19 Recipes That’ll Make You Love Barley

Barley Recipes That Will Make You Love This Unsexy Grain

Natually Ella

Barley isn’t the most sexy grain, but who wants a sexy grain anyway? In the height of winter especially, we want a grain that will warm us like a very unsexy snuggy and nourish us like an even unsexier cup of Jewish penicillin. Barley is wholesome, and we like it that way.

Barley is also incredibly versatile. Beer isn’t the only thing this grain has going for it. It holds up well in soups and adds a nice texture and heartiness to salads. Barley also makes a perfect substitute for rice or risottos in most dishes, offering a pleasant nutty flavor. Did we mention it’s also incredibly healthy, too? It’s even been called a superfood. This is a grain you could take home to meet the parents.

Here are 19 recipes that will convince you to give barley a chance this winter, and then some.

[Catergory Grain, Recipe]

Health Benefits of Barley | The Whole Grains Council

Barley Controls Blood Sugar Better
Dutch researchers used a crossover study with 10 healthy men to compare the effects of cooked barley kernels and refined wheat bread on blood sugar control. The men ate one or the other of these grains at dinner, then were given a high glycemic index breakfast (50g of glucose) the next morning for breakfast. When they had eaten the barley dinner, the men had 30% better insulin sensitivity the next morning after breakfast.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 2010; 91(1):90-7. Epub 2009 Nov 4.

Barley Lowers Glucose Levels

White rice, the staple food in Japan, is a high glycemic index food. Researchers at the University of Tokushima found that glucose levels were lower after meals when subjects switched from rice to barley.
Rinsho Byori. August 2009; 57(8):797-805

Barley Beta-Glucan Lowers Glycemic Index

Scientists at the Functional Food Centre at Oxfod Brookes University in England fed 8 healthy human subjects chapatis (unleavened Indian flatbreads) made with either 0g, 2g, 4g, 6g or 8g of barley beta-glucan fiber. They found that all amounts of barley beta-glucan lowered the glycemic index of the breads, with 4g or more making a significant difference.
Nutrition Research, July 2009; 29(7):4806

Insulin Response better with Barley Beta-Glucan

In a crossover study involving 17 obese women at increased risk for insulin resistance, USDA scientists studied the effects of 5 different breakfast cereal test meals on subjects’ insulin response. They found that consumption of 10g of barley beta-glucan significantly reduced insulin response.
European Journal of Nutrition, April 2009; 48(3):170-5. Epub 2009 Feb 5.

Barley Beats Oats in Glucose Response Study

USDA researchers fed barley flakes, barley flour, rolled oats, oat flour, and glucose to 10 overweight middle-aged women, then studied their bodies’ responses. They found that peak glucose and insulin levels after barley were significantly lower than those after glucose or oats. Particle size did not appear to be a factor, as both flour and flakes had similar effects.
Journal of the American College of Nutrition, June 2005; 24(3):182-8

Barley Reduces Blood Pressure

For five weeks, adults with mildly high cholesterol were fed diets supplemented with one of three whole grain choices: whole wheat/brown rice, barley, or whole wheat/brown rice/barley. All three whole grain combinations reduced blood pressure, leading USDA researchers to conclude that “in a healthful diet, increasing whole grain foods, whether high in soluble or insoluble fiber, can reduce blood pressure and may help to control weight.”
Journal of the American Dietetic Association, September 2006; 106(9):1445-9

Barley Lowers Serum Lipids

University of Connecticut researchers reviewed 8 studies evaluating the lipid-reducing effects of barley. They found that eating barley significantly lowered total cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and triglycerides, but did not appear to significantly alter HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
Annals of Family Medicine, March-April 2009; 7(2):157-63

Cholesterol and Visceral Fat Decrease with Barley

A randomized double-blind study in Japan followed 44 men with high cholesterol for twelve weeks, as the men ate either a standard white-rice diet or one with a mixture of rice and high-beta-glucan pearl barley. Barley intake significantly reduced serum cholesterol and visceral fat, both accepted markers of cardiovascular risk.
Plant Foods and Human Nutrition
, March 2008; 63(1):21-5. Epub 2007 Dec 12.

