Barley, like oats, contains beta-glucan soluble fiber. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted a final ruling in May, 2006 that there is overwhelming evidence that beta-glucan soluble fiber from barley may reduce cholesterol when included in a healthy diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol.  This ruling is similar to their ruling for oats. A  study published in 2004 that was conducted by the USDA Human Nutrition Lab in Beltsville, MD reported LDL cholesterol was reduced an average of 6 and 8% following diets containing 3 and 6 g of barley soluble fiber, respectively.  Here are FDA’s

A special type of barley, waxy hulless barley, has 2 to 3 times more beta-glucan soluble fiber than oats and other types of barley. More importantly, this fiber can produce 5 to 20 times more viscosity in the small intestine, which is believed to be the important characteristic in cholesterol reduction. Waxy hulless barley products are not yet found in stores. However, Hot Barley Cereal which is made from 100% wholegrain waxy hulless barley is available from NuWorld Nutrition.  A 40g serving of Hot Barley Cereal provides 3g of barley soluble fiber.  Oatmeal and most other barley would provide only 1.6 to 2g of soluble fiber per serving.

Barley is finding a place in our diets for more than cholesterol reduction. Compared to other cereals and starchy foods, barley has a modulating effect on the serum glucose and insulin levels. The beta-glucan soluble fiber slows down digestion and absorption of complex carbohydrates so serum glucose levels are kept at an even level for a longer period of time. This also results in not feeling hungry quite so fast.

Waxy hulless barley provides a better balance of beneficial nutrients because less processing is needed before it can be consumed. Whole grain products contain all of the fiber and all of the phenolic compounds and tocotrienols which as antioxidants reduce our risk of cancer. And finally, a role for beta-glucan has been found in our immune system. Doctors have long understood that yeast and bacterial cell walls contain beta-glucan. Receptors in our immune system recognize beta-glucan so that they can latch onto these germs when we're exposed to them. Doctors are using beta-glucan preparations to speed healing after surgery, i.e., to "pump up" the immune system. It was only recently discovered that these receptors also recognize barley beta-glucan. By consuming barley a few times a week, our immune system is strong and ready to fight. This can be especially important when other factors cause our immune system to be weakened. Read Immunofiber for more information!