If you eat cereal in the morning, you may want to skip the boxed cereal that’s so high in sugar and go for a hot bowl of barley and oatmeal instead. A new study shows that the beta-glucans found in barley may have some significant health benefits. Not only is barley a good source of fiber and vitamins; but eating it regularly increases the number of gut friendly bacteria in people over the age of fifty.
Eating Barley Has Prebiotic Benefits
Most people have heard of probiotics – the good gut bacteria that boost immunity and keep the digestive tract healthy. Fewer are familiar with “prebiotics” – non-digestible fiber that feeds and nourishes gut friendly bacteria. Why are prebiotics so important to good health? Gut friendly, probiotic bacteria are more likely to hang around in the intestines if they have enough food – and prebiotics give them the nourishment they need to flourish.
Why Should You Eat Barley?
Barley is a good source of prebiotics because of the beta-glucans it contains. When you eat a bowl of hot barley cereal with its prebiotic beta-glucans, you’re nourishing healthy intestinal bacteria – which could have long-term benefits. Preliminary research suggests that probiotics help to boost the local immunity in the intestines which may lower the risk of viral gastrointestinal infections and promote better colon health – especially for people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. Probiotics may also reduce the symptoms of atopic dermatitis in children and adults. A recent study showed that they can even prevent some common childhood infections.
According to this latest study, eating barley beta-glucans increases the number of probiotic bacteria in the intestines in people over the age of fifty – without undesirable gastrointestinal side effects. Beta-glucan has other beneficial effects. It helps to lower cholesterol levels and is responsible for oat bran’s cholesterol lowering benefits. One study showed that eating six grams of oat bran beta-glucans each day reduced both total and LDL cholesterol. Another good source of beta-glucans is oatmeal – which is why barley and oatmeal breakfast is one of the best breakfast choices you can make if you have a high cholesterol level.
Eat Barley to Your Health
Why not start the morning with a barley and oatmeal breakfast? Add half barley and half oatmeal into a slow cooker along with water and allow it to cook overnight. Add slices of fresh fruit, nuts, milk, and the sweetener of your choice in the morning. Then enjoy a prebiotic rich, cholesterol lowering breakfast. You’ll never miss the generic box of cereal again – or the sugar.