If you’ve ever enjoyed barley soup, you know how hearty and filing this delicious grain is, and it has quite a history. Egyptians buried mummies with necklaces made of this ancient grain. Today, barley remains the world's fourth most important cereal crop after wheat, rice, and corn.
Of all the whole grains, barley packs the most fiber, and it’s rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Natural substances in barley have also been shown to help reduce cholesterol (even more than oats), control blood sugar, and boost immunity by feeding the friendly or “good” bacteria in your digestive tract.
I included a Garlicky Barley Vegetable Soup recipe in S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches, but barley can also be used as a side dish. Swap it out for brown or wild rice or enjoy it as an oatmeal alternative at breakfast.
Barley can take up to an hour to cook, but if you whip up a larger batch it will last in the fridge for up to a week. Another easy way to take advantage of this healthful whole grain is to look for rolled barley flakes (like Bob’s Red Mill), which cook in the microwave in just 5 minutes. You can also whip barley flakes into a smoothie, fold them into nut butter, or toast them as a topping for fresh or baked fruit, or yogurt.