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Is Barley Milk Good for You? Benefits, Calories, and More

In this article, we will discuss barley milk's nutritional chart, potential health effects, spoilage procedure, side effects, environmental burden, and more.
Zeynep Ozdemir, RDN

Written by Zeynep Ozdemir, RDN. Updated on November 6, 2022.

Barley is a type of grain. It is one of the most consumed grains in America.

It is very rich in nutrients. It contains many vitamins and minerals and is associated with a number of health benefits.

Another plant-based milk option made using barley is barley milk. It is frequently on the shelves and can reach many consumers thanks to both its taste and composition.

In this article, we will discuss barley milk. You can read about barley milk’s nutritional chart, potential health effects, spoilage procedure, side effects, environmental burden, and more.

Barley Milk Nutritional Info and Calories

The nutritional value of barley is high due to its high content of vitamins, minerals, and other useful plant elements.

Pearl barley is the only kind of barley that does not utilize the whole grain; this type of barley has been polished, which removes part or all of the exterior bran layer as well as the husk.

Nearly all other types of barley do use the complete grain.

When ingested in its whole-grain form, barley is a very rich source of fiber, selenium, molybdenum, and manganese.

In addition, it has a respectable quantity of copper, chromium, magnesium, phosphorus, and niacin.

When preparing barley milk, however, the fiber and pulp are separated, so this is a crucial consideration to keep in mind.

Because it is not ingested in its whole, it is unable to give all of the health advantages that are associated with consuming whole barley.

According to USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) food data central, a 100-ml serving of unsweetened plant-based barley milk offers the following nutritional values:

Energy: 29 kcal
Protein: 2.08 g
Total fat: 2.08 g
Carbohydrate: 1.25 g
Fiber: 0.4 g
Calcium: 192 mg
Iron: 0.42 mg
Potassium: 200 mg
Sodium: 83 mg

In addition, barley is rich in lignans, a class of antioxidants that has been associated with a reduced risk of cancer as well as cardiovascular disease. These lignans can also pass into barley milk.

On the other hand, similar to other whole grains, barley contains antinutrients that make it difficult for your body to digest food and absorb nutrients.

In order to lessen the number of antinutrients in the grain, you might try soaking it or sprouting it before making barley milk from it.

Because of the way the barley is prepared, its nutrients are more readily absorbed by the body.

Barley that has been soaked and sprouted before being used to make barley milk may improve the number of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and antioxidants that are present in the finished product.

Barley Milk Potential Health Benefits

The peculiar composition of barley milk ties it together with several properties.

It’s Dairy-Free

Dairy products include the milk of animals such as cows and goats after giving birth and products such as cheese and yogurt made with this very same milk.

Plant-based milk is dairy-free and can be consumed by people who do not consume dairy products.

Since barley milk is made from barley, it is not actually a dairy product. However, it can be used as a milk replacer in most recipes.

Since it is not a dairy product, it also does not contain proteins that cause cow’s milk allergy, so it can be safely consumed by people with allergies.

It’s Lactose-Free

Lactose is a kind of carbohydrate often present in milk and other dairy products.

Due to lactose sensitivity, some people are unable to consume lactose. Those with this condition do not create enough lactase enzyme, which is necessary for the proper breakdown and digestion of lactose.

After ingesting lactose-containing dairy products, it is not unusual for individuals to have gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating, and gas.

Lactose is present in milk and other dairy products. Lactose could not be included in plant-based diets.

Therefore, barley milk does not contain lactose and may be included in a diet that avoids lactose-containing items.

It’s Vegan-Friendly

Despite the word “milk” in its name, barley milk is not a dairy product and is plant-based.

Although not as popular as other plant milk, barley milk can be used as a milk substitute in vegan diets.

Potential Health Deficiencies of Barley Milk

The health benefits of barley include:

  • Beneficial in blood sugar regulation
  • Supports digestion
  • Helps with weight control
  • Balances cholesterol
  • Reduces the risk of gallstones
  • Has anti-cancer properties
  • Supports heart health

But almost all of these effects are due to the high fiber content of whole barley.