Barley Significantly Improves Lipids

25 adults with mildly high cholesterol were fed whole grain foods containing 0g, 3g or 6g of barley beta-glucan per day for five weeks, with blood samples taken twice weekly. Total cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol significantly decreased with the addition of barley to the diet.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 2004; 80(5):1185-93

Barley Pasta Lowers Cholesterol

University of California researchers fed two test meals to 11 healthy men, both containing beta-glucan. One meal was a high-fiber (15.7g) barley pasta and the other was  lower-fiber (5.0g) wheat pasta. The barley pasta blunted insulin response, and four hours after the meal, barley-eaters had significantly lower cholesterol concentration than wheat-eaters.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 1999; 69(1):55-63

Barley’s Slow Digestion may help Weight Control

Barley varieties such as Prowashonupana that are especially high in beta-glucan fiber may digest more slowly than standard barley varieties. Researchers at USDA and the Texas Children’s Hospital compared the two and concluded that Prowashonupana may indeed be especially appropriate for obese and diabetic patients.
Journal of Nutrition, September 2002; 132(9):2593-6

Greater Satiety, Fewer Calories Eaten with Barley

In a pilot study not yet published, six healthy subjects ate a 420-calorie breakfast bar after an overnight fast, then at lunch were offered an all-you-can-eat buffet. When subjects ate a Prowashonupana barley bar at breakfast they subsequently ate 100 calories less at lunch than when they ate a traditional granola bar for breakfast.

Improve Your Kidney Health With Blue Or Purple Colored Foods » Natural News Blogs

Improve Your Kidney Health With Blue Or Purple Colored Foods

Your kidneys work very hard every day. Why not give them some love through the food you eat? Did you know that purple or blue foods are nature’s best kidney healing foods?

They are bursting with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidizing phytonutrients, called anthocyanidins, to heal your kidneys naturally. This powerful antioxidant is what gives these foods their purple or blue color.

Having purple or blue foods on your plate at least once a day will not only improve your kidney health, but will keep your blood vessels healthy, prevent ageing, improve short-term memory, and may help prevent several types of cancer

1. Purple Cabbage

Cabbage is a master healer as it comes to protecting your gut and kidneys. Purple cabbage makes a tasty and quite sweet kidney healing juice compared to its green brother, which has more bitter aftertaste. Next to its kidney healing properties, purple cabbage is loaded with fiber, folic acid, vitamin B6, C, and K.

Kidney Healing Cabbage Juice: juice ¼ green apple, 3 cups purple cabbage, and 1 head fennel.

2. Blueberries

Blueberries are amongst the most nutrient-dense food sources out there. They work great in smoothies, cereal, raw refrigerator jams, and muffins. Or opt for fresh unsweetened blueberry juice to give your kidneys a break.

3. Black Plums

Black plums contain more protective antioxidants than red. Pick the ones that are darkest in color, as they will contain the most antioxidants. To make a healing summer treat, pit and freeze plums and puree them for a quick and healing plum sorbet.

4. Blackberries

Just as blueberries, blackberries are loaded with antioxidants to improve kidney health. Use them in smoothies or as a topping on your cereal or oatmeal.

5. Beets

Beets help to pre-filter the blood, reduce stress on the kidneys, and help prevent or dissolve calcium oxalate stones. Check out my previous article for a kidney and liver cleansing juice recipe[1].

6. Black or Kidney Beans

Its kidney shape and name already suggest which organ will benefit most by adding these to your diet on a regular basis. They have been used for ages as an effective remedy to reduce and prevent kidney stones.

Black bean kidney tonic: boil the pods in purified water in a slow cooker for about 6 hours. Strain the liquid, let cool, and drink throughout the day.

7. Blue Grapes

Red or dark purple colored grapes contain the most healing antioxidants to prevent oxidation, formation of blood cloths, inflammation, and help your kidneys to work more efficiently.

8. Other Purple Or Blue Kidney-Friendly Foods

  • Black Quinoa
  • Seaweed
  • Black or dark purple Rice
  • Eggplant
  • Purple Corn
  • Purple Carrots
  • Purple sweet potato
  • Raisins
  • Mulberries
  • Elderberries

Your kidneys love blue and purple food. So add more color to your plate and heal your kidneys and whole body from the inside out.

