benefits:

  • Helps in lowering blood sugar levels 
  • Helps in reducing bad cholesterol
  • Barley helps in controlling high  blood pressure 
  • Increases insulin sensitivity 
  • Helps control hunger and assists in weight loss 
  • Stimulates good bacteria in the gut 
  • May help in reducing inflammation 

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Ways to Consume Barley

Barley is available at supermarkets as hulled barley, pearl barley, barley flour, and barley grits. Hulled barley is more nutritious than pearl barley. Include barley in your diet to reap the benefits of this whole grain. 

  • You can consume barley in the form of porridge in the morning.
  • Barley can be added to soups and stews.
  • Barley can be added to vegetable and fruit salads as dressing. 
  • Drink barley water for diabetes control. Barley water assists in managing your blood sugar levels. 
  • You can include barley in your bread. 
  • You may include barley with spinach risotto.
  • You can also make stuffed peppers and tomatoes using barley instead of rice.
  • Use barley flour along with wheat flour to make loaves of bread. 

When to Consume Barley?

You can include barley in soups, stews, bread, and salads and consume it during the day. Ensure that you are not overeating barley in a week as it may cause digestive problems. It is advisable to gradually increase your fiber intake in small amounts since adding a lot of fiber in one shot can cause temporary digestive issues. 

Is Barley Water good for Diabetes?

Yes, barley water is good for diabetes. Drinking barley water in the morning helps flush out toxins. Unstrained barley water is delicious and refreshing. Drinking barley water helps you get your dose of fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Too much barley water can strain your digestive system, so drinking barley water a few times a week helps you to lose weight and reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. 

Risks of Over Consuming Barley

Over Consumption may lead to constipation or diarrhea due to the high fiber content in barley. Barley contains gluten; hence it should not be consumed by people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. People with diabetes must not over-consume barley water since it may contain higher concentrations of sweeteners. Barley contains gluten and people who are gluten-intolerant must avoid barley completely and opt for oatmeal instead. Overconsumption of barley may lead to constipation. Drinking plenty of fluids while increasing your fiber intake can help in preventing constipation. 

Other Health Benefits 

Barley is a rich source of fiber, manganese, molybdenum, and selenium It also contains copper, vitamin B1, chromium, phosphorus, and magnesium.  There are many other health benefits of consuming barley. 

  • Barley reduces appetite and promotes weight loss. The fiber content in barley lowers hunger and assists in weight loss. 
  • Improves digestion. The soluble fiber in barley promotes good bacteria in your gut which helps in improving digestion.  
  • Reduces constipation. Barley contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber accelerates intestinal movement and improves bowel function.
  • May prevent gallstones. The insoluble fibers present in barley may prevent the formation of gallstone and thereby reduce complications of the gallbladder. 
  • Barley may help to reduce your cholesterol. Beta-glucans found in barley help to reduce bad or LDL cholesterol.
  • Promotes heart health. Folate and iron in barley are important for the formation of red blood cells and for oxygenating your blood. 
  • Barley consumption may reduce your risk of heart disease. It is well-known that whole grains promote heart health. Barley being a whole grain, may lower your risk of heart disease. 
  • Promotes bone health. Calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc in barley contribute to improved bone strength and structure. 
  • Reduces chronic inflammation 
  • Barley prevents urinary tract infections (UTIs). 
  • Barley strengthens the immune system. Niacin, riboflavin, folate, thiamine, magnesium, and selenium present in barley enhance the process of carrying oxygen through the blood and the functioning of the immune system. 

Bottomline

Barley is the oldest crop cultivated by humans. It is chewy and has a slightly nutty flavor. Barley has been a part of traditional soups, stews, and salads from various cuisines around the world. It is rich in fiber, proteins, minerals, and antioxidants, and it helps flush out toxins from your body. Barley can be easily added to your soups, salads, risottos, bread, and even desserts. Including barley in your diet has many health benefits. It helps in weight loss, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. It may help prevent gallstones and promote kidney health. Barley also helps to reduce chronic inflammation. However, barley does contain gluten, and people who are intolerant to gluten should avoid its consumption. Is barley good for diabetes patients? Yes. It is a nutritious whole grain that can be consumed in various forms by people with diabetes and it provides a range of health benefits to anyone who consumes barley. 

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