Friday, October 8, 2021

Barley Benefits Are From Beta-Glucan and Phytochemicals

A number of epidemiological studies have shown that regular consumption of whole grain barley reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity etc. Researchers have often credited barley fiber, especially beta-glucan in whole grain barley for these health benefits but it fails to explain all the activity of barley. Whole grain barley also contains vitamins, minerals and other phytochemicals, it is now believed that its therapeutic potential is contributed by all its components. Moreover, sufficient evidence supports that phytochemicals also play important roles in preventing the development of chronic diseases.

Barley competes well with other major cereal grains, such as wheat, oat, rye, and rice in terms of content and diversity of phytochemicals. In addition, barley has some unique phytochemical properties, such as the presence of all eight tocol (vitamin E) vitamers, which are usually not complete in some cereals.

The major phytochemicals in barley that have shown health benefits include phenolic acids, flavonoids, lignans, tocols, sterols, and folates. They all belong to different classes of phytochemicals with each group having various bioactivities.

1. Phenolic acids: serve as an excellent dietary source of natural antioxidants with potent antiradical and antiproliferative activity.
2. Flavonoids: protection against UV radiation, modulation of many diseases including cancer and coronary heart diseases.
3. Tocols (Tocopherols and tocotrienols): antioxidant properties, cancer modulator, effects the cardiovascular system and also has the ability to clear atherosclerotic blockages (stenosis) in the carotid artery, potentially reducing the risk of stroke.
4. Sterols: has a positive effect in decreasing serum cholesterol levels, protect against cardiovascular diseases (CVD), and prevent colon cancer.
5. Folates are rich source of Vitamin B’s.

1. Idehen, E.; Bioactive phytochemicals in barley. J Food Drug Anal. 2017, 25(1), 148-161. doi: 10.1016/j.jfda.2016.08.002.
2. Frei, B. Natural antioxidants in human health and disease. Academic Press, London (2012).
3. Gani, A,; Whole-grain cereal bioactive compounds and their health benefits: a review. J Food Process Technol, 2012 (2012).
4. Adom, K. K.; Antioxidant activity of grains. Int J Food Prop, 2007, 10, 231-244.

Hindu’s from India grow and worship barley for health and prosperity.


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