Tips for Adding Barley to Your Cholesterol-Lowering Diet

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Barley, a healthy grain that is chock-full of nutrients, has garnered a lot of attention lately. Because it is low in fat and high in fiber, barley is commonly labeled as a heart-healthy food. Some studies have also indicated that barley can help keep your cholesterol levels within a healthy range.  These tips will show you how to include barley in your cholesterol-lowering diet.

Include Barley in Soups

Are you looking for a way to make your veggie soup a little more filling?

If so, add some barley into the mix. The high fiber contained in this food not only keeps certain aspects of your cholesterol in check – it can also keep you full after your meal. Barley has a neutral taste, so it can be included in practically any type of soup. However, you should make sure that you are mixing barley in with other healthy ingredients – such as veggies, fruits, legumes, lean meats, and other whole grains. To keep your soup heart-healthy, you should also avoid creaming your soups and keep your cheeses to a minimum.  Here are some examples of healthy soups containing barley:

Barley & Your Salad

Cooked barley – whether or chilled or served warm – can also be included in many types of salads. So, whether you are tossing in some barley with a traditional, leafy green salad, or creating a salad that is a little unique – barley is an excellent, low-calorie way to add extra fiber and nutrients to your salad.

Just make sure that you are not adding fattening ingredients to your salad, as this could negate the all of the healthy ingredients you have added. For instance, if you are including dressing in your salad, make sure that you use an oil- or vinegar-based dressing, instead of a cream-based dressing, which could add extra saturated fat to your dish.


Including Barley in Side Dishes

Barley can be mixed with veggies, legumes, or spices to make a tasty side dish. Additionally, you can substitute barley for other grains, such as rice or quinoa, in some of your existing recipes. Some of these recipes may be prepared with cheese, butter, or sour cream – which could add fat and calories to your side dish. If your recipe calls for any of these ingredients, you can substitute a phytosterol-rich spread for butter or low-fat cheeses for full-fat versions. 

Barley as Part of Your Main Dish

Barley can also be included as part of your main dish. This delicious grain is commonly paired with a lean meat or fish, such as chicken, turkey, or salmon. Because barley is also high in protein, it is not uncommon to see barley used as the protein in the main course - especially in many vegetarian dishes. When preparing the main course, you should broil, roast, or bake your meat in order to keep your dish cholesterol-friendly. If you’re wanting to increase the flavor of your main dish without adding additional fat, combinations of healthy herbs and spices can be added.

Additionally, including a combination of veggies or legumes is another way to keep your main course heart-healthy – without increasing the fat content of your dish. 

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