Barley is a versatile grain that is nutty in flavor and pasta-like in consistency. Sprouted barley is naturally high in maltose, a sugar that serves as the basis for malt syrup. It is also fermented and used as an ingredient in beer and other alcoholic drinks.


High cholesterol/Arteriosclerosis
Gastroduodenal ulcer
Colon Cancer

Health benefits:

Intestinal: Barley’s dietary fiber increases bulk and decreases transit time of fecal matter. These two benefits can decrease the risk of colon cancer and hemorrhoids. It also helps in maintaining good gut bacteria in the intestines as well as lowering cholesterol and preventing arteriosclerosis.

Digestive: Barley is well tolerated by sensitive stomachs so it can be beneficial for gastric dyspepsia (indigestion), gastroduodenual ulcer, gastroenteritis, and colitis.

Good source of:

B-complex, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc

Purchasing, storing, and enjoying:

Purchasing: Barley is mainly sold in three different forms: pearled, hulled, and flaked. It is available prepackaged or in bulk containers. When purchasing, make sure that there are no evidence of moisture.

Storing: Store barley in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. In warmer weather, barley can be stored in the refrigerator for longer shelf life.

Enjoying: Experiment on the various forms of barley!

  • Polished barley: Barley that has had its outer indigestible shell and part of its bran removed by abrasion. After soaking in water, it is boiled for an hour with vegetables or cooked as a soup.
  • Pearled barley: Barley that has been polished until the glume, the bran, and most of the germ has been removed. It is boiled like rice requiring a minimum of 35 minutes of cooking.
  • Barley broth: Boil pearled barley for an hour and strain. This starchy broth is recommended for treating diarrhea, colitis, and indigestion.
  • Malt: This is an aqueous extract of barley that has been germinated and roasted.

Resources & recipes:

Creamy Tomato Barley Risotto:

Sweet Potato and Pearl Barley Stew:

Mushroom Barley Soup:



McIntosh, G.H. Colon cancer: dietary modifications required for a balanced protective diet. Prev. Med., 22: 767-774 (1993).

Ikegami, S.; Tomita, M.; Honda, S. et al. Effect of boiled barley-rice-feeding in hypercholesterolemic and normolipemic subjects. Plants Foods Hum. Nut., 49: 317-328. (1996)

Lupton, J.R.; Robinson, M.C.; Morin, J.L. Cholesterol-lowering effect of barley bran flour and oil. J. Am. Diet. Assoc., 94: 65-70 (1994).

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Ashley Kim

"Our bodies are our gardens—our wills are our gardeners." – William Shakespeare

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