Barley Flour Pasta Cuts Risk of Heart Disease

November 12, 2012

Barley Flour Pasta Cuts Risk of Heart Disease

A new report which was recently published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry looks like giving lots of spaghetti lovers some good news. It has been found by researchers from Spain and Italy that pasta made from barley flour may cut the chance of developing heart disease.

Because barley is high in fiber, vitamin E and has lots of antioxidant properties it is now being touted as a healthy option known as a ‘functional’ food. Functional food is the name given to foods that are sold as healthy foodstuffs and are full of healthy additives. The American Chemical Society says that a new industry, expected to be worth $176 billion by 2013, has sprung up as consumers choose to eat healthier.

The researchers Vito Verardo, PhD, of the University of Bologna in Italy, and Ana Maria Gomez-Caravaca, PhD, of the University of Granada in Spain, say that it won’t be too long before barley flour pasta will be available and will be labeled, “may reduce the risk of heart disease” and “good source of dietary fiber”, because of the positive properties to be found in barley.

‘Functional’ Foods are gaining a Foothold

Although the benefits of barley are known about the scientists still had to find a way to make the pasta without losing the high fiber and antioxidants. In doing so they made the flour with the most wholesome part of the barley. This meant that the new pasta could still be labeled as a ‘functional’ food. Compared to normal, semolina based pasta, barley flour pasta has far more fiber and antioxidants.

The scientists found that to make barley flour pasta they had to add gluten to the mix. This had a neutralizing effect on the antioxidants. However the properties are still wholesome enough to meet the current FDA requirements before making health claims on the label.

Previous research has identified that barley is known to be beneficial for the heart and digestive tract because of the dietary fiber, vitamin E and antioxidants present.

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