Dr. Andrea Middleton - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Andrea Middleton

Is Barley Bad For You?



Short answer

Barley is highly nutritional and great for most people. Barley does, however, contain gluten, and anyone allergic to cereal grains or with Celiac disease should avoid eating it.



Long answer

Barley, a cereal grain, is excellent for your health. Barley is probably most recognizable for the role it plays in the production of many beers, but can also be eaten as a grain. While it does contain gluten and is bad for people allergic to cereal grains or who have Celiac's disease, for everyone else, barley provides some amazing health benefits. Full of nutrients, barley has been shown by studies to reduce the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and to help control blood sugar levels. It can also reduce blood pressure, lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as possibly reduce the risk of stomach cancer. 

The ingredient most responsible for all of these benefits is dietary fiber. In a 1/2 cup serving of barley, there are about 16 grams of dietary fiber- about 40% of the recommended daily intake for most people. Fiber helps rid the body of LDL and triglycerides while leaving HDL (good) cholesterol relatively untouched. LDL is also reduced due to the presence of niacin, which may also be active in halting the oxidation of LDL. 

The minerals found most abundantly in barley are molybdenum and manganese. Molybdenum is especially important for people sensitive to sulfites, as it is a necessary cofactor of sulfite oxidase. Molybdenum also has a role as a cofactor of xanthine oxidase, an enzyme responsible for the production of uric acid. Manganese is necessary for strong bones and healthy skin. 

Due to barley's propensity for lowering bad cholesterol levels, people who eat barley regularly are at a reduced risk for a variety of diseases, including atherosclerosis, heart disease, and heart attack. Some research even suggests that barley, like other cereal grains, may be instrumental in preventing childhood asthma.

Ingredients to be aware of

Big is barley bad for you.


  • reduces ldl cholesterol levels
  • helps prevent oxidation of ldl cholesterol
  • may help prevent stomach cancer
  • aids in digestion
  • aids in uric acid production

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Written by Jeff Volling | 01-28-2016

Written by Jeff Volling
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