Want healthy heart? Include barley in your diet!

Do you want to improve your heart health and perhaps even live longer?

Updated: Jun 09, 2016, 11:39 AM IST

Zee Media Bureau

Washington DC: Do you want to improve your heart health and perhaps even live longer? If yes, then start including barley in your daily diet as it is not only good for health but also promotes healthy heart. A new study has also revealed that it can lower not one but two types of bad cholesterol associated with cardiovascular risk.

The St. Michael's Hospital research paper found that barley reduced both low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, and non-high-density lipoprotein, or non-HDL, by seven per cent.

14 studies were conducted on clinical trials in seven countries, including Canada.

The findings found that barley had similar cholesterol-lowering effects as oats, which gives many health benefits to our body.

Research scientist Dr Vladimir Vuksan said that the findings are most important for populations at high risk for cardiovascular disease, such as Type 2 diabetics, who have normal levels of LDL cholesterol, but elevated levels of non-HDL or apo B.

He alos added that barley has a lowering effect on the total bad cholesterol in these high-risk individuals, but can also benefit people without high cholesterol.

Despite its benefits Dr Vuksan said barley is not as well-established as some other health-recommended foods, such as oats. Barley consumption by humans has fallen by 35 per cent in the last 10 years. Canada is one of the top five world producers of barley, almost 10 megatonnes per year, but human consumption accounts for only two per cent of the crop yield, with livestock making up the other 98 per cent.

"After looking at the evidence, we can also say that barley is comparably effective as oats in reducing overall risk of cardiovascular disease" said Dr. Vuksan.

Dr Vuksan said barley can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. He recommends trying to incorporate barley into existing recipes, using it as a substitute for rice or even on its own, just like oatmeal.

The study is published in The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

(With ANI inputs)