Barley Water During Pregnancy: Benefits And Risks

6 min read

Written by Pradeep


Barley Water During Pregnancy
Pregnancy, the most intimidating phase of a woman’s life when there is a list of do’s and don’ts which keep confusing a mother-to-be. Out of the umpteen options available in the market, it becomes difficult to make a chose the most nutritious, wholesome and healthy option. One such topic which keeps confusion is the consumption of barley.

Barley water is supposedly the best add-on during the pregnancy if taken in the right amount. Yet there are many misconceptions and confusions prevailing regarding the barley consumption. Let us study and find out its nutritional value, how safe it is to be consumed, benefits and risks. The Pregnancy can be a daunting phase when the expecting mother is confused about what is best for her to consume. One such inhibition surrounds the subject of consumption of barley as well. Do you know barley water can be a great supplement during pregnancy when consumed in the right quantity? Find more about this topic here.

In This Article

What is Barley?

The whole grains of barley are enriched with good fiber and protein content and has ample health benefits. The cooked barley has a similar taste to that of brown rice and is more chewy and nutty as well.

What is the Nutritional Value of Barley?

Barley has a strong flavor and an excellent source of dietary fiber, copper, vitamins, magnesium, niacin etc. It actually provides a substantial percentage of one’s daily requirement of manganese and selenium. It has zero cholesterol.

According to medical news today,  one cup of hulled barley, which weigh approximately 184 grams holds:
Nutrients Value
Calories 651
Carbohydrates 135 grams
Dietary fiber 31.8 grams
Protein 22.96 grams
Fat 4.23 grams
Potassium 832 mg
Phosphorous 486 mg
Magnesium 245 mg
Calcium 61 mg
Niacin 8.5 mg
Iron 6.62 mg
Zinc 5.1 mg
Thiamine 1.2 mg
Vitamin B6 0.585 mg
Riboflavin 0.524 mg
Folate 35 mcg

Is it Safe to Consume Barley During Pregnancy?

Barley water also referred as kanji is a very nutritious drink that is made with pearl barley grains. This is enriched with the flavor of different nuts and is very favorable for all the mothers-to-be in order to maintain their health during this period. It is even a healthy option for the whole body and can be also added to stews, vegetables as well as salads.

What Type of Barley is the Healthiest?

Barley is generally found in two forms: hulled and pearled. Barley groats also referred as hulled barley, is one of the pure grain forms of barley which undergo minimal processing to remove the inedible outermost layer. It is chewier and enriched with fiber and thus the healthiest kind of barley.

[Read : Health Benefits Of Eating Brown Rice During Pregnancy]

Is Sprouted Barley Safe During Pregnancy?

It has been seen that excess of barley consumption or sprouted barley is not a good choice as it can lead to birth deformities and at times even to abortion. Even though sprouted barley is highly nutritious it is not recommended during pregnancy.

Is Drinking Barley Water Good During Pregnancy?

Barley water is considered as a healthy food, though not advisable to not exceed 6 glasses of barley water in one day as it accelerates the muscles in the uterus leading to contraction of the uterine and at times can even elicit a miscarriage.

How to Make Barley Water?

The barley water or kanji which is made at home is much more a healthy option than the one available in the market, which is fortified with sugar content as well as preservatives. The process of preparing the barley water is as under:

  • Wash the barley grains thoroughly and immerse it in water for about 4 hours.
  • Strain the water and add 3-4 cups of water.
  • Let the mixture boil and keep it covered.
  • Let it simmer for an hour till the grains become soft and are cooked well.
  • Allow the mixture to cool.
  • Once cool, strain the mixture with a sieve.
  • Pour the mix in a cup and see that the grains settle at the bottom.
  • Take about a cup or two on a daily basis. Lemon juice or honey can be added for a better flavor.
  • Leftover can be stored in the refrigerator and can be kept for 3 days.
  • The barley grains can also offer thick consistency to the soup as well as stews and smoothies.

[Read : Is It Safe To Eat Sweet Corn During Pregnancy?]

What are the Health Benefits of Barley During Pregnancy?

Noted down are 13 incredible health benefits of barley during pregnancy

  1. Barley water can be used in the preparation of many diseases and even helps in preventing them.
  2. It is an ideal source of minerals, vitamins, calcium and is harmless for all and crucial for the growth and development of the fetus.
  3. It is enriched with fiber and helps in the prevention of constipation and hemorrhoids which are common during pregnancy.
  4. Barley has traces of niacin, which helps with blood clotting during the baby.
  5. Barley helps with regulating blood sugar levels and also helps in the prevention of gestational diabetes.
  6. Being a good source of potassiumcalcium, and magnesium, barley, have been found to bring down blood pressure naturally. Therefore, it is very beneficial if the expecting mother contracts pregnancy-induced hypertension.
  7. Barley is enriched with folic acid which helps in preventing neural defects in the unborn baby.
  8. Barley helps with offering elasticity to bones, blood vessels, and joints throughout pregnancy.
  9. Consumption of barley water helps in reducing the burning in stomach and even helps to minimize the infections.
  10. Barley water helps to combat nausea and is even comforting with stomach cramps.
  11. With the increasing weight of the belly, having barley water can help with repairing of tissues important for the belly.
  12. Barley water also helps with more breast milk secretion.
  13. It helps in reducing the cholesterol levels and also the chances of heart diseases.

Are all Forms of Barley Equally Beneficial as Whole Barley?

Other than whole barley it comes in many forms. Commonly found forms are barley flour, barley flakes (appear like rolled oats), and barley grits (toasted and cracked barley). All of these can be made from hulled or pearl barley. Therefore, its nutrient content varies significantly depending on from which barley it is made.

What are the Risks of Consuming Barley During Pregnancy?

As such barley water will only cause side effects if one exceeds the prescribed quantity. Yet some women have complained of side effects as below:

  1. Women who have developed allergies due to barley consumption have complained of increased itchiness, rashes and difficulty with breathing.
  2. Barley water more than six glasses a day can lead to birth defects and even miscarriage.
  3. The barley dust can even lead to pain in the eyes, breathing troubles and sinus.
  4. In case the barley is fungi-infested, it can lead to bone diseases.
  5. People allergic to gluten should avoid barley as it has a good content of gluten in it.
  6. Excess of barley water can lead to rectal bleeding.

Thus, it can be said that both barley water and the whole grains are beneficial for a mother-to-be since it is nutrient-dense and safeguards a healthy pregnancy. Yet one needs to be prudent enough before buying it and always pick the best and the freshest of all. Always remember not to consume it in excess else it could be fatal and seek medical supervision when required.

[Read : Drinking Coconut Water During Pregnancy]


1. Is Barley Good For Gestational Diabetes?

Barley is rich in beta glucans. Drinking barley water regularly can keep you blood sugar levels in check. It can help combat your gestational diabetes.

2. Can Drinking Barley Water While Pregnant Benefit the Baby?

Yes it can. Barley is a rich source of folic acid. This is important for neurological development of the fetus.

3. Should I Drink Barley Water in the Morning, While Pregnant?

There is no hard and fast rule regarding the timing. You can drink barley water at anytime during the day. Drinking it twice a day can be very beneficial.

4. Can Drinking Barley Water Help With My Pregnancy Related Acidity?

Yes it can. Barley water is a diuretic in nature. It helps flush out toxins effectively and reduces acidity.

Read Also: Is It Safe To Consume Oats During Pregnancy?


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