How Barley Aids Blood Sugar

On social media, we read all of your comments! People talk a lot about how they manage their blood sugar concerns through diet. Diet is an essential tool when it comes to handling blood sugar. People often say that they have gone grain-free.

While we support low-carb diets, completely removing complex carbs isn’t the best choice for everyone. Simple carbs spike blood sugar. However, complex carbs rich in fiber can help maintain or even lower blood sugar.

Barley flour doesn’t come up in keto baking because it is too high in carbs to be used in place of white flour. However, it is a healthy grain that can be enjoyed as pearled or hulled barley. It has a mild taste and is chewy. It’s rich in fiber but also contains carbs.

Because of its fiber-to-carbs ratio, it has a GI of 28, which is low. The fiber can also help cholesterol, digestion and weight loss. The way barley is prepared impacts its GI score greatly. In its raw form, pearl barley has a GI of 28. After boiling for 60 minutes, some of the fibrous husk is lost, and the GI rises to 35. Prepared rolled barley flakes have a GI of 66. The more natural ways of eating barley have the lowest GI. It’s a good replacement for white rice, which will spike blood sugar.

The water barley is boiled in can be drunk. After straining out the barley, add sweetener and lemon juice or rind. It has the fiber that the barley lost while it was cooking. It tastes like lemonade but may help blood sugar and cholesterol while aiding weight loss. It’s a good source of antioxidants and vitamins. And it may boost immunity and digestion.

In a study comparing how oats of barley impacted blood sugar, barley won. As both are complex carbs, researchers had women consume barley or oats with glucose and monitored their insulin and blood sugar levels. Both grains helped reduce spikes. Oats reduce spikes by 30 to 35 percent. Barley reduced spikes by 60 to 65 percent. Another study found that men who ate barley at dinner had 30 percent better insulin sensitivity at breakfast the next day than men who had eaten wheat bread the night before.    

The internet may tell you that the best course of action for healthy blood sugar is to shun all carbs. However, a cup of barley has 23 grams of protein. It also has more than 60 percent of your daily magnesium and 36 percent of your iron. It’s a wonderful source of B vitamins. Grains like barley help you get healthy nutrition and important fiber. While avoiding sugar and simple carbs is important, whole grains can help you manage your blood sugar in a healthy, sustainable way.

Banner image: Pixabay via Pexels

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