Barley milk contains much less fiber compared to whole barley. 100 grams of whole barley provides 17 grams of fiber, while 100 milliliters of barley milk provides 0.4 grams of fiber.

This prevents barley milk from offering the health benefits that whole barley can promise.

How Is Barley Milk Made?

You can find barley milk in most local grocery stores. On the other hand, if you want to adjust the texture according to yourself, it is possible and very easy to make at home.

To make barley milk, basically, two ingredients are needed: Barley, and water.

  • First, the barley is washed in water. It is then placed in a pot and covered with water.
  • The mixture is boiled over high heat and then the heat is reduced and cooked for at least 20 minutes.
  • The white liquid you get after cooking will form your barley milk. If necessary, you can chop the barley a little more and you should not forget to strain it.

Some people may also add small amounts of sea salt to enhance the taste.

Does Barley Milk Go Bad?

Yes, of course, barley milk also deteriorates if it is not stored under appropriate conditions or consumed within the required time.

How Long Does Barley Milk Last

You can buy barley milk in packages or you can make it yourself at home.

Because they are not sterile, pasteurized, or homogenized, homemade plant milk often does not have a shelf life that is comparable to that of their pre-packaged equivalents.

The expiry dates of the packed barley milk are written on them. It should be checked before purchasing.

As long as store shelf barley milk is not opened, it can be stored at room temperature until its expiration date.

How Long Is Barley Milk Good For After Opening

As the storage temperature decreases, the period of time it can be consumed becomes longer.

Plant-based milk that is left open for more than 2 hours at room temperature or in a warm environment is in danger of spoiling.

After opening your product and storing it in the refrigerator, it will stay good for 5-7 days.

Even if the texture, taste, and appearance are good, consumption of barley milk stored for more than 10 days is not recommended.

If you have made your barley milk at home, it is recommended to consume it within 3-5 days.

These figures vary according to storage conditions. It is not recommended to be consumed if there is a change in texture, odor, appearance, or taste.

Barley Milk Side Effects

Similar to wheat and rye, barley is a kind of whole grain that contains gluten. Because barley is used in the production of barley milk, it also includes gluten.

Due to this, it is not a good option for anybody who suffers from celiac disease or any other kind of wheat sensitivity.

In addition to this, barley includes fructans, which are short-chain carbs. People who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or from another digestive condition may experience bloating and gas as a result of fructans.

If you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or a sensitive digestive tract, you should probably steer clear of goods that are produced from barley.

Although barley products have such a powerful impact on blood sugar levels, those who have diabetes and who are currently managing their condition with insulin or blood sugar-lowering medication should exercise extreme caution while consuming barley products.

Barley Milk Sustainability

In addition to being grown for its edible grain, barley is also often used as an effective erosion control crop.

The roots of winter barley grow deeply into the soil, shielding it from the wind and rain, both of which may lead to erosion.

Barley is frequently employed in the role of the cover crop during cold weather, and this is one of the reasons why. In addition to this, nitrogen is introduced into the ground.

It is common knowledge that barley may help minimize the number of herbicides in the soil by out-competing them and shading them.

Barley is a crop that requires a comparatively low amount of water to cultivate since it requires 171 liters of water per pound.

This is because barley thrives in dry, arid areas and cannot tolerate high levels of moisture in the soil.

Thanks to these features, milk produced from barley is a candidate to be sustainable and environmentally friendly.

On the other hand, there is considerably less environmental burden compared to dairy milk.


Barley milk is a plant-based beverage made from a combination of barley and water.

It has no lactose, no dairy, and is acceptable for vegan eating.

During the filtering step of generating barley milk, the majority of the barley fiber is removed. This implies that barley milk may not have the same health advantages as whole barley.

When barley milk is not kept properly or used on the dates it should be consumed, it might deteriorate.

Furthermore, after opening, it should be kept in a cold environment and consumed within seven days on average.

The amount of water used in the cultivation of barley is not a lot, and the product helps to prevent erosion in that area. This demonstrates that barley milk has a low environmental impact and is more sustainable than dairy milk.

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