Food for Thought: Barley

Barley.  A fibre superstar, with just one cup providing your body with over half of your daily recommended intake.  However for me personally, my interested in barley is because of its high selenium content -  an essential trace mineral that is lacking in many of our diets.   Not only is selenium needed for antioxidant defense and immune function, it is also needed for your thyroid (and my thyroid needs all the help it can get!)

Selenium has also been shown to stimulate DNA repair in damaged cells.

I've been eating barley for years and was first introduced to it as a thickener in hearty Winter soups made by my mum and it was at her request, that I whipped this batch of soup up.  I've always loved barley's soft texture and nutty flavour and would often eat it as a replacement to rice.

HOWEVER, my latest dilemma is that even though selenium is so good for my thyroid, barley also contains gluten, and through my research I'm finding gluten to be bad for my thyroid....Oy!



So the lovely recipe below is especially for those of you who have no issues with gluten (and my mum).  The perfect hearty soup to help boost your levels of selenium.  You're body will once again thank me (well, I like to think so anyway).

Even though our weather is slowly warming up as we head towards Summer, these cooler Spring evenings we're experiencing are still perfect for a comforting bowl of goodness.



Beef, Veggie and Barley Soup

Serves 4 large bowls


600g beef (cheap cut), cubed | coconut oil | 1 onion, diced | 2 carrots, diced | 2 celery stalks, diced | 1 turnip, diced | 1 cup barley, washed and rinsed | 1 bay leaf | sprigs of thyme | ½ bunch silverbeet, shredded | Sea salt and ground pepper


  1. In a medium sized pot over a low to medium heat, melt a spoonful of coconut oil and soften the diced onion, celery and carrots.  Add beef and brown.
  2. Once veggies have softened and the meat has browned, add the diced turnip, washed barley, bay leaf and thyme sprigs.  Pour approximately 5 cups of water (enough to cover all ingredients entirely by about 1-2 inches).
  3. Bring to the boil then simmer until the barley has softened.
  4. Toss in the silverbeet at the last minute and season to taste.