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Benefits of Barley Water to Drink Up

By Jeff Hayward

Medically Reviewed by Julie Ching, MS, RDN, CDE

When you hear the words barley water, some people may make a connection to beer. But the main difference is that barley water hasn’t gone through a fermentation process, so there’s no alcohol content. It has been consumed by many cultures for centuries.

According to, barley water can be strained or unstrained, and the unstrained version is high in calories, but low in fat. The strained version has fewer calories but also less fiber content, so it’s a trade-off. More so than not, the benefits are likely related to the simple fact that you’re drinking more water. Either way, let’s get to the 12 benefits of drinking barley water…

Internal Cleansing

Without getting into some of the false promises of popular “cleanses” and diets too much, NDTV Food says that barley water can actually help aid in detoxification through the urinary tract.

The source claims this is made possible by a group of sugars called beta-glucans, which are present in the cell walls of barley. “It therefore helps in cleansing the internal system of the body,” it adds. Other sources note barley water can help your kidneys function optimally, which is the natural way your body “cleanses.”

Soothing UTIs

LiveStrong is pretty careful about not painting barley water as a cure for a urinary tract infection (UTI), noting, “there is no real, hard scientific evidence that barley in particular is any more effective than any other healthy, naturally brewed tea.”

However, it does say that barley has many health benefits that go beyond its “possible ability” to fight off UTIs, and says it’s a “safe, cheap and healthy option” to help clear your urinary tract with  some minor irritation. If you’re dealing with a painful infection, you should see a doctor, it urges.

Keeping Things Moving Along lists barley water as a way to keep your digestive system working its finest. This is thanks to its high soluble and insoluble fiber content, and also being alkaline in nature, explains the source.

If you’re dealing with digestive issues such as constipation, hemorrhoids or gastritis, then perhaps barley water is worth a shot. If you’re suffering from diarrhea, barley water can help restore fluids and electrolytes, adds the source. (Here are some Easy Ways to Add Fiber to Your Diet).

Helps Promote Weight Loss

While barley water can help your digestive system in good health, another benefit of this is that you may lose some weight in the process (if that’s your goal), according to

One way it does this is by making you feel fuller for longer periods of time as it slowly digests, it explains. As we mentioned before, barley water packs many calories, but minimal fat. “These factors can make drinking barley water an effective strategy to stave off hunger and keep you from snacking in between meals,” it adds.

Curbs Cholesterol

Healthline says that drinking barley water or barley tea can “affect your cholesterol levels” – in this case for the better. It says the chemicals in barley (called tocols) apparently help suppress LDL cholesterol (also referred to as “bad” cholesterol).

This isn’t just rooted in pseudoscience; apparently the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has studied and reported on the benefits of barley beta fiber for heart disease and cholesterol, according to Healthline. (Here are some more Foods For Lowering Cholesterol).

Boosting Immunity explains that drinking barley water may actually help you ward off illnesses by giving your immune system a helping hand. The source credits this to the high Vitamin C content of barley water – it “may contain double the amount of vitamin C as oranges,” it adds.

Vitamin C helps “buffer” the immune system and can reduce your risk of getting cold or flu, it adds. Barley water also contains iron, which can help ward off anemia (lowered red blood cell production), says the source.

Loaded With Goodness

If anything, you could drink barley water just to maintain levels of certain essential vitamins and nutrients. NDTV Food explains barley water is “loaded with essential nutrients,” including the dietary fibers we noted earlier.

However, it says barley water also contains calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, and as was also mentioned earlier, vitamins C and B6. These are all important in maintaining optimal overall health.

Downsizes Diabetes

According to, it may be a good idea for those with Type 2 diabetes to consume barley water regularly. “The grain in barley water has all the essential vitamins and minerals, particularly beta-glucan soluble fiber, that slows down glucose absorption,” it explains.

It notes that research points to benefits for insulin-resistant men in lowering both glucose and insulin levels. Losing weight is also important for controlling diabetes, and we’ve already told you that barley water can help with that too.

Taking it To Heart

While lowering cholesterol is a good thing for your heart, barley water can also prevent a condition called atherosclerosis, which says is the thickening of arterial walls that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The B vitamin that’s responsible for the prevention of this condition is niacin, “thanks to its anti-inflammatory and lipid-altering effects,” it notes. Barley water can also help reduce high blood pressure, which also takes strain off the heart and reduces risk of stroke.

Keeping Skin Tight

Can barley water help maintain your youthful appearance? suggests it can by promoting skin elasticity thanks to its selenium content. “This chemical element is known to help preserve skin elasticity which will prevent the skin from loosening,” it explains.

The source says barley water’s antioxidants will also fight free radical damage, “which can be devastating on the skin.” Aside from being a “skin stretcher,” adequate selenium levels can also help reduce risk of cancers of the skin, colon, prostate, stomach, and breasts, it adds. (Here are some more Foods for Healthy Skin: How to Get a Radiant Glow).


Julie Ching is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator in Los Angeles. She decided to become a Dietitian after traveling through Europe, South America, and Asia and discovered a passion for food. She now works with people of all ages and varying disease states to improve their health. She is passionate about teaching people about nutrition so they can live their best life while still considering their cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.

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