Whole Grains Linked with Lower Cholesterol

To better understand whole grains’ relationship with heart health, New Zealand’s Heart Foundation analyzed 19 meta analyses encompassing thousands of participants, for their September 2018 report entitled “Whole Grains and the Heart.” The authors conclude that “observational research suggests three [servings] of whole grains per day are associated with heart health benefits, and there are likely to be additional benefits with higher intakes. Intervention studies on risk factors are less compelling but show most consistent evidence of benefits for a small reduction in total and LDL cholesterol, especially in relation to oats and barley, and possibly improved [glycemic] control.”
Heart Foundation. 2018 Sept. (Gorton D et al.)


Dakos was “invented” years ago by Greek housewives, who used to cut out some of their bread dough and dry it, rather than bake it in an oven. This hard bread — traditionally a barley rusk called Paximadia — is eaten all over Greece, and every region has its own “recipe.” This simple dish...


This fruity grain salad showcases the freshness of traditional Latin American cuisine. Pairs perfectly with spiced, grilled fish....

Dakos Salad

This salad is Crete on a plate. Tomatoes and barley rusk (a twice-baked bread, also called paximadi in Greece) are combined with extra virgin olive oil, Kalamata olives, and smooth feta spread with yogurt. 

Lazy Muesli

This easy-to-make muesli is packed with flavor and heart-healthy walnuts. Garnish with raisins, grated apple, and top with yogurt or kefir and a touch of honey if desired. It can also be mixed with milk. Make a batch on the weekend for delicious breakfast all week long.

Processed Barley & Oats Linked with Less Gut Microbiota Diversity

A healthy diversity of gut microbiota is associated with numerous health benefits. To see how processing grains relates to the microbiome in animals, researchers analyzed the gut microbiota of pigs after feeding them whole grain barley and oats, or extruded whole grain barley and extruded oats. Extrusion is a process used to make pasta, cereal, croutons, and other grain products, by sending a flour and water mixture through a die to get uniform shapes. The gut microbiota of pigs eating the extruded grains showed less diversity and less presence of the microbes associated with health. The researchers concluded that “cereal extrusion affects the microbiota composition and diversity towards a state generally thought to be less beneficial for health.”
Food & Function. 2016 Feb;7(2):1024-32. (Moen B et al.)


What a great way to impress your friends and family, by serving this delicious and refreshing salad, layered in an old-fashioned mason jar.


While fruits and vegetables are known as sources of healthy antioxidants and phenolic compounds, research increasingly shows that whole grains contain them too. In this review, researchers analyzed the total phenolic contents, phenolic acid profile and antioxidant activity of several whole grains, including wheat, corn, rice, barley, sorghum, rye, oat and millet. The review shows that whole grains contain a number of phytochemicals (including antioxidants) and significantly exhibit antioxidant activity. Researchers conclude that the consumption of whole grains is considered to have significant health benefits including prevention of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer because of the contribution of phenolic compounds. 
Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 2014 July 30. [epub ahead of print] (Van Hung P et al.)

Whole Grains Reduce Inflammation through Gut Changes

Intake of whole grains has long been linked to decreases in the systemic inflammation that may be at the root of many chronic diseases. Researchers at the University of Nebraska recently completed a human trial that explored the mechanisms behind whole grains’ anti-inflammatory effects. They found that eating whole grains (barley, brown rice, or especially a mix of the two) even for a short period altered the gut microbiota in ways that coincided with improvements in systemic inflammation.
Gut Microbes, July 1, 2013; 4(4):340-6. (Walter et al.)

Processing Barley & Oats Can Make Phenols More Bioaccessible

A food’s nutritional quality is influenced not only by its ingredient list, but also by how it is processed. To see how processing grains affects the bioaccessibility of nutrients in animals, researchers measured the free and bound phenolic acids in pigs after feeding them whole grain barley and oats, or extruded whole grain barley and extruded oats. Extrusion is a process used to make pasta, cereal, croutons, and other grain products, by sending a flour and water mixture through a die to get uniform shapes. The researchers found that the phenolic acids (healthy phytochemicals found in plant foods) were 29% and 14% more bioaccessible in extruded barley and extruded oats, respectively, compared to their non-extruded counterparts. While this is just an animal study, it indicates that different processing methods might make different nutrients more readily available.
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2013 Mar 20;61(11):2739-47. (Hole AS et al.)


Barley is possibly the oldest grain in the world. Adaptable and strong, it grows on both frigid mountaintops and in blistering desert heat. Here it brings character to an easy-to-make Mediterranean salad.

Eggplant Barley Salad

Serve cold or at room temperature, with spicy greens such as arugula.


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