Barley vs Oats: Which Is Healthier?
Barley and oats belong to the grains food group, one of the staple food groups for people on a plant-based diet.
Grains and grain products are an affordable source of carbohydrates, as well as essential vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins (such as thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin), iron, and zinc, minerals that are usually harder to get on a plant-based diet.
They also provide a small amount of protein and healthy fats.
However, it is important to note that whole grains are generally a better source of these nutrients than refined grains.
This article will thoroughly compare barley and oats and help you learn more about their similarities and differences.
Barley (Hordeum vulgare) is a cereal grain widely grown in many parts of the world and has been a staple food for thousands of years. It is closely related to wheat and oats.
Barley is a good source of carbohydrates, dietary fibers, and small amounts of vitamins and minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, and B vitamins. It is also rich in antioxidants and protein, making it a valuable food for vegetarians and vegans.
Barley is commonly used in brewing beer, animal feed, and as a food grain. It can be used in soups, stews, and as a side dish, either whole or ground into flour. It is also gluten-free and easy to digest, making it a great option for people with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.
Barley is considered a functional food, as it has been shown to positively impact health when consumed regularly as part of a balanced diet. It is also a sustainable crop, as it can be grown in poor soil conditions and is resistant to pests and diseases.
Barley is an excellent source of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), and Vitamin B3 (Niacin).
It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), and Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine) and some Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), Vitamin B9 (Folate), and Vitamin E.
Oats (Avena sativa) is a type of cereal grain grown for their edible seeds, also known as groats.
They are a good source of dietary fibers, particularly beta-glucan, which has been linked to various health benefits such as reducing cholesterol levels and improving digestion. They also provide a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants such as vitamin E, zinc, iron, and manganese.
Oats are a staple ingredient in many breakfast foods such as oatmeal, granola, and muesli. They can also be used as an ingredient in baking, added to smoothies, and used as breading for meat and fish dishes. Oat flour, made from ground oats, can also be a gluten-free alternative in baking.
Oats are also considered a functional food, as they have been shown to positively impact health when consumed regularly as part of a balanced diet.
Oats is an excellent source of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), and Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid).
It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), and Vitamin B9 (Folate) and some Vitamin B3 (Niacin), and Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine).
Barley vs Oats Nutrition
Now that we’ve described the origin, taste, and usage of these foods, we can move to the most interesting part – comparing barley vs oats.
This comparison will start by comparing the caloric value of barley and oats and their macronutrients and then go more in-depth by analyzing their vitamin and mineral content.
|Energy||354 kcal||389 kcal|
|Carbs||73.5 g||66.3 g|
|Sugar||0.8 g||0 g|
|Fiber||17.3 g||10.6 g|
|Protein||12.5 g||16.9 g|
|Fat||2.3 g||6.9 g|
|Saturated Fat||0.482 g||1.22 g|
Barley vs Oats Calories
Most calories in grains come from carbs.
Comparing barley vs oats for weight loss, barley is slightly lower in calories, with 354 calories per 100 grams, compared to 389 calories per 100 grams of oats.
However, both barley and oats can and should be a part of a healthy diet, and neither one shouldn’t be avoided if you’re looking to lose weight.
Barley vs Oats Protein
Grains and most grain products, including barley and oats, are important sources of plant-based protein.
However, it should be noted that most grains, with the exception of quinoa and buckwheat, for example, are low in lysine and methionine.
That said, you can combine grains with legumes to get a complete protein.
Oats offers around 26% more protein than barley.
Oats has 16.9 grams of protein per 100 grams, while barley has 12.5 grams of protein per 100 grams.
Barley vs Oats Carbs
Counting carbs can be important for some people for different reasons, including blood sugar control, weight management, or athletic performance.
It’s also important for people on a keto diet, so let’s compare the carbs content in barley and oats.
The total amount of carbohydrates is around 10% higher in barley than in oats. It has 73.5 grams per 100 grams, compared to 66.3 grams in oats.
There’s less sugar in oats than in barley, 100% precisely.
That said, 100 grams of oats contains 0 grams of sugar, while the same amount of barley contains 0.8 grams.
Lastly, let’s take a look at the dietary fiber in barley and oats.
Dietary fiber keeps the digestive system healthy and helps with weight management by promoting a sense of fullness.
With 17.3 grams of fiber per 100 grams, barley is a better source of fiber than oats which barley offers 10.6 grams per 100 gram portion.
Barley vs Oats Fats
Like most other grains, barley and oats are low in fat.
Fats in barley and oats are mostly healthy unsaturated fats. They are naturally cholesterol-free and trans-fat-free.
Total fat in barley and oats:
- Barley: 2.3 grams per 100 grams
- Oats: 6.9 per 100 grams
Speaking of saturated fats, barley is 58% lower in saturated fats.
Barley and oats contain 0.5 grams and 1.2 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams, respectively.
Barley vs Oats Vitamins Content
This section will discuss the vitamin content of barley and oats.
Vitamins are micronutrients, meaning we need only a small amount. However, they are very important for many processes in our bodies.
Barley has a higher amount of vitamin B1 (Thiamine), vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), and vitamin B9 (Folate).
However, oats has a higher amount of vitamin A, vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B3 (Niacin), vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), vitamin E, and vitamin K.
Barley and oats contain the same amount of vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 (Cobalamin).
The following table shows the exact amount of vitamins barley and oats contain side by side, so you can easily compare them.
|Vitamin A||22 IU||0|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)||0.646 mg||0.763 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.285 mg||0.139 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||4.6 mg||0.961 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)||0.282 mg||1.35 mg|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)||0.318 mg||0.119 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||19 µg||56 µg|
|Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)||0||0|
|Vitamin E||0.57 mg||0.05 mg|
|Vitamin K||2.2 µg||0.9 µg|
Barley vs Oats Minerals Content
Minerals are important for our body to function properly. We need only a small amount of minerals, so they are called micronutrients.
Some minerals, like iron, calcium, zinc, or iodine, are relatively hard to get on a plant-based diet, so it’s important to choose your foods thoughtfully. This part of the barley and oats comparison focuses on their mineral content.
Barley is a better source of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc than oats.
On the other hand, oats is a higher amount of potassium, selenium, and sodium.
Barley and oats contain the same amount of fluoride.
Check out the table below to learn how barley and oats compare when it comes to mineral content.
|Calcium||33 mg||54 mg|
|Copper||0.498 mg||0.626 mg|
|Iron||3.6 mg||4.72 mg|
|Magnesium||133 mg||177 mg|
|Manganese||1.94 mg||4.92 mg|
|Phosphorus||264 mg||523 mg|
|Potassium||452 mg||429 mg|
|Selenium||37.7 µg||2.7 µg|
|Sodium||12 mg||2 mg|
|Zinc||2.77 mg||3.97 mg|
The Final Word
This article highlighted the similarities and differences between barley and oats.
Grains, also known as cereal grains, are an important source of nutrition for many people around the world. They are a rich source of carbohydrates, which provide energy for the body.
Whole grains contain important vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and iron. Whole grains, in particular, are high in dietary fiber and can help with digestion and weight management.
They may also have other health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
Grains are also a staple food and an important source of food security in many parts of the world.
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- It's regularly updated.
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