The gut, the bugs and the barley

The gut, the bugs and the barley

Field of barley

The human large intestine is home to the largest and most diverse group of bacteria in the human body. These bacteria play an important role in maintaining human health, fermenting plant fibres and other non-digestible carbohydrates, and Rowett research has shown that compounds released by bacterial metabolism in the gut have direct or indirect benefits to human health. Understanding the impact of specific dietary components on gut bacteria will help us to formulate health advice for the general population.

Another key research project, conducted by Dr Scott’s and Dr Frank Thies’ team, is investigating the health benefits that can be derived from increased consumption of oats and barley. Both oats and barley contain an important soluble fibre called beta-glucan which is not present in wheat, which can help to reduce cholesterol, and blood pressure.

Oats and barley are also wholegrains. Wholegrains are very important for health, providing fibre in the bran layer and vitamins & healthy fats in the germ. Our research demonstrated that in human studies 3 portions of whole-grain can reduce risk of cardiovascular disease due to the lowering of blood pressure.

We have created a collection of healthy oat and barley recipes, that were developed as part of our human studies conducted as part of this research at the Rowett’s Human Nutrition Unit

This research was carried out by Dr Karen Scott

Research funded by the Scottish Government: Rural & Environment Science & Analytical Services.