Barley – Nutrition, Benefits and Recipe

Barley (Hordeum vulgare), a member of the grass family, is a major cereal grain grown in temperate climates globally. It was one of the first cultivated grains, particularly in Eurasia as early as 10,000 years ago. This versatile grain has a somewhat chewy consistency and a slightly nutty flavor that can complement many dishes.

With 144 million tons produced in 2014, barley is the fourth most-produced grain worldwide — after corn, rice, and wheat. Barley has been linked to a decreased risk of chronic diseases and death. Hulled barley contains fiber and other plant chemicals that are beneficial for health.

Nutrition in Barley

Barley, oats, and some products made from them

In a 100-gram serving, cooked barley provides 123 kilocalories and is a good source (10% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of essential nutrients, including, dietary fiber, the B vitamin, niacin (14% DV), and dietary minerals including iron (10% DV) and manganese (12% DV).

Benefits of Barley

Reduces Hunger and aids in Weight Loss

Barley contains soluble fiber, which reduces hunger and enhances feelings of fullness. It may even promote weight loss.

Helps in Digestion

Barley’s high fiber content helps food move through your gut and promotes a good balance of gut bacteria, both of which play important roles in digestion.

May Prevent Gallstones

The type of insoluble fiber found in barley may prevent the formation of gallstones, helping your gallbladder function normally and reducing your risk of surgery.

May Help in Lowering Cholesterol

The type of insoluble fiber found in barley appears to reduce cholesterol levels by preventing its formation and increasing its excretion through the feces.

May Reduce Heart Disease Risk

Regularly adding barley to your diet may reduce risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure and “bad” LDL cholesterol.

May prevent Diabetes

Whole-grain barley may help improve insulin production and reduce blood sugar levels, both of which may reduce the likelihood of type 2 diabetes.

May Help Prevent Colon Cancer

Fiber and other beneficial compounds found in barley may fight off certain types of cancer, particularly those of the colon. However, more research is needed.


Whole grains, such as barley, are healthy additions to most diets. However, people with celiac disease or other intolerances to wheat should refrain from barley. Those who take blood-sugar-lowering medications should use caution.


Pearl Barley pulao is a simple, healthy, and delicious one-pot meal.


  • 5 Cup Pearl Millet
  • 2-3 Cups of Water for Pressure cooking or cooking in Instant Pot
  • 1 small Onion chopped finely
  • 1-2 green chilies chopped (as per taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 small tomato chopped finely
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Chilly powder
  • 1/4 cup green peas
  • 1/4 cup Red pepper
  • salt as per taste
  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Jeera (Cumin seeds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Rai (Mustard Seeds)
  • 7-8 Curry leaves


  1. Clean and soak the pearl barley for 2-3 hours.
  2. Pressure cook in a pressure cooker with a bit of salt for 1 Whistle. (See Notes for cooking all in the pressure cooker)
  3. I used my Instant pot for pressure cooking for 2 mins.
  4. Let the pressure cool off.
  5. Remove the barley, drain, and keep aside.
  6. Now in a pan, add Oil
  7. Once hot, add in the mustard seeds and cumin seeds.
  8. Let them splutter.
  9. Now add the curry leaves, onion, and green chilly.
  10. Let this saute for a few minutes until onion is translucent.
  11. Now add the chopped tomatoes and green peas.
  12. Add about 1/4 teaspoon of salt, turmeric, and Red chilly.
  13. Let this cook for 4-5 minutes, until the green peas are cooked.
  14. Now add the red peppers and the cooked barley.
  15. Mix everything and give it a quick gentle stir.
  16. Let this cook for 2-3 minutes more.
  17. Cover and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.
  18. Serve it as is or with some yogurt on the side.


To reap the most benefits, avoid processed, pearled barley and stick to whole-grain varieties like hulled barley or barley grits, flakes, and flour.

References: Link1 | Link2 | Link3 

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