Saturday, December 24, 2005

FDA: Barley GOOD for you

Cereals, breads and other products containing whole or milled barley grain can now claim to reduce the risk of heart disease, U.S. health officials said on Friday.

FDA is authorizing food manufacturers to immediately use the health claim for barley and the reduced risk of coronary heart disease through the issuance of an interim final rule. To qualify for the health claim, the barley-containing foods must provide at least 0.75 grams of soluble fiber per serving of the food.

Here's the research that led to the FDA statement.

In the world of grains, barley ranks high as a fiber choice. See how a half-cup serving of cooked pearl barley compares to other typical grains:

Total dietary fiber per ½-cup serving cooked:
Pearl barley – 3 grams
Brown long-grain rice – 1.75 grams
Couscous – 1 gram
White long-grain rice – less than 1 gram

In most grains, fiber is found only in the bran (outer layer) of the kernel. So when most grains are processed, the bran or outer layer is typically removed and the fiber is lost. Barley, on the other hand, contains fiber throughout the entire kernel. This means that a processed barley product (such as flour, flakes or pearl barley made from hulled or covered barley) retains at least 50% of its original fiber content even after the bran is removed.

Hulled barley = whole grain - only the tough, inedible covering removed. Highest in nutrient content and available at Health Food Stores.
Lightly pearled barley = whole grain. Some of healthy bran layer and endosperm left intact. Get the lightly pearled barley, brownish in color, indicating the presence of bran.
Heavily pearled barley appears creamy white to white in color, similar to white rice. Small, fine or baby pearl barley is often used in commercial food production as an ingredient in products such as canned soups. It’s important to note, however, that even very heavily pearled barley retains significant amounts of fiber. Unlike many grains, in which the fiber is only found in the outer bran layer, fiber is found throughout the entire barley kernel. Even heavily pearled products are a good choice for fiber and contribute important whole grain health benefits.

Last night, at a restaurant, I had some good, hot, low fat vegetable soup. However, they could have bumped up the nutritional benefit with some added barley. It sure took that winter chill away.

It's soup season, so here's a simple, healthy,
barley soup recipe:

Easy Barley Vegetable Soup
5 servings (2 cups per person)
Preparation Time:
1 hour
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic (finely minced or pressed)
1 Tsp olive oil
6 cups water
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 14 oz can kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
1 10 oz package frozen green beans
2 large carrots (sliced into coins)
1 cup fresh mushrooms (sliced)
1 cup uncooked barley
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Cooking Instructions
Heat oil to sizzle in heavy soup pot or 4 qt saucepan. Cook onion and garlic in oil until tender.
Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil.
Reduce heat to low and simmer 45 to 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve in bowls with hot bread.

This is a set-and-forget soup. It works very well in a slow-cooker or crock-pot, and can be started when you leave for work and it'll be ready to eat when you get home.

To print the recipe:
-highlight the text; right-click on a highlighted area; left-click print; check "selection"; left-click print.

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At 2:04 PM, December 25, 2005, Anonymous noodnick9 said...

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At 2:50 AM, January 27, 2006, Blogger Simon Langer said...

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