Powerful Benefits of Barley's Beta-Glucan for Diabetes

Powerful Benefits of Barley's Beta-Glucan for Diabetes

August 25, 2015

Beta glucan barley diabetes. You may already know that barley is a health food that helps lower cholesterol. So, you probably won't be surprised to learn that studies have shown this whole-grain barley helps lower LDL cholesterol, the bad kind of cholesterol. In 2005, the FDA approved the coronary heart disease risk reduction health claim for beta-glucan found in barley.

Beta-Glucan and Diabetes

Beta-glucan is a type of soluble fiber. Findings from clinical trials showed that people who ate foods containing barley experienced significant reductions in glucose compared to responses after eating similar products with similar glycemic index (GI) containing other resistant starch. Another small study published in 2007 in the Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice Journal reported a 30% decrease in Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c) - from 8.4% to 5.9% - in people with type 2 diabetes who ate a healthy diet including pearl barley that supplied 18 grams of soluble fiber per day. This is a significant drop, as the American Diabetes Association's recommended target for HbA1c is 7%.


Good sources of Beta-glucan soluble fiber:

  • Oat/Oat bran
  • Dried beans and peas
  • Flax seed
  • Fungi such as baker's yeast
  • Medicinal mushrooms maitake and reishi
  • Psyllium seed husks

The US government published the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 in January 2005. One of the new guidelines recommends that all adults eat half their grains as whole grains - that's at least 3 servings of whole grains such as barley and whole wheat a day. In addition to pearl barley, experiment with other barley products like barley flour and barley flakes in your daily cooking. To increase your intake of barley, try the following:

  • Add barley to stews and soups or other dishes such as risotto to enhance texture
  • Mix barley flour with wheat flour to make breads and muffins
  • Use cracked barley or barley flakes to make hot cereal
  • Toss chilled cooked hulled barley into salads

Written by Gloria Tsang, RD


Posted In:

Diabetes Mellitus , Diet and Nutrients , Diet and Disease