THE LDL FIGHTER
There’s good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol. The latter contributes to the formation of plaque, which can slowly clog your arteries; over time, your risk of developing heart attack or stroke increases.
There are medications out there that can lower your LDL cholesterol; however, they come with side effects.
Your safest, healthiest bet is to up your soluble fibre intake – and beta-glucan rich barley is one of the best sources for that.
Beta glucan: how it works
During digestion, soluble fibre (such as beta glucan) and cholesterol from foods move from your stomach to the small intestine. At the same time, blood cholesterol that your liver produces also travels to the small intestine. By forming a gel, soluble fibre binds with bad cholesterol particles and flushes them out of your system.
Beta heart, beta health
Without a doubt, soluble fibre beta glucan is barley’s star nutrient. With it, comes a bucketload of benefits. The equation is simple; add more soluble fibre to your diet, and reduce your LDL cholesterol by up to five to 10 per cent. This ultimately protects you against heart attack and stroke.
Type-2 diabetics can benefit greatly from the combination of beta glucan and complex carbs from grains like barley. The duo ensures the slow and steady release of glucose into the bloodstream, so blood sugar levels are well-controlled.
Soluble fibre also assists with weight management by making you feel fuller for longer. It absorbs water and forms a gel-like substance, which increases stomach distension and slowing gastric emptying. You should consume 20 to 27g of dietary fibre daily if you’re looking to shed some excess kilos. Psst: barley is also low in calories! .
While research is still ongoing, beta glucan shows promise as prebiotics. They help stimulate bowel activity and thus promote a healthier gut system.