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What Is Barley Cereal?

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  • Written By: Brandon May
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 07 December 2014
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Barley cereal is a type of cereal made with barley, a whole grain wheat alternative often consumed by individuals seeking a healthier approach to cereal. The cereal is often made using whole, hulled barley berries cooked with milk or water and sweetened with honey, sugar or other ingredients. A barley cereal can be made into cereal flakes or other shapes using typical food processing mechanics, often incorporating freshly milled barley flour into the ingredients. Many nutritionists and wellness experts recommend barley cereal due to its high nutrient content compared to an oat- or wheat-based cereal, praising its high fiber and protein.

A typical barley cereal is made with fresh barley berries, a whole grain similar to wheat berries due to its gluten protein content. The barley berries are often hulled from their hard and inedible shell before selling to markets and grocery stores, as these outer coverings cannot be broken or softened during cooking. Just like wheat berries and oats, barley can be cooked with water and milk and served as a cereal. This type of cereal is often recommended for infants who do not respond well to rice, oat or wheat cereals due to allergy concerns or digestive issues.

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More often than not, basic cooked barley cereal offers a good substitute for cooked oatmeal and is dressed using the same basic ingredients. Spices like cinnamon and ginger and additions like sugar, honey or apples often accompany a cereal made with cooked barley berries. Some cereal manufacturers use a blend of different whole grains like wheat, quinoa and rolled oats in a barley cereal, increasing the amount of whole grain content per serving. It should be noted that most barley cereal does contain gluten, so those with gluten sensitivities should seek other sources of nourishment.

Processed cold cereals with barley as their main ingredient often use freshly milled barley flour in the original recipe, creating cereal flakes and other cereal shapes. This is often accomplished through food manufacturing machinery and other methods that can't always be accomplished in typical kitchens. Many doctors and nutritionists recommend a barley cereal for most individuals due to its high nutrient content and relatively moderate energy content. Other than fiber and antioxidants, which are important for maintaining proper health and bodily function, barley also contains a high amount of amino acids, which are essential for proper cell growth and renewal.

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