The list of "superfoods" and their purported benefits has gotten so long that it's difficult to know which you should really stock up on and why. (I mean, what exactly is Soylent? And check out 10 Superfoods You Don't Really Need to Buy—We're Looking at You, Wheatgrass!) So when a simple, science-backed superfood starts gaining some buzz, we get pretty excited.
Enter, barley. Researchers from Lund University in Sweden took a closer look at this ancient grain to unlock its superfood potential. They asked participants to eat three servings of barly bread (made with about 85 percent barley kernels) for three days. After the participants' final meal, the researchers measured certain risk indicators for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. They found that after having a belly full of barley, the participants had improved metabolism and appetite control and decreased levels of insulin and blood sugar.
What makes barley a standout choice amount other grains is in the special mixture of dietary fibers in the barley kernel. According to the researchers, when it reaches your gut, it increases the stimulation of good bacteria and hormones involved in controlling metabolism and regulating appetite.
Cashing in on all the barley benefits is easy. (Umm, hi, Grain-Based Salads That Seriously Satisfy.) Try swapping out pasta or rice for cooked barley (you'll only get 3.5 grams of fiber in a cup of brown rice compared to a whopping 13 grams in a cup of barley) to get that boost of dietary fiber with a low glycemic index—the key to staying full and satisfied longer. Now go get your grains, girl.