What are barley benefits and side effects every ethical consumer must know? Here are barley pros and cons and how buying it will impact your health, the environment, animals and laborers.
Food is something we consume every day and if you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on barley benefits and side effects.
You are going to learn all about barley benefits and side effects. This will include barley benefits for your health and potential risks, barley water footprint and barley carbon footprint, barley sustainability, if barley is vegan or impact animals in other ways, and much more.
After learning if barley is good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.
This post is all about barley benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.
Must-Know Barley Benefits And Side Effects
Barley benefits may include:
- aided digestion
- enhanced feelings of fullness
- improved insulin production
- gallstones prevention
- reduced hunger
- intestinal health
- lowered risk of cancer and heart disease
- lung health
- colon cancer prevention
- a good balance of gut bacteria
- reduced “bad” LDL cholesterol
- reduced blood sugar levels
- reduced risk of mortality from lung-related diseases
- reduced risk of type 2 diabetes
- less belly fat
- weight loss
Barley side effects may include:
- pesticide consumption if not organic
- do not over-consume, be sure to eat in moderation as with any food
Additionally, barley is…
Water footprint: low, it takes 1,423 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of barley / 171 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of barley
Carbon footprint: high, 3.8 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of barley, a car driving equivalent of 9 miles or 14.5 kilometers
Destruction: low, barley production is relatively sustainable, there is no significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as there are no pesticides, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc.
Kills: none, barley production does not require any animals
Harms: none, barley production does not require any animals
Indirectly kills or harms: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from barley production as long as there are no toxic chemicals in production, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat
- Harmful to wildlife and ecosystems unless organic
Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible
Living conditions: varies, laborers often experience exploitation, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation
Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits
- May have labor issues
Where does most barley come from?
Russia is the world’s leading barley producer followed by Germany, France and Ukraine. The world’s top barley exporting country is Germany, followed by UK, France, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Lithuania, Estonia, USA and Czechia.
Is barley nutritious?
Yes! Barley is high in fiber, molybdenum, manganese and selenium and contains copper, vitamin B1, chromium, phosphorus, magnesium and niacin.
barley is acidic.
Is barley alkaline or acidic?
Barley is acidic.
What is the pH level of barley?
Barley has a 4.5 pH level, once digested.
When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.
Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List
barley is not gluten free.
Is barley gluten free?
No, barley is not gluten free. Barley contains gluten and is a glutinous food.
While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…
Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:
- recurring abdominal pain
- chronic diarrhea
- numbness in hands and feet
- chronic fatigue
- joint pain
- unexplained infertility
- low bone density (osteopenia or osteoporosis)
There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.
Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List
barley is not a common food allergen. barley benefits include being safe for most.
Is barley a common food allergen?
No, barley is not a common food allergen. Barley is a grain that contains gluten but is not wheat. Some people may experience allergic reactions to barley but it is relatively rare by comparison.
A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:
Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.
Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.
Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List
barley has a low water footprint. barley benefits include not requiring too much water.
Does barley have a high or low water footprint?
Barley has a relatively low water footprint compared to other foods.
What is the water footprint of barley?
It takes 1,423 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of barley / 171 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of barley.
Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?
How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?
We need to be aware of “water footprints”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.
Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List
barley has a high carbon footprint.
Does barley have a high or low carbon footprint?
Barley has a relatively high carbon footprint compared to other foods.
What is the carbon footprint of barley?
It takes around 3.6 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of barley, a car driving equivalent of 9 miles or 14.5 kilometers.
Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.
When calculating product emissions, some factors may be… farm equipment, animal feed production, hothouses (greenhouses), food processing, packaging, transport, refrigeration, freezing, package waste, and more.
But that’s not all!
It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:
- shopping locally reduces transportation emissions
- food without packaging reduces waste as well as the carbon footprint
- refrigerated and frozen foods increase carbon emissions
- seasonal foods reduce carbon emissions from hothouses (greenhouses)
- growing plant-based foods at home is the most environmentally sustainable method with zero carbon footprint
Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List
barley is moderately sustainable.
Overall, is barley eco friendly? Is barley sustainable?
Barley production is moderately sustainable. Other than its high carbon footprint there is no significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as there are no pesticides. Be sure to buy non GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc. when using regenerative practices.
A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.
Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.
Read more about ‘What Makes Food Sustainable Or Unsustainable?’
barley is vegan. barley benefits include not killing, harming or using animals.
Is barley vegan?
Yes, barley is vegan. Barley is a cereal grain and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food.
Animals of factory farming are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. Growth hormones allow all kinds of animals to become fatter faster and live short lives.
Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.
Go vegan for animals!
It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.
Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List
barley may have labor issues and human rights concerns.
Is barley a product with labor concerns?
At this time there have been no major concerns with barley production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening! It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may come with specific brands.
Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized.
Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death!
Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation.
Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards.
We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade.
Be sure to read up on this list of ‘Foods You Should Always Buy Fair Trade‘
This post was all about barley benefits and side effects.
USDA, Barley, hulled – FoodData Central
Barley | USDA Foreign Agricultural Service
Barley – agriculture – Province of Manitoba
Adriane MarieHi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.
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