Beer and coffee are two of those products that you tend to see in the health pages every few weeks with a new study showing either of them either enhances ones health significantly or sends one straight to an early grave. With so many different competing studies and research summaries competing for attention, the results are typically made to sound as incendiary as possible.
You will find similar types of situations with articles about meat and dietary supplements
as well. It seems like for every expert who swears by them and would recommend them
to anybody, there is another expert who claims them to be the height of irresponsibility.
The best idea is to focus on the ingredients of many popular products and look at their
individual effects on the body. A recent study has pointed to beer, one of humanity’s
favorite drinks for several millennia, as having an effect not just on our overall health -
but having particular effects on our cholesterol.
It goes without saying that beer itself has been shown to have beneficial properties
(mostly via the hops included in various recipes) and numerous negative repercussions
(cirrhosis, addiction, etc). However, numerous studies have shown that barley also has
several benefits to it.
A study published in the Annals of Family Medicine has pointed to individuals who
ate barley on a regular basis as having a statistically noticeable reduction in their LDL
cholesterol, overall cholesterol and triglycerides.
Reducing ones LDL cholesterol level is instrumental in lowering one’s risk of coronary
disease and heart attacks.
The key ingredient appears to be a soluble fiber known as AY-glucan. It is also
present in oats. Meta-analysis from a 2009 study showed that, of 391 individuals
tested, participants who consumed barley regularly had significant reductions in total
cholesterol (-13 mg/dl), LDL cholesterol (-10 mg/dl) and triglycerides (-12 mg/dl).
There was no notable difference when it came to HDL.
Those with with gluten issues should note that barley does contain a small amount of
gluten but not enough to actually develop yeast within it. Those with a wheat intolerance
can usually eat barley with few issues while those who are celiac should still avoid it out
Barley also contains essential vitamins and minerals like magnesium, phosphorus,
thiamin, niacin, calcium and iron; among others.
Approximately 80% of the barley consumed in America is used in soups or breads,
while 20% is malt barley – which is used in the traditional beer brewing process.
Moderation is key, but there are plenty of hidden health benefits in all types of our
favorite foods and drinks. Do you have any favorite recipes that contain some excellent
vitamins, minerals or offer a significant health benefit?
The Future of Health Now conducts interviews with experts, such as
Daphne Oz each and every month. To learn more about FOHN and how you
can gain access to the world of science-based health & wellness information, click here.
Founder – The Future of Health Now