A barley spaghetti, rich in fibre and antioxidants, could have a host of health benefits, such as reducing cardiovascular diseases, says its creators. Jim Drury reports.
STORY: As a carbohydrate, opinion is mixed on pasta's health qualities. But European researchers say their so-called 'super spaghetti' has multiple health benefits. Most pasta is made from wheat, which can cause digestion problems. So they looked at barley as an alternative. SOUNDBITE (English) VITO VERARDO, RESEARCHER, UNIVERSITY OF ALMERIA, SAYING: "The first stage was to search the best variety of barley that had the highest quantity of bioactive compounds. For this we analysed 15 different varieties of barley and we established the best varieties that could be used for air classification." They then used 'air classification' to divide the byproducts of milling barley into fine and coarse fractions. The latter fractions were then added to the pasta mix. SOUNDBITE (English) ANA MARIA GOMEZ, LEAD RESEARCHER AT UNIVERSITY OF GRANADA, SAYING: "They are hypercholesterolemic compounds, so they reach the FDA requirements of some health claims about heart disease. With only one serving per day of this barley pasta we formulated we have 70 percent of the daily requirements of betaglucans which are the soluble fibre contained in this pasta." Betaglucans are soluble fibres that occur naturally in the cell walls of cereals, but appear in few foodstuffs. Scientists say they could reduce obesity, diabetes, and cholesterol levels. Two Italian pasta makers have licensed the recipe. The researchers don't claim 'super spaghetti' should be labelled 'health food'. What they do say is that if you love pasta then their variety should be top of your shopping list.