If your ravenous appetite is keeping you from shedding pounds and eating healthy, here's one creative solution you may not have heard of. Hulled barley, a minimally-processed whole grain that has had only the outermost inedible hull removed, is an all-natural appetite suppressant that can help curb cravings without leaving you wanting.
How Does It Work?
- It fills you up. Hulled barley has the most fiber of any whole grain. The fiber in hulled barley expands in your stomach and is digested slowly, making you feel fuller for longer. Because the resistant starch and fiber are also are not fully digested, they can also help your stool pass more easily and may even have anti-diabetes and anti-obesity actions.
- It stabilizes your blood sugar. Studies have shown that hulled barley can keep your post-meal blood sugar 20-30% lower than many other grains. These effects may last up to 10 hours and help reduce blood sugar swings that can trigger cravings.
What Else Can Hulled Barley Do?
- It can lower cholesterol. The fiber in hulled barley is high in beta glucan, which can help lower cholesterol. One small study showed that people with high cholesterol who added barley to their diets experienced increases in the heart-healthy types of cholesterol and decreases in dangerous types of cholesterol.
- It can lower heart disease risk. A study of nearly 10,000 Americans found that those who ate the most fiber had 12% lower rates of coronary heart disease.
- It can give you healthy doses of protein, iron and calcium.
What's the Best Way to Eat Hulled Barley?
- Cooking barley is like cooking rice, but it takes about an hour to cook. Soak it overnight to soften it first.
- Replace your usual starches (like rice or potatoes) with half a cup of hulled barley.
- Use it to make a hot cereal, chili or pasta dish. Try out a hulled barley breakfast bowl, hulled barley vegetable soup, hulled barley shrimp salad or hulled barley veggie salad.
- If you make a big pot of it over the weekend, it can last you all week. It's an inexpensive, filling and tasty option for the whole family.