4 Proven Herbs for Reducing Cholesterol Naturally » Natural News Blogs

4 Proven Herbs for Reducing Cholesterol Naturally

The importance of lowering your cholesterol levels

As all of us known, heart disease is the NO.1 killer of men and women in the United States, one out of every two men and one out of every three women will get heart disease sometime in their life. Studies have shown that lowering cholesterol can reduce the risk of having a heart attack, so no matter for people with heart disease or without heart disease, it is critical for all adults to have their cholesterol levels tested.

How Can You Lower Your Cholesterol Levels

Your cholesterol level is influenced by several factors, including age, weight, foods you eat, stress, physical activity. People can reduce the cholesterol level by maintaining a healthy lifestyle: keep a healthy weight, eat foods with low saturated fat as well as low trans-fats, do exercise regularly, avoid alcohol, stop smoking and drug treatment.

How Can You Lower Your Cholesterol Levels Simply By Natural Herbs

There are some natural herbs you can include in your diet for managing, reducing and improving your cholesterol levels:

  • Alfalfa Herb

Studies have shown that alfalfa seeds may help people maintain a healthy cholesterol level by reducing the harmful types of cholesterol(LDL) in the blood while the good kind of cholesterol (HDL) seems to be unaffected. The fibers and chemicals in alfalfa seem to stick to cholesterol, keeping it from staying in the blood.

Besides, alfalfa is packed with vitamins, folic acid, magnesium, potassium, iron and other types of minerals which are all essential for the proper functioning of the various organs in the body. While taking alfalfa in moderation (80-120 grams daily is recommended) as it may cause damage to red blood cells in the body.

  • Garlic

Since ancient times, garlic has been used for treating several types of diseases, and studies have shown that garlic can help to keep the cholesterol levels in good balance by reducing the serum cholesterol levels while increasing the “good” HDL-cholesterol levels.

And garlic can lower your cholesterol levels without any side effects as other drug treatments, in addition to reducing blood pressure, protecting against infections and preventing blood clots. So if you want to keep a positive cholesterol levels, try to add this super herb to your meals.

  • Policosanol

As a herb obtained from sugar cane, policosanol has been shown to be effective in reducing cholesterol levels in the body by breaking down the LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and it does not increase the blood sugar too. Researches have found that policosanol is particularly beneficial for postmenopausal women with high cholesterol levels.

5-10mg per day of this supplement is suggested by experts for lowering your cholesterol levels and should not take more than 20mg in one day.

  • Green Tea

Green tea is a wonderful antioxidant and has been shown to prevent the absorption of cholesterol in the digestive tract, making it a good tool for reducing the cholesterol levels.

A research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who drink green tea for some months, have around 2% lower of the “bad” cholesterol levels than those who didn’t have green tea, and at the same time, the “good” cholesterol was not being affected.

Other Healthy Habits to Reduce Your Cholesterol Levels

Cholesterol is something that you can control by using some of the herbal treatments as well as other healthy lifestyle habits too:

– Try to limit the high cholesterol foods

– Make sure to eat enough healthy vegetables and fruits every day, as the fiber they providing may help to lower the risk of heart disease

– Limit foods which are naturally high in fat

– Adopt some form of exercise

– Keep your cholesterol levels tested sometimes every year, for managing and controlling it in a good manne

More from Alex Jordon:

20 Easy Home Remedies to Cure Indigestion[1]

Top 6 Health Benefits of Eating Kale[2]

4 key and natural ways to maintain your blood pressure[3]

10 Things You Need To Know About Soy

10 Things You Need To Know About Soy

Tackling the topic of soy is a little like trying to untangle my four year-old daughter’s hair. First, I feel overwhelmed just looking at the mess. And then, when I tackle it, more and more tangles keep appearing!

That’s why, for years, I avoided looking at all the data on soy.

Finally, folks, I did it for you. As a health professional, I get asked about soy a lot, as it’s one of the most common food allergens in the westernized world.

