Updated: This post on Barley porridge for diabetes has been updated on October 2020 to reflect new and relevant information.
Let’s talk about barley porridge for diabetes.
Does it work? Or is it just another bog standard porridge.
Today we’ll discuss how the main ingredient Barley can play a great role is balancing blood sugar levels and maintaining them so they don’t spike.
If you’ve read my previous post on Type 1 Diabetes and how my toddler was diagnosed with it, you’ll know how maintaining a clean healthy diet is super important.
Having diabetes, whether it’s Type 1 or 2 means you have to be more careful and considerate about the food choices you now make.
What is Barley
Barley is a special mixture of dietary fibers.
It can rapidly help improve people’s health by reducing the blood sugar levels and the risk for diabetes.
Barley can also help reduce your appetite as it keeps you feeling fuller for longer and the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Barley Benefits of Blood Sugar Control
Barley can help lower blood sugar and insulin levels.
This can help reduce the risk of getting Type 2 diabetes or even maintaining the levels in Type 1 diabetes at a good level.
Whole-grain barley is the best source to opt for when choosing a type.
Studies have shown that barley has helped decrease blood sugar and insulin levels when ever consumed.
Why Is Barley Good For Diabetics
Barley contains beta-glucan which aids in significantly lowering blood sugar levels compared to other types of cereals.
Furthermore, barley has a low glycemic index (GI).
This is a measure of how quickly a food raises blood sugar.
Barley’s score of 28 is the lowest of all grains.
Barley Glycemic Load
Barley is a whole grain that is packed with lots of great nutrients.
When cooked, it doubles in size.
I boil the barley before adding any extra ingredients. You can find my recipe below.
Below is the nutritional information of 100 grams of uncooked, hulled barley:
- Calories: 354
- Carbs: 73.5 grams
- Fiber: 17.3 grams
- Protein: 12.5 grams
- Fat: 2.3 grams
- Thiamine: 43% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Riboflavin: 17% of the RDI
- Niacin: 23% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 16% of the RDI
- Folate: 5% of the RDI
- Iron: 20% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 33% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 26% of the RDI
- Potassium: 13% of the RDI
- Zinc: 18% of the RDI
- Copper: 25% of the RDI
- Manganese: 97% of the RDI
- Selenium: 54% of the RDI
It’s important to carb count your meals noting down the nutritional information, especially if you are a diabetic.
Why Carb Count?
Carbs play an important role in increasing and decreasing your blood sugars.
When my little one was diagnosed he was at 33.3mmol. As soon as he was given insulin treatment it bought the blood sugars down to 7mmol.
Between 4-7 is normal range.
Insulin is given to break down the carbs and distribute them equally around the body to avoid blood sugar spikes and to give energy.
The reason often for these spikes is because there’s not enough insulin in the body to break down the carbs which results in fluctuated amounts of blood sugars.
Vice versa if your blood sugars are low it means you have too much insulin in the body and not enough food for it to break down, so maintaining that balance is key.
So How Do We Know How Much Insulin To Give Ourselves?
The amount of carbs entering the body is the fraction equivalent to the amount of insulin which is required to enter also.
For example my little one is on a 20:1 carb ratio. This means for every 20 grams of carbs he consumes, he needs 1 unit of insulin.
This will be different for each person as it depends how there body breaks down the food and how sensitive they are to the insulin.
How To Use Barley For Diabetes
There are many types of foods proven to help stabilize blood sugars in diabetics. Check out the list of superfoods for diabetics here.
Barley is one I came across and after trying it out on my little one its become a daily meal for him.
What barley does it stabilizes the blood sugars and avoids the levels from spiking.
Barley contains benefits for improving insulin sensitivity and improves appetite control. It keeps you full for longer and works slowly in the body when breaking down so its not causing your blood sugars to spike.
Barley also plays a role in preventing Ketones as the need for insulin is not resistant. As Barley makes the insulin more sensitive it manages to transfer around the body without the need of developing Ketones as ketones only develop when insulin has not run its full course or is not enough.
Do note the Barley that you should use should be 100% organic. You can order from this link that I used to order for the first time.
It allowed me to order a little amount of 1kg for a very reasonable amount.
Plus if you enter the discount code the product is free, you just pay shipping:)
It is £2.29 for 1kg. Plus £2.99 for delivery.
Enter this discount code to get £3 off. So the product will be free. Only pay shipping.
Discount Code: special502
Barley Porridge For Diabetes
Below is the recipe I use to prepare a healthy barley breakfast for my little one.
- 250ml Whole Milk (can be semi skimmed or any milk that you prefer)
- 2tbs of barley powder or barley flakes (flakes are better, if you wish to have more of a cereal type rather than porridge).
- 1/2tsp honey (optional but not recommended for hyper control) – The best honey to use is Raw. That contains high natural ingredients which can also help maintain levels and stop them from exceeding too high, as opposed to store bought pasteurized (Raw Honey buy it now)
- 1/2tsp flax seeds or sesame seeds for taste (optional – just to pour on top towards the end)
- Whisk for mixing
- Pour all the milk into a boiling pan and at the same time pour in the Barley powder.
- Stir with whisk and continue stirring on a medium heat. (You can use a electric whisk or a hand whisk)
- The Barley powder will begin to dissolve into the milk. Continue stirring to avoid lumps.
- Add honey and stir
- Once milk starts bubbling take off heat and pour into bowl. The mixture should be slightly thick when its cooked.
- Sprinkle seeds on top if desired.
This amount is equivalent to 26g of carbs.
Do try this recipe out and watch your levels be better controlled than any other cereal you would usually eat. The good thing is that it even tastes nice!
Barley Diabetic Recipes
There are many more recipes you can try with Barley.
A breakfast cereal being the most popular, followed by a shake meal or even a snack jack.
You can use barley just like you would do with any other oats.