Barley is a cereal used as a staple food in many countries. It is commonly used as an ingredient in baked products and soup in Europe and the United States. Barley malt is used to make beer, and as a natural sweetener called malt sugar or barley jelly sugar.
Recent data suggest that barley may be promising in reducing total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in mildly hyperlipidemic patients. Barley has a high fiber content.
Germinated barley foodstuff (GBF) may play a role in the management of ulcerative colitis and mild constipation. GBF has also been suggested as a treatment for mild constipation.
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Note: Most scientific studies have used foods containing barley rather then barley supplements.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Coronary heart disease (CHD)
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that whole grain barley and barley-containing products are allowed to claim that they reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). To qualify for the health claim, the barley-containing foods must provide at least 0.75 gram of soluble fiber per serving of the food.
Barley has been used traditionally as a treatment for constipation, due to its high fiber content. However, there is limited scientific evidence in this area. Further research is necessary in order to establish safety and dosing recommendations.
High blood sugar/glucose intolerance
Preliminary evidence suggests that barley meal may improve glucose tolerance. Better research is necessary before a firm conclusion can be drawn.
Germinated barley foodstuff (GBF) comes from maturing barley, and has been suggested as possibly helpful in patients with ulcerative colitis. Scientific evidence in this area is preliminary, and further research is needed before GBF can be recommended for ulcerative colitis.