Curb you appetite: One simple food
You’ll curb your hunger, improve your blood sugar levels and lose weight with a 13,000-year-old fat-loss superfood.
Barley was first introduced to America in 1494 by Christopher Columbus, many centuries after it was first cultivated in North Africa, Western Asia and portions of the Middle East known as the Fertile Crescent.
Not only can this ancient food help you lose weight by minimizing your between-meals snacking or the amount of food you eat at subsequent meals, but this metabolism booster also lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.
fn cultivation roughly 130 centuries and the fourth most commonly grown cereal grain today, barley is achieving the status of true superfood, all-too often a rank accorded to over-marketed, over-hyped, understudied foods fighting for supermarket shelf space.
What It Does
Based on recent research at Sweden's Lund University, whole-grain barley reduces appetite and, within three days of daily ingestion, improves blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity. As a result, not only can this ancient food help you lose weight by minimizing your between-meals snacking or the amount of food you eat at subsequent meals, but this metabolism booster also lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 dia-betes. If you ask us, that's a win-win-win situation — a nutritional hat trick — in any book.
In a nutshell, this small study had participants eat one slice of barley bread (85 grams of barley kernels per slice) for each of three meals for three days. Then, 11 to 14 hours after the final meal, par-ticipants were measured for markers of blood sugar levels, insulin levels, insulin sensitivity and appetite, as well as a hor-mone that shows levels of inflammation. As it turned out, the barley, thanks to its unique mixture of dietary fibers, had increased gut hormones that regulate metabolism and appetite positively in a relatively short period.
Because barley is so rich in complex carbohydrates, its benefits for serious training cannot be underestimated. For example, carb up with barley the day before a serious leg workout, and see how you’ll be able to push the edge of your training envelope.
What You Can Do
Study co-researcher Anne Nilsson, associ-ate professor at Lund's Food for Health Science Centre, explains that the amount of barley used in the study was maximized so as "not to miss any effect," but most likely "it is not necessary to consume such large portions." She wanted Oxygen readers to know this, however: 'The mes-sage must be to try to incorporate barley kernels as a natural part of the diet, e.g., to replace rice, potatoes, pasta and include the grain in soups and stews."
Swap It! With its rich, chewy, nutty flavor, it also can replace your morning oatmeal (toss in cinnamon and blueberries to add the antioxidant anthocyanins), or stir in frozen mixed vegetables during the last 10 minutes of cooking or broccoli to add the powerful antioxidant sulforaphane for a powerful lunch.
Love to Bake? If your passion is baking and you'd like to try your hand at baking the bread used in the actual Lund study, search "barley" on MedicalNewsToday.com.
Because of its powerful impact on your digestive tract, when you first start incorporating barley into your diet, take your time. 1. Begin with small quantities, and increase daily intake slowly as your digestive tract adapts. 2. Drink plenty of water to help move along this supergrain. *If you have celiac disease, you may want to avoid barley because of its gluten load.
One cup of barley contains at least 13 grams of appetite-suppressing whole-grain fiber. That’s more fiber than found in a cup of oatmeal (almost 4 grams), 1 cup of whole-wheat spaghetti (6 grams), one medium apple (5 grams), one pear (5 grams), 1 slice whole-wheat bread (2 grams) or 1 cup of raspberries (8.3 grams).