We have been studying the ways in which diets rich in oats and barley might improve the health of both our hearts and our gut. Oats and barley are wholegrains as they are not refined during production to remove the outer layer of the grain. This outer layer is rich in fibre, which provides food for gut bacteria, and helps maintain a healthy gut, as well as lowering blood pressure. There are many different types of fibre and oats and barley are a rich source of a soluble fibre called beta-glucan. Three grams of beta-glucan per day has been found to reduce cholesterol, and this is equivalent to eating around 100g per day of oats and barley.
We have developed new recipes to help people eat more oats and barley every day. Many people only associate oats with porridge and oatcakes and barley with Scotch broth. However, these grains are much more versatile than this and can be incorporated into many different recipes.
The recipes include savoury and sweet dishes, as well as baking. By replacing some of the white flour you normally use in your cakes or biscuits with oat or barley flour your favourite sweet treat can become a healthier option!