Daily Dose of Barley: 3g of extract
Barley is a cereal grain that is high in soluble fibers such as beta-glucan, which helps lower cholesterol. It has the most beta-glucan of all the grains. High cholesterol levels can lead to heart disease. When the body has more cholesterol than it needs, it can cause plaque to build up in the arteries. The plaque can clog arteries and reduce blood flow, which can lead to stroke or heart attack. With a clogged artery, the heart gets little blood and oxygen, causing it to become weak and damaged. These plaque buildups can cause blood clots that may completely block an artery, which in turn causes heart attacks. Strokes can also be caused by plaque buildups because they block the brain from getting enough blood and oxygen.
A small study was done with 25 participants who had mildly elevated cholesterol levels. The participants were on a balanced diet, devised by the American Heart Association, for 2 weeks and were on no medication affecting blood pressure or cholesterol. Barley was added to their diet, ranging from low, medium, to high levels of fiber. The barley-based food made a significant difference in patients with low, medium, and high fiber diets, dropping their total cholesterol by 4%, 9%, and 10%, respectively. Additionally, diets with low, medium, and high levels of beta-glucan reduced LDL cholesterol by 8%, 13.8%, and 17.4%, respectively.
Barley is rich in macronutrients as well as micronutrients. In a single serving, it contains 44g of carbohydrates, 6g of fiber, 4g of protein, 1g of fat, 3.2mg of niacin, and 25.1mcg of folate. It also has other vitamins and minerals such as choline, pantothenic acid, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamins A, K, B-6 and B-12, calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, potassium, zinc, copper, and iron. The recommended doses of barley for lowering cholesterol are 3g of barley oil extract, 30g of barley bran flour, and 3-12g of barley flour, flakes, or powder.
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- Tovar J1, Nilsson A2, Johansson M1, Björck I1. Combining functional features of whole-grain barley and legumes for dietary reduction of cardiometabolic risk: a randomised cross-over intervention in mature women. Br J Nutr. 2014 Feb;111(4):706-14. PMID: 24063257.