And it’s only gotten more confusing recently. A few years ago, soy manufacturers funded a PR push after some studies showed it helped ease some menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes. But then the pendulum swung the other way and soy became the scapegoat for almost everything under the sun, including cancer.

If you’re adopting a plant-based lifestyle, this is an even trickier topic, since you’re faced with soy in practically every product in the vegetarian section of your grocery store. It’s difficult to completely remove soy from your diet as it’s practically everywhere; you’d have to drastically move away from all mainstream food choices to avoid it completely.

But what is the real risk of moderate consumption? And why is there so much polarized information?

I’ve tried to boil it all down to the top 10 facts you need to know about soy:

1. Soy feed is the major ingredient in modern animal feed.

Along with corn, fat-free (defatted) soybean meal is a significant and inexpensive source of protein for animal feeds. Without soy, it would be impossible to raise farm animals (such as chicken, hog, turkey) on a large industrial scale. Did you know that the US produced over 90 million tons of soy in 2011, making it the largest soy producer in the world?

2. It’s estrogen-like.

Soy’s role as a natural hormone replacement was touted for many years because soy contains isoflavones, which are similar to estrogen. While isoflavones may act like estrogen, they can block the more potent natural estrogens from binding to the estrogen receptor. So, it’s much more complex[1] than is usually presented in the media.

How does this affect kids? I am concerned about my son, who tends to like soy meat replacement products. How much is OK? A few experts on the subjects weighed in on this question[2] and concluded that about two servings a day should be the upper limit of soy intake for boys and girls.

3. It may contribute to breast cancer.

This, to me, was the thorniest issue. Some articles supported the idea that soy contributes to breast cancer, but most of them studied soy consumption at extremely high levels. Also, many of them were animal studies. And most of them had the participants eat processed soy.

However, the Weston A. Price foundation made a nice summary page of all literature that supports soy and breast cancer[3]. Quite a few sources say that soy does not correlate with an increase of risk of breast cancer and I found a good summary of it here[4].

4. Soy may affect your thyroid especially if you are already hypothyroid.

It’s now accepted, even by soy advocates, that people with hypothyroidism should avoid consuming more than 1 serving a day of soy[5].

Because soy is a goitrogen (meaning that it promotes the growth of a goiter), it can slow thyroid function, and sometimes, trigger thyroid disease[6] if taken in large quantities. Also, children who drink soy formula tend to develop problems with their thyroid at a higher rate than other children.

5. Most soy is GMO.

In fact, 93% of all soy in the US is genetically modified[7]. Also, in the US, there are no rules to separate GMO soy from non GMO fields of soy.

6. It is often highly processed.

Like wheat, part of the problem with soy is that it often presents itself in the processed form of snacks, cakes, and meat alternatives. In my practice, I find that cutting out soy and wheat from the diet is partially beneficial because it also means you cut out processed foods such as cakes, cookies and other junk food.

7. Soy is a complete protein.

Soybeans are a source of complete protein[8]. They are considered as being almost equivalent in protein quality to animal proteins.

8. Soybean oil is processed with Hexane.

Most of the soy crop in the U.S. is used to produce soybean oil, and uses hexane (a chemical solvent) in its intial stages of extraction[9]. If you choose organic soy products or unprocessed soy (like edamame)—you don’t have to worry about hexane use.

9. Soybean provide a large amount of protein with moderate amounts of fat.

This is a fact. 100g of soy contains 173 calories[10], with 9 grams of fat, 10 grams of carbs (6 of which are fiber) and 17 grams of protein.

10. Soy has been eaten in Asian countries for thousands of years.

Soy farming in China and East asia started in 1100 BC. The Japanese and Chinese eat 10 grams of soy protein[11] per day (although some groups in these countries eat as much as 50 grams). Also much of the soy that is consumed is fermented, which makes it a healthier choice. But in America, many soy supplements and powders can have as much as 50 grams of soy protein in one serving.

Ok, so what’s the final verdict?

I’ll let you decide … but if I were you, I’d avoid consuming processed soy.

That said, having edamame at restaurant, or a couple of whole organic, non-GMO or fermented soy meals per week is fine for most people.

I know that everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, but I wanted to present the facts as I see them so you can make an informed decision. What’s your stance on soy?

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