Barley - (hordeum vulgare), a member of the grass family, is one of the oldest cultivated grains. It has been classified as heart healthy by the FDA and is proven to lower blood cholesterol by 10%. (1) Researchers have identified a type of soluble fiber, beta-glucan, as the primary component in barley that is responsible for lowering cholesterol. Studies show that increasing daily consumption of this soluble fiber results in even greater total and LDL cholesterol reduction.(2)

Soluble fiber helps maintain blood sugar levels which may be beneficial in preventing or managing type 2 diabetes.(2) Barley has been consumed since 8000 BC when it was cultivated as a crop in Mesopotamia. About 98% of barley grown in the world today is used for feed for animals, or to produce malt, while only 2% is used for human consumption. Barley is loaded with dietary fiber, and lots of micronutrients, so is a very good choice.

A study, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in 2006, concluded that:    "In a healthful diet, increasing whole grain foods, whether high in soluble or insoluble fiber, can reduce blood pressure and may help to control weight." (6)

According to medical news today, barley is thought to improve health in the following ways:                                                                                                                                          Lowering Blood pressure by increasing potassium intake may be important. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, fewer than 2 percent of American adults meet the daily 4,700-milligram recommendation.  Potassium, calcium, and magnesium (all present in barley) have been found to decrease blood pressure naturally.

Improving Bone health - The iron, phosphorous, calciummagnesium, manganese, and zinc in barley all contribute to building and maintaining bone structure and strength. A careful balance of phosphate and calcium is necessary for proper bone mineralization - consumption of too much phosphorus with too little calcium intake can result in bone loss. Bone formation requires the mineral manganese found in barley. Also, iron and zinc play important roles in the production and maturation of collagen.

Heart Health - Barley's fiber, potassium, folate, and vitamin B6 content, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all support a healthy heart. Barley is an excellent source of fiber, which helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood, thereby decreasing the risk of heart disease. A randomized, double-blind study from 2007 found that barley intake significantly reduced serum cholesterol and visceral fat, both of which are markers of cardiovascular risk.

The beta glucan fiber found in barley lowers LDL ("bad") cholesterol by binding to bile acids and removing them from the body via excretion. An intake of 3 grams of beta-glucans per day can lower blood cholesterol levels by 5 percent. A certified lab found RoBarr when brewed according to package directions is 0.69% beta glucan.

In one study, those who consumed 4,069 milligrams of potassium per day had a 49 percent lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease compared with those who consumed less potassium (about 1,000 milligrams per day). Vitamin B6 and folate, both present in barley, prevent the buildup of a compound known as homocysteine. When excessive amounts of homocysteine accumulate in the body, it can damage blood vessels and lead to heart problems.

Cancer - Selenium is a mineral that is not present in most foods, but can be found in barley. It plays a role in liver enzyme function and helps detoxify some cancer-causing compounds in the body. Additionally, selenium prevents inflammation, decreases tumor growth rates, and improves immune response to infection by stimulating production of killer T cells. The fiber (beta glucan) in barley not only supports heart health, fiber intake from plant-based foods is also associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer. Beta glucan fiber has been found to stimulate the immune system to fight cancer cells and prevent tumors from forming. There are some indications that barley consumption is possibly good for preventing stomach and colon cancer.

Inflammation - Choline is a very important and versatile nutrient in barley that helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat, and reduces chronic inflammation.

Digestion and regularity - Because of its fiber content, barley helps to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract.

Weight management and satiety - Adequate fiber intake is commonly recognized as an important factor in weight loss by functioning as a "bulking agent" in the digestive system. Fiber in the diet helps to increase satiety and reduce appetite, making you feel fuller for longer with the goal of lowering your overall calorie intake. (6)

Many of RoBarr’s customers tell me after brewing their beverage, they stir their barley grounds into their oatmeal and have a delicious, lightly coffee flavored morning cereal. According to testing done at the S. Korean culinary school in Daejeon, a serving of RoBarr grounds contains 11.07 g dietary fiber, .88 g fat, and 11.7 g protein.

RoBarr – is a barley “coffee” made from roasted barley. According to a 2006 study cited in Pubmed, the publication of the American Medical association, the water extract from roasted barley, or barley “coffee” contains antioxidants. According to medline plus, antioxidants are natural substances that may prevent or reduce some types of cell damage. (3)

Celiac? – RoBarr does contain barley, and barley does contain gluten so celiacs should refrain from use. Eliminating Gluten by choice? – Barley contains a much lower level of gluten than wheat and other grains. Barley is 5 % gluten, compared to wheat at 24-30 % gluten per serving. (4) That’s why most bakeries use wheat or rye for breads instead of barley. When you use a filter to brew your RoBarr, you remove most of the gluten from the water in the filtering process. These two combined make it a safer product if you are not a celiac, but just choosing to eliminate most gluten because you feel better. Roasted barley has many beneficial properties that may make it worth your while to drink it.

According to the grains and legumes nutrition council, barley is healthy in the following ways:

  1. High in soluble fibre, specifically beta-glucan, which is found in the endosperm and aleurone cell walls.
  2. Has a low glycemic index (GI) to assist blood glucose control.
  3. High in potassium and low in sodium.
  4. Contains B-group vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), folate and pantothenic acid.
  5. Contains vitamin E.
  6. Contains iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium (depending on the soil content), small amounts of copper, manganese and calcium.
  7. Contains phytochemicals including lignans, phenolic acids, phytic acid, plant sterols and saponins.(5)
  2. taken from a pamphlet produced by the American Dietetic association.

Updated 10/6/2017